Incense

by Bart Arondson

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(I have no experience with photography.)

I went to a professional photographer to get a few portraits (primarily for identification documents).

The photographer made various test shots, tried different reflector positions and I had to pose in countless positions – but nothing helped. At least one of my glasses was always reflecting and so covering my eye(s).

In the end I had to take off my glasses.

Now I wonder: Was this photographer not skilled enough? Or could it be really impossible to photograph me with my glasses on?

(I checked some older photos picturing me and I found not a single one without any reflections on my glasses; but all of them were taken by amateurs.)

I’ll need application photos in the next time. Would I have to buy new glasses? (I really don’t want to be photographed without any glasses.)

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3  
Strobist has several posts on lighting people with glasses. –  Bart Arondson Jun 5 '13 at 20:01
1  
Use an empty frame without the lense... –  Vivek Jun 6 '13 at 15:26

4 Answers 4

Lighting for glasses is all about angles. The rule is: angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. Typically, the light would be either above or below the subject so that the reflections off the glasses would angle in the desired direction which is away from the lens, like so:

enter image description here

This is a two light shot and, while I still need to work on filling in some shadows, you can see her glasses are clear to the eyes. If you look at the catch lights, you'll see both umbrellas, high and to the left and right respectively. This means that the light is coming down at a steep angle and reflecting away at steep angle, preventing it from striking the lens. All I needed was a reflector basically on their laps to fill the lower shadows... Lessons learned. :)

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Great advice and answer :) –  Mike Jun 7 '13 at 13:19

Just dont face against the light, with incoming and outgoing angle being equal. Unless your glasses are extremely curved it is possible to photograph you with glasses. If all else fails, use polariser :)

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+1 for polarizer –  Jim Jun 6 '13 at 0:47
1  
polarizer can help, but it wont necessarily eliminate, especially if the lenses have any curve causing polarizations in multiple directions. –  Octopus Jun 6 '13 at 18:16

It is possible, but potentially tricky to take a photo without a reflection with glasses. This can be particularly more true with some glasses than others. Reflections on glass occur when light bounces off the lenses and bounces in to the camera. If you can avoid sources of light that can bounce in to the camera, then you can avoid having reflections block the eyes, but it greatly complicates how you have to light the scene so that it appears natural.

First, you would need to remove any non-controlled light sources. Ceiling lights are often a source of reflection that blocks eyes showing through glasses. Then you need to light the image from off angle such that light doesn't intersect the glasses at the right angle to reflect towards the camera. Lighting from slightly in front on both sides and either above or below can work. This can normally be accomplished pretty easily in a studio where they can fully control the lighting.

If the glasses are still being really problematic, as Michael Nielsen pointed out in his answer, a polarizing filter can be used to eliminate most glare as the light becomes polarized and can be canceled out quite dramatically. Polarized filters are routinely used for shooting things that are underwater or behind glass where the ambient light causes reflections.

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Besides the problem of reflections, glasses (especially strong glasses) distort the image in the area of the glasses which can lead to undesired effects (e.g. if you extract a person from the background, the background can still be visible in the glasses).

An unorthodox approach could be to temporarily remove the glasses from the frame (if possible) for the shoot.

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