Glass is beautiful, from amazing sculptures and vases to window displays! As a beautiful thing, you likely want to be able to capture it in-camera. However, the difficulty for glass is its reflective nature- often causing unsightly reflections and glares to take place and ruin your photograph. At this point, it seems near impossible to photograph glass without a reflection. Lucky for you, that’s not true! Here are some ideas to help reduce reflections in all of your glass photography work.
Tips and Tricks for Photographing Glass Without a Pesky Reflection
Here are eight tips and tricks to aid in your glass photography endeavors!
1. Use a Polarizing Filter
A good first place to start is investing in a polarizing filter. Polarizing filters are thin panes of glass that are attached to the front of your lens. Polarizing filters reduce glare from reflected surfaces. They work by being made up of specially adapted glass that when turned at an angle to a light source will reduce glare.
2. Use a Lens Hood
Did you know that the answer may be as simple as using the lens hood that came with your lens? Lens hoods are devices that screw on to the front of your lens shade to block light sources in order to prevent glare, lens flare, and even reflections. Lens flare and glares happen because of the light improperly hitting the edge of the lens glass, causing a phenomena of light to cross the entire image.
Now, if you can press your camera and lens up close to the glass object or glass window you are shooting through, you can actually block out a lot of the reflections and prevent them from happening!
3. Angles, Angles, Angles
Although it may require you to adjust your composition or shooting concept, trying out different angles can help minimize or entirely reduce reflections! Reposition yourself a few inches to the left, right, up, or down and see how the reflection changes (or completely vanishes).
Sometimes even shooting with a longer lens, like a telephoto lens, and placing yourself far away can minimize reflections. It’s sure worth a shot! Plus, the optic compression from longer lenses does wonders for object proportion (assuming you are capturing a glass object).
4. Cover All Light Sources Not In Use
This may be common sense, but is easily forgotten! Cover all ambient light sources that are not conducive to shooting the glass subject. This prevents any glare from coming about.
You can turn the light sources off or drape black fabric over it.
5. Wear Black Clothes and Gloves
By wearing black clothes and/or black gloves, you can minimize your own reflection by simply becoming a part of the background!
6. Position Your Light Source 45 Degrees To One Side Or Above Your Subject
Lighting is very important in photography, and can be the crux of any photographer attempting to capture glass without reflections. The secret? Angles!
Position your light source 45 degrees to one side or above your subject to help avoid any reflections from the light on the glass. When positioning yourself, don’t stand under your light source because this will help minimize your own reflection in the glass. You should never light it from the same angle as the camera, otherwise you will only get light bouncing straight back at you!
Make sure there is a good distance between the glass object and your light, however! You see, if the light comes from 45 degrees from the right, it will reflect back 45 to the left. If it’s directly over the glass, it will reflect straight back at the camera. You want your lights far enough to the sides that you cannot see that reflection.
7. Blackboard Peep Hole
If you are crafty and the above suggestions aren’t working for you, you can also make a peep hole for your lens to shoot through. Fashion a black board with a hole in it for your lens, then stick the lens through and take your photos. The reflection will then be of a black surface with a small, dark round hole, which may not show up, or can more easily be edited out in post processing.
8. Post Processing
When push comes to shove, you can always use editing programs to remove the reflection (as if it was never there)! Adobe products such as Photoshop and Lightroom have a tool known as a Clone Stamp tool, which allows you to paint over an area in your image that you would like to remove. You can draw this over the reflection zone and the program can remove it for you. This isn’t fool-proof, of course, so you’ll have to play around with the tool to find the best way to utilize it for your specific image.
In conclusion, the above tips are several ways to help alleviate or entirely remove reflections from your glass photography!