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Sarah in VA

Reflections From Eye Glasses

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I took some photos again today of my husband's parents for their 65th wedding anniversary. I took some last month when we saw them and they turned out really quite good. I took them, totally unplanned, in a hotel lobby, wonderful natural light, uncluttered backgrounds, easy going mood - they were natural and at ease. I posted one of my MIL in the Photo Focus Club last week when the challenge was "Mothers". Well, after thinking about it, they decided they wanted a retake! Today was the day.

 

Anyway, today they were in their apartment all dressed up, suits, ties, scarves, etc, and wound up very tight! And their apartment, while not tiny is chocked full of collections of practically 65 years. And not the best of light.

 

The best light/best background combination I could find was setting them up in front of a west facing window with a china cabinet as a partial background - and I was squashed up against a wall. This was around noon and the sky was cloudy. I was using my 50mm 1.8 lens, so I had plenty of light and I got the white balance pretty good too. But I had a heck of a time avoiding the reflections on their eye glasses. And neither one wanted to take them off - understandable.

 

I thought, well, let's go outside and I'll put them on varying step heights (to equalize the difference in their heights and get their faces closer together) outside their front door - good background, good light. BUT, they wear those glasses that turn dark immediately upon stepping outside! The shots out there were terrible!

 

What could I have done? How do you avoid reflections in glasses? I read a very intense book on lighting recently that talked about the family of angles; it gave me a severe headache and I didn't learn a thing. Please tell me it's something easier than this.

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Hi Sarah!

 

Unfortunately its not the easiest of things to avoid when doing portraits of eyeglass wearers.

 

A couple of things I have done in the past is to get the wearer to look "over" the top of their glasses, or to angle the glasses down a little. This reduces the reflection but may not eliminate it completely.

 

Another one is to get them to "hold" their eyeglasses in some way. I note you said that they did not want to remove them, so I can see how that would have been difficult in this instance, but holding is another option.

 

Avoid flash (fairly obvious that one, sorry)

 

Adjust the angle you shoot from if at all possible. I realise these are not the practical of solutions, given your description of the shots you took, but I hope they will give you something to consider if you have this problem again.

 

Cheers

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i too have been told to have them put the glasses a little down on their nose but not so it looks funny.... it is hard.... i bet there are some thing online if you want to search.... too bad they wanted stuffy photos.... lots of people dont understand the beauty of photography and just want to be dressed up and stiff...

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This is constantly an issue for me, too, Sarah. With two daughters who wear glasses (one who has bifocals), I'm constantly looking for angles that give me the least amount of glare.

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Thanks to all of you who have responded with suggestions. It is not an easy fix, is it? Next time I will try the lowering of glasses on noses! This is a universal problem I guess - misery loves company!

 

So, now that I have reflections (some) on the photos, anyone have any suggestions how I remove this in post processing? I think I remember that Scott Kelby has a tutorial on this involving the clone brush. Any other ideas?

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If you have one good eye in the photo, I think cloning it is the best option. Unless you can somehow match the eye with another photo that doesn't have the glare and mask out the glare? You'd need 2 fairly identical photos to do that, though.

HTH.

R.

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My parents had portraits done one time by a photographer who asked them to bring old frames with the lenses removed. This may not always be possible, but when it is, it works great. And if you're a wearer of glasses, it's something to remember when you're getting new frames.

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I found a very nice pair of tutorials that are pretty easy, for Photoshop Elements, by Matt Kloskowski.

 

#1 http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1025305, with moderately uniform glare.

 

#2 http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1025305&seqNum=2, for random glare.

 

Hope this helps!

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Thanks for these links, Barbara. I've worked on some of these today and I can see an improvement. Of course, I wasn't lucky enough to have any moderately uniform glare. But after seeing these tutorials, I think I'll go back to my originals and have another try.

 

I think I'll also suggest that the next time they get new glasses, they get the anti-glare! The frames with no lens is a good idea too!

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I have used the cloned idea, but via cut with a graded edge, copy and paste,

reverse the pasted piece and slide it over the glared side.

 

Tough duty, but worth it.

 

I just love to go flashless with my camera! Get another LIGHT in the room and

have it shoot PAST them instead of ON them!

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OOO tough edits all around. Glasses are so hard to get rid of... the best way is definitely to not have the glare in the first place... which isn't always possible. Sorry you're having so much trouble with it.

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Thanks again for all your help and suggestions. After going through all the shots for the best ones, there was only one with some glare that made into the 5 "best" (I say that laughingly!) shots that I'll send them for their consideration. And I was able to minimize that fairly well. The ones with the really bad glare all had something else that was less than desireable about them, so wound up in the delete pile after all.

 

I'm trying so hard to get these right and am so glad I decided to shoot this series in RAW & JPEG! I'm learning a lot, and know that if I really mess something up, I can go back to the original RAW version and start all over!

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