How to Take Better Pictures Through Windows

It’s often tempting–or unavoidable–to take photos through a window or glass door, but it’s not always easy to get great images shooting this way.  There are some tricks that you should know beforehand to ensure you get great photos without unwanted reflections. In the video tutorial below, there are some helpful tips to get you started:

Tips for Shooting Through Glass

There’s more to shooting through a window than you might have thought. Here’s a run through of everything Gavin covered in the clip:

  • Don’t use a flash! That should be pretty obvious, but it’s so important that it is certainly still worth mentioning. The glare and reflection it will cause in the window will essentially ruin the photograph.
  • Clean the glass well. Wipe down the whole window, including outside if possible, not just the area you think your lens will cover. Better safe than sorry.
  • Time your photo shoot so the sun isn’t glaring in through the window. It’s best to wait until the sun goes down or is behind you.
  • Turn off overhead lights or lamps inside the room, especially when shooting in the evening. This will create a little more ambiance and mood in your photograph.
  • Get your camera in close–or touching the glass, if possible–to help minimize reflections.
  • Shoot straight on to the glass. The more directly you look through the glass, the fewer reflections you get.
Reflections from glass can be distracting and make a photograph unusable.

Reflections from glass can be distracting and make a photograph unusable.

The Black Bag Trick

If you are still struggling to eliminate the reflections like those in the photo above, you can use a trick called the black bag trick. To do this without any special equipment, simply hold up a black cloth–a sheet, jacket, bag, whatever you have–in front of the source of the reflection. This should result in a much cleaner image, like the one below:

It is possible to eliminate the reflections using a black sheet.

It is possible to eliminate the reflections using a black sheet.

Polarizing Filters

Lastly, a great tool to use when photographing through glass is a polarizing filter, such as the Hoya Multi-Coated Circular Polarizing Filter. The filter easily screws onto the front of your lens and makes for a quick and easy adjustment to further reduce reflection.

There are times when shooting through glass is unavoidable, but you don’t have to settle for less than ideal shots. These simple solutions will quickly improve any image you take through a window.

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