Imagine capturing the perfect headshot of a friend. Their pose is just right, the light is working beautifully, and the picture is perfectly focused. Then you notice the glare from the lens of their glasses. A beautiful portrait photo, ruined.
If this has happened to you, you know exactly how frustrating a lens glare can be.
Here are some of the ways I try to avoid lens glare when taking a photo of someone with glasses:
Get the Angles Right
Whether you’re working inside or outside, lights and the sun can find just the right way to glare off of glasses and ruin your picture. Make sure you’re aware of where the lights are, how they’re pointed, and what angles work best to avoid a reflection. Rather than always moving your camera, the right angle might be found with a tilt of the head or a repositioning of the glasses.
In these snaps from K+J’s wedding. For their first-look, we put them under the hotel awning to avoid any glare.
Soften the Light
If you’re inside and have the ability to soften the light with the use of a reflector or sheet, try that in order to avoid the harsh glare of a direct bulb. Softening the light can ensure even distribution and even create a welcome glow. This is also less likely to create a lens glare, as the light has become weaker and therefore shouldn’t reflect as easily.
Here is a photo of Ryan from the in-home newborn session I photographed. Lucy’s nursery has one window, so I had him stand about 4 feet from the window and then I used a flash to bounce light off of the light-colored walls. I did not have my reflector with me, so I just used the walls of Lucy’s bedroom to reflect the fill light from my flash.
Find Soft and Even Natural Light
The best-case scenario is if you are able to find an area that has completely soft and even natural light, ie. a completely overcast day.
With overcast even lighting, there is basically no chance of picking up any glare in glasses.
Here you can see Emily & Tim are sitting outside of their home and it was partially cloudy and even started snowing.
Backlight Your Subject
If softening the light doesn’t solve the problem, try rotating the picture 180 degrees to backlight your subject. This works especially well outside, as softening the light from the sun can be much trickier than softening the light of a bulb. With the source of light behind the person, it should be a difficult task to create a lens glare, even if you were trying to!
This photo was taken around 9:30am on a bright sunny morning. I positioned them with the sun directly behind them to avoid not only glasses lens glare, but also a beautiful halo light around them, and no squinty faces.