About two years ago, my three year old daughter began having eye issues and it turned out that she needed glasses. All of my studying and learning to find “good” light wasn’t always applicable when attempting to avoid the dreaded glasses glare. I’ve learned some tips and tricks along the way and today I’m going to share them with you.
Attempt to Avoid the Glare:
It’s all the light and your subject’s angle to that light. I always aim for the glasses to be lower than my light. When your light is on the same level as the glasses the light will reflect directly into your subjects glasses.
These images were taken at the same time with the same light but ended up with drastically different results.
What angles should you change?
Subject: Have your subject put their head a bit lower and turn slightly away from the light.
Glasses: Alternatively, you could have your subject tilt their glasses down just a bit. By changing the angle of the glasses, but keeping their face in the same position, the light will not pick up quite as much in the lenses.
Look at the tiny change in how she moved her head. It’s really slight and you can see light being introduced into her glasses.
2. Forget everything you know about catch-lights.
Those big beautiful catch-lights that light up the eyes? Yeah… sorry… they also light up glasses. With this image, I typically would have had her face towards the window, but that would have made her glasses full of glare and reflections so instead I had her turn her head just slightly away from the window.
Sidenote: How cute is the pipe cleaner crown?! I got the idea from the fabulous Breakout Session from Shalonda Chaddock, The Magic of Childhood.
3. Try backlighting.
Light coming from the back will be less likely to shine back into the glasses (unless there is a reflection bouncing back).
3. Take the glasses off.
This is not always an option, but one to consider if the person does not wear their glasses full time. I don’t take my daughter’s glasses off for pictures, though. We are at a point now that if she took off her glasses she wouldn’t look like her and that’s definitely not my goal.
So You Got Some Glare? What now?
4. Edit them out (or make them less noticeable).
If the glare isn’t directly on the subject’s eye, I can often edit portions of it out in Photoshop. Use the patch tool to grab the area and drag it to a clean non-glared skin area.
You can also attempt to clone it out by choosing a good area and then cloning just enough of the reflection out. I will often do this at 50% opacity to just make the change subtle. The burn tool can also be powerful in really reflective glare.
If the edit is especially tricky, try a retouching service. I have been pleased with both the work, price and turn around times from many of these companies!
5. Merge two images.
Take one shot without glasses and then another shot with glasses. You can then use the eyes from the first shot to add to the glasses shot similar to a head swap. Make sure you take these two images in the same spot and same lighting so that they match up seamlessly!
Melissa Stottmann, Delaware
CMU Instructor | CM Mentor
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Instructor of CMU’s Photographing Your Family’s Everyday, Melissa Stottmann is a newborn, children and family (including her own!) photographer from Wilmington, Delaware that is working on slowly getting her feet wet in the wedding industry. Shooting primarily with her D800, though using film occasionally, Melissa is often found with a 35mm or 85mm lens attached. Melissa believes that every moment is significant and uses her camera to bring attention to otherwise ordinary moments. Her portrait, lifestyle and documentary work revolves around the peaceful and serene life she craves.