Light is often called a photographer’s best friend. But when it comes to photographing people wearing glasses, sometimes light can be your enemy instead, refracting and reflecting with the sun, indoor light sources or your flash.
Eyeglasses have evolved over the years to embrace different signature styles and lenses, making them a more popular option for your photography subjects. But it also makes it difficult to learn to photograph one lens shape or style. Instead of asking your subjects to remove their glasses altogether, learn to adapt to the light and shoot around it. There’s no need to master Photoshop to add the eyeglasses on later. Instead, use these simple tricks to master the art of photographing subjects with eyeglasses.
Looking directly into the camera or flash can create multiple glares, and shadows the subject’s eyes. However, asking the subject to tilt their head down just slightly will quickly resolve the glaring light issue. This can take some practice, as you want the effect to look natural (not overly posed). If you can’t find the right angle, try adjusting the glasses instead and sliding them down slightly to capture their natural expression without capturing the reflection of your flash.
Adjust your camera angle
While light and glasses can be intimidating for new and established photographers, the nature of light and how it reflects is mostly predictable. Get your subject settled to determine how the reflection of the light will bounce off her glasses. Then angle your own camera so the light won’t bounce directly from the glasses and to the camera lens. Start by placing the angle of your camera to the side of the subject’s face.
Tackle a group shot
Figuring out how to position the light or your camera with a single subject usually isn’t difficult. But taking a photograph of several people can be a challenge. Olympus recommends turning half of your group to one angle where their shoulders slightly face the camera. Position the other half of your group the other direction. The people in your photo should not directly face the camera, or risk the flash bouncing directly off their glasses. Instead, they can keep their heads turned from the camera with their eyes looking toward your lens. It may take some experimenting to get the right setup, but the results are a group of smiling people without light bouncing off their glasses in the photo.
Add some shade
What if your subject is outside where light may be coming from multiple directions? Instead of taking them indoors, situate them under a tree or area where there’s shade surrounded by natural light. A hat could also work and create enough shade to take a photo without their glasses becoming blanketed in light. If no shade is available, try to block the light by asking them to stand near a structure.
A little glare in a photo may look natural and unposed, especially if you’re outside. But if all else fails and you’re shooting an important portrait, you can remove the lenses of your subject’s glasses. This gives the illusion they’re wearing glasses without the problematic glare. This method can prove tricky without the right tools and practice. Another option is to eliminate the light as much as possible during your shoot, and then use Photoshop to remove the rest. The process involves taking a clone and overlaying the corrected version over the glare.
With the right approach to glare reduction and redirecting the light, your portrait shots of subjects with glasses can make you look like a seasoned pro.