Taking photos of people wearing glasses can be a challenge, even for professional photographers. It’s not an aesthetic issue, but rather one of optics: the lenses reflect light and end up hiding the subject’s eyes or creating odd colors on the lenses’ surface. However, it is possible to take great photos of people wearing glasses. Consider the four tips below.
Be Aware of Lighting
Lighting is important for taking photographs in general and especially important when your subject is wearing glasses. Take time to watch and see how light is hitting the glasses. Often times, a simple turn of the head or adjustment to your subject’s position can be enough to remove glare. You can also have your subject shade his or her eyes with a hat or an object above the head to partially or completely block light. Backlighting works well here too, since light from the back is less likely to shine back into the glasses.
Try a Different Pose
How you position your subject can make a real difference in avoiding glare on their glasses. Tilting or angling your subject’s head in a certain way can reduce or eliminate glare in many situations. A slight variation on this is to angle the glasses instead of the person’s head. Want to go for a pose that is a little more artistic or dramatic? Have your subject look off into the distance or down toward the ground instead of looking directly at the camera.
Eliminate the Pitfalls of Glasses
Since we’re talking about avoiding glare on glasses, one suggestion may seem obvious—remove the glasses for the picture. Before asking your subject to do this, it is a good idea to understand his or her comfort level with this request. Often, people who wear glasses all the time view them as extensions of themselves and part of their identity, and may want to keep their glasses on for their photo.
Another option is to remove the lenses from the frames, though this may or may not be feasible depending on the type of glasses your subject has. Have your subject check with his or her optometrist to get guidance on how to accomplish this without damaging the frames. They might even perform this task for them. You can also check to see if he or she has an old pair of frames they no longer wear and pop the lenses out of those for the photo. If you are shooting the photo outdoors in sunlight, have your subject exchange his or her glasses for a pair of sunglasses. Whatever type of glasses you settle on, do try to avoid those with transition lenses. These dual purpose lenses are very difficult to photograph.
When All Else Fails…Photoshop!
Of course, there will be times when you cannot avoid glare, such as when shooting a photo in direct sunlight or with a group of people. In these cases, you can use software like Photoshop to sharpen, lighten, or darken parts of eyes or apply tools (like patch, clone, and healing) to remove small bits at a time. You can also take two pictures, one shot with glasses and the other without, and merge the two by stacking the images and masking the glare. If Photoshop is not your strong suit, you can always hire a professional photographer or retoucher to take care of the glare for you.
However you choose to approach taking photographs of people with glasses, always remember to slow down, be patient, and take your time. It will help you avoid retouching and editing out glare, and more likely than naught, result in photos with which you and your subject are happy.
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