Skip to content

13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses

Categories

Featured Products

Whenever I share pictures of my daughter Ellie, within moments I get asked the same question: “How to you manage to avoid glare on her glasses?”

I’m here help you with 13 tips on how to easily photograph people in glasses.

1. It all starts with the glasses — and the glass or plastic inside them.

If you are photographing your own kids, you’ll be able to control this more than if you are doing portrait photography for clients. My advice, when possible, buy lenses with anti-reflective (anti-glare).  And avoid transition lenses at all costs! A transition lens are the dual purpose lenses that turn into sunglasses outside – and trust me, they are a photographer’s worst nightmare.

Ellie-photo-shoot-15-crop 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

2. Look for the light.

Watch for the light reflecting on the glasses.  The reason I avoid glare in 90% of my images is that I watch carefully for the light and colors hitting them. I know this sounds like an odd answer, but it is the truth. Watch the light, and adjust and alter the position of your subject accordingly. If you see a blue or green tone hitting the glasses, which it does with the coating, have your model adjust his or her head slightly. Often a light rotation makes a huge difference. Sometimes finding just the right shaded area blocking light helps too.

Ellie-photo-shoot-105 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

3. Have your subject look off in the distance or away from the camera.

Certainly you’ll want most images with your subject looking into the camera lens, but occasionally have them look away or down.  It makes for great, artistic images too.

Ellie-photo-shoot-53 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

4. Tilt the head.

I often will work carefully on angles – “tilt your head down” or “angle your head this way.” The downside is that sometimes glasses cut off the eyes slightly when trying to avoid glare.

Ellie-photo-shoot-57 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

5. Shade them. 

Block the light using accessories, a tree, etc. Again it all goes back to #2, “look for the light.”

Ellie-photo-shoot-35 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

6. Remove the lenses.  

This is NOT something I recommend, but if I had a client with transition lenses, or without anti-reflective coating, you can try removing the lenses. One idea is to talk ahead with the model (or parent if it is a kid).  They may have an old pair of frames that they can pop lenses out of, or possibly their optometrist can do this for a few hours.

7. Angle the glasses.

This is another method I personal avoid most of the time, as it does not look natural to me.  But you can angle the glasses rather than the person. Just look carefully to see if it looks right before you take lots of pictures.

8. Be respectful of your customer.

You do not want your subject to feel self conscious, but photographing someone in glasses makes a tiny bit more time and patience. Explain ahead that you may have them tilt or move a certain way so that they do not have light on their lenses. This way they will not feel as if they are doing something wrong.

9. Banish the glasses.

If your subject wants some photos without their glasses, by all means, take some.  I caution against recommending that someone remove glasses unless they prefer it that way, as it can damage self-confidence.  Sure, it makes your job easier, but in most cases, you are either the parent, relative, or being paid.  My daughter Ellie often takes her frames off for a few minutes each session.  Years ago, she preferred herself this way, but in our latest session, she and I actually fell far more in love with the glasses on her.  They are part of her identity.

Ellie-photo-shoot-76 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

 

10. Practice ahead of time.

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s ok to practice.  Get a stuffed animal or doll.  Go buy faux glasses from a store like Claire’s Accessories – likely $5-10.  And start shooting.  You’ll see it is not that hard once you play around a bit.

11. Try some lifestyle shots with sunglasses.

If you are shooting in full sun, consider taking some images in sunglasses. Of course you cannot do this for all the images, but it works well to do this for a handful when the lighting won’t cooperate. I decided to lighten up the post by sharing the sunglasses on a towel animal…

Oasis-cruise-154 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

Friske-Orchards-25-web 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

12. Prepare for photo editing.

If you love a certain spot and cannot avoid glare, take two images. One with the glasses on and another without them (try and have your subject very still and use a tripod with a remote trigger so there is not much movement). This way you can stack the two images and easily wipe away (AKA mask) the glare away.

glasses-collage-with-watermark 13 Tips on How to Easily Photograph People in Glasses Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

13. Don’t worry about the glare.

Granted you don’t want dozens of images with bright white, green or blue lighting fitting them.  But in a pinch, if your favorite image has glare, don’t worry.  Enjoy it anyway!

 

 While there is no Photoshop action to get rid of glasses glare, there are some things you can do in Photoshop to help.

  • Try the burn tool set to a low flow to darken the haze caused by glasses
  • Use a Photoshop action like the MCP Eye Doctor to sharpen, lighten or darken parts of the eyes, just where it is needed. Sometimes you will find only one eye needs darkening or sharpening since the light affects one lens more than the other.
  • Use the clone tool, patch tool and healing tool, as needed for removal of small bits of flare at a time.  These tools can be tricky and time consuming, but also effective.
  • On rare occasions, you may have one eye that is fine and one with bad glare.  You can duplicate the good eye and sometimes replace the bad one, with good layer masking and transforming.
  • If you are not strong in Photoshop, you can always hire a professional retoucher who can make almost any problem go away, for a price.

 

All photos of my daughter Ellie were edited with MCP Fusion, the Eye Doctor and when applicable, Magic Skin.

MCPActions

No Comments

  1. Simon on November 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Great tips Jodi. Another thing I have found with glasses is that sometimes the auto focus wants to focus on the lens of the glasses and not on the eye. What I mean is, if I am using a shallow depth of field like f1.4 or f1.8 and don’t slow down and take care that the focus is on the eye (and not the lens of the glasses) I end up with an eye that is slightly out of focus. The best way around this is to use manual focus.

    • Jodi Friedman on November 7, 2014 at 7:07 am

      I haven’t encountered this. But definitely, if focus jumps to the frame or lenses, manual focus can help.

  2. Braam du Plessis on November 7, 2014 at 2:49 am

    What about bracketing a shot, Wouldn’t the underexposed shot have reduced glare?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Categories

Recent Posts

Scroll To Top