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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shooting through Glass

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© 2010 Simon Hucko

Sorry for the late post this week. I've been pretty busy/uninspired, but today I came across a photo I took a little while back and got an idea for a quick tip.

There are often times that you're forced to take a photo through glass (museums, zoos, out your window, store fronts, aquariums, etc). Even if the glass is perfectly clean (which it never is), it can still introduce reflections and other tell-tale signs that it's there. Here's how to minimize/eliminate those problems and get photos that look like you're up close and personal with your subject:

- The most important thing is to get close. I mean very close, to the point where part of your lens should be touching the glass. A rubber lens hood is ideal for this, since they still stick out a tiny bit when folded back. This allows you to press the lens right up against the glass and gives you a good light seal without worrying about scratches. A regular lens hood will work, too, but that puts you a little farther away which could be problematic. Getting this close will do two things. First, it cuts out all reflections because the lens/hood/camera body/your head block all the light falling on that part of the glass. Second, it brings the glass very close to the front element, helping to take it farther from the plane of focus. More on that in a second.

- Shoot at a large aperture. This reduces your depth of field, helping to insure that the glass will not be in focus. The farther out of focus the glass is, the less any little smudges on it will affect your photo (they turn into huge blurs and eventually cover the whole image, making them effectively invisible). Using a longer focal length (if possible) will help with this as well, since it also cuts down on depth of field.

So there you have it - next time you have to shoot through glass don't let the viewer know it was there. This technique also works on fences, wires, security glass, etc., just make sure you use a long fast-aperture lens to fully blur them out of your photo. Don't believe me? Try it sometime, you'll be amazed.


[title of blog] on flickr


  1. I don't believe you, I'd better try it sometime ;)

    Good post, thanks for the tips.

  2. haha, yep. put that 55-200 on and shoot at 200mm f/5.6. it should just disappear.

  3. Great tip! Awesome photo too. Definitely one of the better kitty pictures i've seen in a while.