How to Reduce Glare in Glasses for Photos

As a portrait photographer, you probably shudder every time someone walks through your studio door wearing prescription eyeglasses. Perfecting the angle of the light on the subject’s face to ensure that your camera doesn’t pick up any glare is a struggle. But once you finish watching this video tutorial, you’ll no longer be fearful of photographing subjects who wear glasses:

The simplest technique to avoid glares in eyeglasses is to ask your subject to take them off. But what if your subject wants to have them in picture? The solution is surprisingly simple. We learned it in school.

What you need to solve this problem is an understanding of how light travels. Well, light travels in a straight line. We all know that part. The angle at which it strikes an object is known as angle of incidence. And the angle at which it bounces off of a surface is known as the angle of reflection.

how to avoid glare in photography

Angle of Incidence & Angle of Reflection

As Joe Edelman explains, the angle of reflection is the same as the angle of incidence. All you need to do is keep your camera away from the angle of reflection (and therefore the glare). Remember this simple rule and you’ll be able to avoid the glare every time you photograph somebody wearing eyeglasses. Well, almost every time.

how to avoid glare in photography

How to avoid the angle of reflection

Why almost every time? Because most eyeglasses are not perfectly flat surfaces–they’re curved. The curves mean that there are multiple angles of reflection for every light source. Relax, there’s a solution.

One solution is in using a broad light source. A broad light source is one that illuminates the side of the subject’s face closest to the camera.

broad lighting

Broad lighting can eliminate glare.

This tends to have a better result because the angle of reflection takes the glare away from the camera.

With light that is placed straight on, you can use the angle of incidence to place the light at a much higher angle to make sure that the glare misses the camera.

lighting arrangement to avoid glare

A light placed too low produces glare.

how to avoid glare

Light your subject from a high angle to avoid glare.

Using the same technique, you can avoid glare when shooting with two lights in place of one, when using reflectors or diffusers. Even bouncing a flash or a strobe to the ceiling does a nice job of cutting down glare.

technique to avoide glare

Bounce the flash.

3 Solutions to Eyeglasses Glare

  1. Change the positon or angle of the light.
  2. Change the position or angle of the model.
  3. Change your shooting position.

The 80/20 Rule

Despite the knowledge, it’s perfectly normal to be nervous about glare if this happens to be your first time shooting portraits in which eyeglasses are involved. But don’t let that show through. Simply tell your client that you’re trying to avoid glare in the images and this is very important.

Follow the 80/20 rule in this case. Spend 80 percent of your energy looking after the subject and engaging them, and spend 20 percent of your energy actually making the images.

Now that you know how to tackle that dreaded glare, you no longer have to be fearful. You can walk into a shoot with lot more confidence.

“All great photography is an act of problem solving.”

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