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Photography Question 
Tina M. Ernspiker

Polarize Filter For Glass Glare

Can I use a circular polarizing filter indoors to avoid eyeglass glare? Will it cause other problems? Thanks!

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2/17/2006 5:45:03 PM

Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  I'm pretty sure that a polarizer should work to get rid of that glare. Other than making the picture darker(I can't remember the exact amount, but I think it's about 1-2 stops), it should really do anything else.

Also some other tips for avoiding the glare, just take the lenses out. I think I've also heard that if you have them tilt their heads up, that can get rid of it too.

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2/17/2006 5:55:43 PM

Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
  Or even, have the subject take their glasses off? Unless they are, say, I.M. Pei, with his 'iconic' glasses that form part of his recognized image...? (My frames are half-rimless, and I couldn't remove the lenses without damage, unlike the older frames with with a tiny adjustment screw.)

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2/17/2006 7:53:05 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Not such a hot idea, Tina. There are a couple of reasons. One thing you'll do with a polarizer indoors is increase your contrast and by adjusting for glare (as opposed to reflections) you'll probably be changing the brightness of other areas of the photo.

Another reason is you're going to be changing your exposure as you adjust the polarizer. Depending on the camera you're using and the metering system, that may cause you a problem with over or under exposure.

The best solutions for this kind of problem are to adjust your lighting so it's not quite so direct on the subject. Diffused light, like a softbox works or an umbrella. Don't use on camera flash. Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection. In that sense, direct flash to the subject's glasses may not only produce glare but may directly reflect the flash and produce what we call "fireballs". j [Good golly mama get me outta here !!!!]. Regardless of the source of your lighting, turn off all the ambient lights you don't need for the shot.

Keep checking the viewfinder until the reflection is either diminished or altogether gone. When you think you have it nailed, then have the subject turn their head or raise or lower their head, very slowly and very slightly until you no longer see reflections in the viewfinder. OR you can raise or lower the camera (or tripod) until you no longer see any reflection in the lenses.

OTOH, you can get some interesting shots with lots of reflection in eyeglasses. Try both ways. :>)

While removing the lenses is an old trick, the frames nowadays aren't quite as simple as the older ones. Like Chris noted, damage could result

Get the picture?

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2/17/2006 8:23:18 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  If you place a slave flash high and angle it down to the subject, you can cause the burst to angle away from the camera. It's the same as shooting around windows and mirrors. If you have your subject stand in front of a window or mirror, the flash will bounce back at you. If you angle yourself at the glass and have your subject face you at the same angle, you will never know the glass exists.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.

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2/20/2006 2:42:20 PM

Darleen A. Stry
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/13/2006
  When I'm in thos situations I use my flash and bounce it off the ceiling adjusting for the darkness.

Don't waste your time using on camera flashes.

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2/23/2006 9:46:23 AM

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