Photograph People With Glasses: It’s All In The Physics!

A huge concern for those who wear glasses is having their photographs turn out alright. The amateur photographer is capable of making a lot of careless mistakes that can leave a picture looking awful. But if the photographer knows what he or she is doing, there is no reason why a picture of a person wearing glasses shouldn’t look absolutely perfect.

Applying Physics to Photography

It helps if you know a little bit of physics when taking these types of pictures. You may recall from high school or college

physics that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection. When photographing a person in glasses, the angle of incidence is made when light strikes the surface of the lenses. When that light bounces off and reflects back, it forms the angle of reflection. Since these two angles are identical, if you point a camera straight at somebody wearing glasses, the light from the flash will reflect off the lenses and right back at the camera. As a result, there will be a glare around the subject’s eyes.

Angle of the Subject

In order to avoid glare, all you really need to do is adjust the angle of the subjects face. Generally, it is best to have the person tilt their head slightly down and push his or her glasses frames a little higher up on the bridge of the nose. You can also have the subject turn his or her head a little to one side. Basically, you want to break up the path that the light from the flash makes after it bounces off the subject’s glasses.

Camera Distance

Of course, the people being photographed may not wish to angle their chins down or look off to the side. But there are other techniques for making a picture with glasses turn out right. Another way to minimize glare from glasses is to turn on the zoom and stand farther away while taking the picture. If the light from the flash has to travel a greater distance, it is less likely to cause glare.

Proper Lighting

The location and angle of the lighting can have a huge effect on how a person in glasses will look in a developed photograph. It is best if the light source is behind the subject, or at least to the side. If the primary source of lighting is located behind the photographer, there will be an additional reflection bouncing off the glasses, making the chances of a bad picture much greater. This is true for indoor lighting, as well as natural light from the sun.

Editing Out Glare

If all else fails, you can always take a stab at editing glare or excess shadows out of the picture. Despite today’s advanced editing technology, fixing lighting problems can be tricky, so you should try your best to set up your photo in a way that will eliminate glare from glasses. Open the picture up in Photo Shop and select the cloning tool. Adjust the size of the clone stamp to capture a portion of the photo with no glare on it. Ideally this will be directly adjacent to the area that does have glare. Then, set the mode on the cloning tool to “darken” and create a new layer over the glare.

Sara Roberts writes for Just Eyewear, an online retailer of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.


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  • nice article long needed

  • Kavya Hari

    Hi , thank you for written a wonderful information on here. And, i agree with all points because if we wear the glass,surely it would been shown as shadows on the face. Actually, it’s lighting effect.

  • Travel to Europe

    Very good article. Another lesson to learn when taking portrait photos.