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Tips & Tricks

How To Control Reflections on Glasses | Gavin Hoey

By Hanssie on February 14th 2015

Glasses can be the bane of a photographer’s existence or a great tool to make some really creative images. There have been times I’ve finished a shoot only to find that a person’s glasses had given off an unwanted reflection or glare in the image, but then there have been other times where sunglasses became a fun prop to use to create some eye catching reflections.

I love using sunglasses during a wedding day, especially for groom and groomsmen portraits. Sometimes men can be more difficult to shoot and with the added “protection” of sunglasses, they are more comfortable in front of the camera; plus men look great when they’re dressed up in a nice suit/tux with a sharp pair of sunglasses to polish off the GQ look.



In the following Adorama sponsored video, Gavin Hoey shows how to control the reflections on glasses so that you can add or remove interesting elements to your photo. He uses a pair of sunglasses for this video, but the same principle applies to clear glasses as well. The first part of the video, he shows how to reduce reflections in camera so you don’t have the annoying glare that is so distracting in photographs. By positioning your light source properly and considering the size of your light source, you can get rid of reflections on glasses completely without having to do it in post.

In the second half of the video, Gavin shows how to create your own reflection using Photoshop. Using the Inverse Square Law, Gavin takes a photo of the cards and then brings the image into Photoshop for a stylized reflection in the final image.

Watch “How to Control Reflections: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey: AdoramaTV”

I’m shooting a wedding today and I think I may try out this little technique for some fun shots.

[Via iso1200]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kyle Felix

    [Kyle Felix has deleted this comment]

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  2. Vince Arredondo

    I think Gavin explains everything very clear.

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  3. Konrad Sarnowski

    I’ve had fun with glasses, and for me the most annoing thing is that there’s not mutch sunglasses that are flat – most of them are in fact spherical mirrors… Now try to not have studio lights & stuff reflecting in them… ;)

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  4. robert garfinkle

    what’d be cool – you take a picture of a subject, say an adult, and have the reflection itself be that adult as a child…

    that’d be cool. memories reflected off of sunglasses, tell a story.

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  5. Steve Lindemann

    One problem — the layers need to be reversed left-right to mimic a true reflection.

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    • Norbert Waage

      I think that’s why he chose eights and aces cards, so the reverse wouldn’t be necessary.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      I think he chose Aces and Eights because it’s popularly known in western lore as the “dead man’s hand”.

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  6. John Cavan

    As usual, Adorama TV manages to put a good intro concept video together. The thing that I found amusing though is that he seemed to want to avoid saying “angle of incidence equals angle of reflection” (otherwise known as the Law of Reflection) and yet casually mentions the Inverse Square Law. He does dance around it a bit, though, and it’s just a quibble that I noticed while watching. For those wanting more, I really recommend “Light, Science and Magic” by Fil Hunter. I have the 4th edition, it’s an excellent guide with a ton of examples, on how to control your light in all sorts of situations.

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    • John Cavan

      It’s also worth noting that the physics behind light is probably the single most important thing for a photographer to know and understand beyond the basic controls of their camera. After all, it’s light that we capture. :)

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    • Thomas Horton

      Highly recommend “Light, Science and Magic. It is not the easiest read, but for understanding how light reflects off of the subject, I have not found a better book.

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    Great video.

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  8. Chuck Eggen

    Thanks for the article Hanssie. The addition of the his use of PS layers is a nice review for me as well.

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  9. Greg Silver

    Good video – but is it just me or is there a red color cast on the video.

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