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How To Shoot Through Windows

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

If you’re a photographer, it’s likely you have some experience shooting through windows. They provide excellent views of the world around you. They can also make for a fun concept if you want to play with an idea such as two people looking at each other through a window or having your subject look at you through a window.

While windows are terrific in photography, they can be difficult to capture. They produce glare and reflections that are hard to work around. So how can you use windows in your shoots while avoiding distracting effects? Here are a few tips.

Look for Single Glass Panes

Windows that are double and triple-paned will produce an effect where the panes reflect against each other making it difficult to get a clean photo. Try to find a single pane window for the best results.

Clean the Window

If the window is dirty or streaky, it will show up in your pictures. It’s best to clean it thoroughly before you begin shooting.

Time Your Shoot for When the Window is Not Lit

If you shoot when light is coming through the window, you will be more likely to get reflections and glare. Dirt will show up more too. It’s best to take your photos when you know the window will be in the shade.

Use a Large Aperture

A large aperture will result in a shallow depth of field which reduces glare.

Shoot Close to The Window

When you get close the window, its surface will get out of focus. This will minimize the appearance of dirt and glare.

Beware of Vibrations

The window is prone to vibrate if a car or another large object passes by. The vibration could blur your picture. Resting the lens directly against the glass will keep this from happening. However, if you are using an SLR, it will amplify the vibration.

Shoot Straight

Shooting at an angle will make it more likely for you to catch reflections. For best results, use a lens with shift. It will allow you to shoot straight on while varying the composition. Note, a wide-angle lens will catch more reflections than a long lens.

Avoid Using a Polarizing Filter

Polarizing filters are used to reduce glare and reflections so you may think it’s a wise choice to use one when shooting through a window. However, they can create undesirable patterns through a translucent surface. The worst thing is because the effect is so subtle, you may not notice it until you are processing your photos.

Wear Dark Clothing

Dark clothing is recommended as it won’t bounce back the light.

Bring a Rubber Hood

Most hoods are made of a rigid material, but a plastic one is collapsible and adaptable to various lenses. They form a seal that keeps the light from getting between the lens and the window. And because they are flexible, they will allow you to angle the lens as needed.

Bring a Dark Cloth

A dark cloth will work in a similar fashion to a rubber hood, but it will provide even more flexibility. The cloth should be affixed to the window with tape and should have enough space for the photographer to put their head underneath. This will further help in keeping out light that can cause glare and reflection.

Shooting through a window can make for a terrific photo. Now that you know how to eliminate glare and reflection, you’re ready to get fantastic images. What window-related photography tips and tricks do you have to share?

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