creativity exercise | shooting through glass

Picking up your camera, shooting, and challenging yourself is the best way to improve your photography.  The Creativity Exercises (photography tutorials) within the Clickin Moms photography forum are a great source for finding new ways to challenge yourself.  On the first Monday of every month the wonderful Sarah Wilkerson posts a new photography tutorial and challenges our members to shoot with the exercise in mind.  While the exercises are ongoing, at the end of each month we choose a few images as the ‘Editors’ Choice’ and share them here with you on the blog.  How fun is that?!  Today we are sharing September’s exercise with you below!

creativity exercise | shooting through glass

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo*image by forum member kristabelle

This month’s creativity focuses on shooting through a glass window, door, windshield, etc. While it may seem simple, shooting through glass in this way can bring an entirely new layer of depth to your image … introducing new textures, influencing the quality of light, drawing the viewer in as a plausible bystander on the scene, or establishing a new sense of context by incorporating reflections of the surrounding environment.


When shooting through glass, you may find it helpful to focus manually in order to render the scene exactly as you envision; autofocus may get caught up on a reflection, smudges, light glare, or physical elements within or around the window pane (such as a screen, grid, or imperfections in the glass).

Some photographers find that using a polarizing filter is useful when shooting through glass, as a polarizer can effectively reduce (or even remove) the light reflecting off the surface. Simply twist your polarizing filter until you discover the best angle for blocking the reflected light. If you don’t have a polarizer and do not want to invest in one, consider using the reflections themselves to your advantage, or work on your angle relative to the glass’s surface to minimize reflections that interfere with the subject you are trying to shoot on the opposite side.

Night can be one of the best times to try out incorporating reflections, particularly in an urban or other environment in which there is an interplay of varied lights bouncing off the exterior surface of the window. Do be aware that – again, particularly at night – there is likely to be mixed lighting (different color temperatures) between the indoor and outdoor settings on either side of the window, which can make things tricky but can also make for interesting creative effects; try to use this as an opportunity rather than seeing it as a challenge! Remember that some of the most memorable images come from photographers who embrace settings, subjects, and situations that others would shy away from.

If you regularly use a speedlight or your pop up flash, you’ll probably want to set it aside for this shot, as the flash light will bounce off of the glass surface and typically yields a harsh, unnatural glare. If you’re working at night, it can be very helpful to bring a tripod with you to get around using flash. If you must use flash, experiment to be sure it’s delivering exactly the creative results you’re envisioning, or consider setting up OCF on the opposite side of the window (same side as your subject), with the light angled away from the glass between the two of you.

Finally, consider backing up and/or using a wide angle lens to use the perimeter of the window/door/etc as a framing device. Not only is the frame itself effective in drawing the viewer’s eye to the subject, but capturing the entire frame can be a wonderful way to highlight the contrast in light and texture between the interior and exterior settings.

editors’ choice

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Congratulations to the ladies below whose photographs were selected as this month’s Editors’ Choices!

Carolyn Brandt:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Elicia Graves:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Jax Davidson:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

JoAnna Reynolds:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Elise Cellucci:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Alison Crane:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Narelle Bailey:

creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo


creativity exercise | shooting through glass photo

Thank you to everyone who participated in the exercise!  We love seeing all the beautiful imagery!

Do you want to participate in the next Creativity Exercise?  Visit the forum here where Sarah has challenged us with the theme “Close-Up Portraiture“.  Don’t have a membership to Clickin Moms yet?  Head on over here to sign up!  You can still participate in this Shooting Through Glass challenge by either visiting the forum here or sharing with us in the comments below.  We’d love to see your work!

Read previous creativity exercise tutorials for photographers.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 Responses to “creativity exercise | shooting through glass”

  1. Oct 09 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    EEEK! I'm beyond happy to see my image among all of these beautiful photos!! Thank you! :D

  2. Oct 09 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    You ladies rocked this! Love it. This was a great challenge. It nearly broke my brain.

  3. taralewisphotography
    Oct 09 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Me too, Meredith! All of the photos are so lovely, very inspiring!

  4. Oct 09 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Great challenge! There were so many fabulous, inspiring images! I'm so excited to have been featured!

  5. Corinne
    Oct 09 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    What beautiful photos!!! I love the first one. <3

  6. Oct 09 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Gorgeous images. Love seeing the shares from the creativity exercises.

  7. Kristy
    Oct 09 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    So stoked to see my image there! Thank you!!! All of the images are beautiful and inspiring!

  8. Oct 09 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    AWESOME!!! Amazing images – I'm so inspired!!!

  9. Oct 10 2012 at 3:52 am #

    Wow!! I feel so inspired! The diversity of images is brilliant!!!

  10. Oct 10 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    the creativity from this exercise is amazing! what a fantastic array of images! i am so inspired to shoot out of the box, or should i say out of the window? (bad, i know… hee, hee)

  11. Oct 11 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Beautiful images!!!! So inspiring and I love seeing how everyone shot the challenge! :)

  12. Oct 15 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is useful. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Nov 14 2012 at 9:52 am #

    wow I would LOVE to watch this on the hdtv projector :D


  1. jellyfish… » J. Reynolds Photography - Oct 09 2012

    [...] [...]

  2. Shooting through glass - Narelle Bailey Photography - Oct 09 2012

    [...] [...]

  3. Clickin’ Moms Blog Circle | Shooting Through Glass » Three Lees in a Pod + Little Sprout - Apr 29 2013

    [...] Blog Circle!  Last month’s theme was interesting perspectives and this month’s theme is shooting through glass.  I struggled and struggled over what sort of images to get for this theme. . . [...]

  4. April Personal Project – Shooting through glass {Edmonton Family Photographer} » Lisa Lacroix Photography - Apr 30 2013

    [...] what to do personally to change it.  When April’s assignment came and the inspiration was shooting through glass I had some crazy awesome  ideas, then life intervened.  My youngest was called to the hospital [...]

  5. Clickin’ Moms Blog Circle | Beautiful Ugly » Three Lees in a Pod + Little Sprout - Jun 01 2013

    [...] time again for the monthly Clickin’ Moms Blog Circle!  Last month’s theme shooting through glass and this month’s theme is beautiful [...]

Leave a Reply

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)