Tip of the Day: 3 ways to fight glare without a polarizer

1) Get a different angle. If you’re shooting through glass and must use your flash, do it at a 45-degree angle. If you’re taking photos in harsh sun, reposition yourself or your subject to get the light from a different direction. For portraits of people with eyeglasses, have your subjects tilt their glasses downward 1/4 inch if you’re shooting head on, or light them from one side and have them turn their head the other way for a 3/4-angle portrait.

Many photographers use polarizing filters as a reliable way to add more saturation to colors, as well as to reduce glare and reflections. But what if you’re shooting without one? Here’s how to battle glare without a polarizing filter:

1) Get a different angle. If you’re shooting through glass and must use your flash, do it at a 45-degree angle. If you’re taking photos in harsh sun, reposition yourself or your subject to get the light from a different direction. For portraits of people with eyeglasses, have your subjects tilt their glasses downward 1/4 inch if you’re shooting head on, or light them from one side and have them turn their head the other way for a 3/4-angle portrait.

2) Wear black. It may sound simple, but to avoid reflections, don’t wear anything reflective. If you’re taking pictures outside, wear black so your reflection won’t show up in store windows, for instance. In the studio? Pull a black backdrop behind yourself if you’re shooting an object with a reflective surface.

3) Come back later. Direct sunlight can kill a photo. For example, direct sun on foliage often creates a glare that causes it to look white. If possible, try photographing earlier or later in the day when the sun hits objects at a more oblique angle.
—Kathleen Davis
Assistant Editor

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