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Question: How can I minimize the glare from a subject’s glasses when using the flash?
Answer: One of the most common problems photographers have when photographing people—flash glare in eyeglasses—is one of the easiest to solve.
One of the basic rules of light physics is that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. This means that the angle that light strikes a reflective surface (such as a mirror or eyeglasses) will be the same angle that the light bounces away from that reflective surface.
If you are photographing someone who is looking directly at the camera and they are wearing glasses, the light from the flash will be reflected straight back at the camera. The result is glare in the glasses showing up in the photo. Since most of the time the situation will be a posed person or a group of people, you will need to become a director and pose the person or group to minimize the glare. This is something professional photographers learn to do as a matter of course.
If it is a single person, have the subject turn their shoulders slightly away from the camera. If it is a group, have the half of the group on the right turn slightly to their right, and the other half of the group on the left turn slightly toward their left. Direct everyone to turn their heads slightly toward the center and look at the camera with their eyes. This will change the angle of everyone’s glasses to the flash just enough to avoid the reflection of the flash bouncing back directly at the camera lens.
A variation of this technique can be used successfully to photograph in aquariums and glassed-in displays in museums using the on-camera flash. If you shoot at a steep enough angle to the surface of the glass, the flash will illuminate the subject behind the glass, but the glare will bounce away from the camera.
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