Since our portrait subjects shouldn’t have to give up their glasses to have their photo taken, knowing how to avoid capturing those those pesky glare and reflections that we see in eye glasses is a pretty important thing for a portrait photographer to know how to do. Fortunately, it’s one of those things that are easier to do than you might think and (here’s the best part) it’s easily done “in camera”. Meaning no intense Photoshop training is necessary to master this aspect of portrait photography.
Did I mention you also won’t need any special equipment to do it either? I know, it just keeps getting better and better! So let’s cut to the chase–as you read on I think you’ll probably start to realize how painfully obvious this actually is but it’s easy to overthink and remains a question I get asked on a regular basis. Here’s how simple it is, and I’ll even give you have a couple of options…
Number One: Pose The Subject Differently
Depending on where the reflection is coming from, have your subject move their head ever so slightly until the glare has disappeared. Glares typically come from light sources, such as a bright sun, a softbox, even a large wall that is bouncing light onto the subjects face.If you’re able to pinpoint where the source of the reflection is, it will be easier to direct your subject so they can reposition into a more favorable angle.
Also, if you’re going to have them tilt their face down (or up, or any direction) having them move a little at a time help prevent them going into a pose that looks too unnatural or forced. So, try to have them move the minimum amount necessary to snap a photo with no reflections on the eye glasses.
If they have to tilt their head so much it compromises the composition, you may need to try something else out, which, conveniently brings us to our next option…
Or, Number Two: Change Camera Position
You won’t always have the luxury of being able to tell your portrait exactly how to pose and you may find yourself in situations where it’s just impossible to get eliminate glares by having your subject move without making them pose in an uncomfortable way. In that case, you can always move yourself. Just pick up your camera and put one foot in front of the other until you’ve found an angle captures your subject in just a way where the reflections aren’t picked up in the photograph.
It may not be as simple as telling someone else to move, but it’s still pretty darn easy. Plus, you’ll eventually be able to instinctively know where you–or the subject–need to be to get the desired results.
Fun Bonus Option: Own It.
Now that you’re a better photographer for knowing how to take portraits of people with eye glasses without reflections blocking the view of the subject’s eyes, it’s time to forget everything we just learned for a minute and embrace the creative potential glares and reflections can bring to a photograph. Sometimes learning the rules of photography just to break them can bring some pretty awesome shots!