I remember when I was studying photography that the most difficult assignment we were given was photographing shiny objects. I stupidly chose to photograph a pair of orchestral cymbals (ie. shiny all over with multiple angles). The next most difficult thing after that was probably the sunglasses. Those reflections are necessary, you don’t want to remove them altogether, but you do want them to enhance the product, not detract from it. And that’s just product photography! What happens when you’re using artificial light with a person wearing sunglasses? How do you avoid those cartoonish round white blobs?
I’ve made this joke many times, but nobody laughed.
It made sense to me. Glasses are lenses. Lenses need to be clean in order to perform their function. If you a photographer has dirty eyeglasses, how could you possibly trust them?
But I missed something important.
For one, glasses that are dirty are still better than no glasses at all. I should know. I am practically blind without optical correction. My glasses are filthy on occasion, but when they are, they are still better than uncorrected vision.
We’ve written about how to avoid glare on glasses here on DIYP before. It’s a topic that many of us face at some point or another, whether it be for photography or video reasons. Photographer Joe Edelman has shared some excellent tips in the past on how we can avoid glare and reflection in glasses when photographing others, but what about when filming yourself?
While he doesn’t go quite as in-depth into the physics of it the way Joe did, this video from Kevin The Basic Filmmaker explains the basic problem and how we can quickly and easily solve the issue of reflection in glasses when filming ourselves or shooting video of others talking directly to the camera.
The best way to avoid glare in glasses is to simply position your lights and your subject in such a way that they don’t reflect off the surface of the lenses in the glasses they are wearing. In the studio, this is relatively easy to achieve. Out on location, where you have no control over the ambient light and sometimes your subject, we might have to resort to cleaning it up in post.
In this video, Unmesh at PiXimperfect shows us a method we can use to restore detail hidden behind glare and reflections in glasses in Photoshop. He does stress that you do need to have some detail there to begin with that you want to try to bring out.
Snap has introduced Spectacles 3, the third iteration of its wearable camera-sunglasses. Just like the last year’s version, Spectacles 3 are also improved over their preceding model. They include some interesting upgrades compared to Spectacles 2, such as two HD cameras shooting 3D snaps. But, the price is also significantly “upgraded,” and the latest model is almost two times more expensive than the previous one.
Usually, when we hear about reflection issues with photography, especially with flash, it’s on glasses. The type people wear on their faces. We’ve posted about that on here before. This time, we’re dealing with regular flat glass. Like that found in windows and doors. The same principles apply, although you do have a few more options.
In this video, photographer Rob Hall takes a look at the subject of reflections on glass surfaces when working with flash. He offers up a number of tips and solutions to help reduce or eliminate the problem entirely. Which will work best for you will depend on your situation. But armed with these techinques, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the shot you want.
Whenever I see people posting questions about how to photograph people wearing glasses, they usually receive the same response. “Don’t, have them take their glasses off”. This is usually followed by some silly statement about it being impossible to avoid glare and reflections on glasses. Well, it’s not impossible. It’s actually pretty straightforward.
As photographer Joe Edelman describes in this video, it’s simply a case of applying a little basic physics. It’s a challenge that’s been around since the dawn of photography, but the methods to solving it today are the same as they were a hundred years ago.
I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve taken a photo of someone with glasses only to have a reflection ruin the shot.
Usually, I end up scrapping the shot entirely, but with the help of a brand new tutorial from photographer Scott Kelby, I might just be able to salvage one of these shots in the future.
It is one thing to have your photo taken in public. It is a whole different thing to have multiple photos of you taken in public, tagged and stored in a way that enables search. Think facebook image tagging crossed with images streaming from ATM machines, street cameras and security cams. Sounds scary right?
According to Professor Isao Echizen from Tokyo’s National Institute of Informatics there are ways to avoid constant tagging of your face. One such way is to constantly tilt your head. Another less pain inducing option is to use a pair of glasses designed by Prof. Echizen specially designed to disable face recognition.