How to Avoid Reflections in Photography. (2024 Expert Tips)10 min read

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Avoiding Reflections in Photos

This article will discuss the best ways to avoid reflections in photography.

Reflections in photography can be incredibly powerful, and when done right, they can make a simple photo completely stunning. However, there are instances when you do not want to have any reflections in your photos.

Street photographers rely on reflections to create stunning images.

By following the tips given in this article, you can learn how to avoid reflections in photography without much effort.

You might be interested in our review of Irix lenses, Carl Zeiss lenses, and Jintu lenses.

What is a Reflection?

Reflections are basically the image of objects that act as a mirror of your subject. It can be anything, be it a window, glass, mirror, or even water. Generally, things that are smooth at the front have fewer reflections than rough or uneven ones.

Reflective surfaces can cause a problem when you want to photograph a subject in front of a reflective surface.

When you want to shoot something on the other side of the reflective surface, and your subject reflects on it, you will have multiple reflections.

It can be tough to fix reflections in post-processing software like Photoshop because all the information will be lost.

5 Tips on How to Avoid Reflections in Photography

1. Change the Path of Light to Eliminate Reflections in Photography

Sunlight or artificial light are the main causes of most reflections, and they hit your subject and bounce off it to create a reflection. You can change the path of direct light by moving yourself or your subject away from the reflective surface.

The only problem with altering the light path is that it changes your whole lighting scenario.

Moving yourself or your subject away from the reflective surface can result in unwanted shadows on your subject or even a different type of light.

So when you need to alter the path of light, try to get as much control over the surrounding environment as possible by moving other objects that can reflect light from hitting your subject.

When you only want to move the subject away from a reflective surface and not the light, consider creating your own backlighting by using a reflector on your subject.

There are many ways to get rid of that unwanted shadow, but the most common one is to use a reflecting surface on your subject instead of letting another object reflect light onto it.

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2. Get a Reflector to Avoid Reflections in Photography

Avoiding Reflections in Photos
Avoiding Reflections in Photos

A reflector is a piece of equipment that brings light back to an object. The reflector usually works by reflecting the light into a surface you already have, or you can use it to create your own light source in an existing environment.

But just like anything else, they all have their pros and cons. A reflector is one of the best devices you can use to minimize reflections in photography, especially if there are other reflective surfaces around.

You can get a simple reflector that fits in your camera bag, or you can get one that is collapsible and portable. If you have the ability to take your own light source, then a reflector is the next best thing you can use.

However, they do not come free of cost. Reflectors are generally expensive, and their price depends on their size and quality. Things like fabric and even paper-made reflectors can be bought fairly low.

Position the reflector at a 45° angle. If you have a small-sized one, it is best to position it closer to your subject than the reflective surface. If not, make sure to position the reflector closer to your subject than the reflective surface itself. You can also try holding up two reflectors at 45° angles if you need more light on your subject.

3. Use a Diffuser to Eliminate Reflections in Photography

A diffuser is another device that works by spreading the light from a light source and reducing the intensity of the reflected light. A diffuser eliminates harsh shadows and places a soft glow on your subject.

It can be a piece of fabric, a reflective surface like a wall, or even a softbox. They work by spreading the light source evenly and evenly.

It is possible to use both softboxes and diffusion sheets simultaneously if needed. It all depends on what you are looking for in the photo. Some photographers prefer to use them together with reflectors, while others prefer to use them on their own.

The best thing about using diffusion is that it is portable and highly versatile. If you are stuck without a reflector, you can use a diffusion sheet instead.

You can either buy a diffuser or make it yourself by sewing a piece of fabric to your camera bag using some creative sewing techniques.

You can also just attach softboxes and diffusion sheets to your camera bag if needed, although these would be more expensive than using regular reflectors.

A softbox is an indispensable part of photography that should not be left out in the dark.

4. Use a Circular Polarizer

Avoiding Reflections in Photos
Avoiding Reflections in Photos

A circular polarizer is one of the best things you can get for photography. It will cut out most reflections in your photos and make them look great.

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For this, you will first need to find out what type of lens you are using. For most lenses that do not have any special coating, it is advised to use the circular polarizer.

However, certain lenses do have this coating and will not work with the circular polarizer. In these cases, you need to find a different type of filter called “standard clear,” which is available in many camera stores.

You will notice the reflection on the surface you want to shoot at. Then you need to set your circular polarizer to get rid of the reflections.

Circular polarizers should not be used for portrait, baby, or wedding photography.

Most circular polarizers come with their own instructions on using it. Make sure you follow those instructions carefully because if not, it can harm your photos.

Once you have set your circular polarizer as instructed, you are good to go.

5. Use a Lens Hood to Avoid Reflections in Photography

Avoiding Reflections in Photos
Avoiding Reflections in Photos

A lens hood is another thing you should not leave out on a sunny day. If it is not there, you cannot use the previous tips because a lens hood only works for specular light, the most common type of light.

The lens hood is usually made of plastic and can either be integrated into your camera or be placed over the front of your lens. They come in different sizes and shapes depending on what you are using them for.

Their primary purpose is to shade your lens from the light source to reduce any unwanted reflections that can be seen in your photo.

They play a small role in the glaring part of specular light and can make a big difference in terms of photos. Make sure you do not leave this out when you are shooting during sunrise or sunset. Or at least be sure to take it with you, just in case.

They also prevent stray light from entering the lens and causing flare. The last thing you want is to have your photo ruined by flare, even with all your works, to get rid of the reflection.

A lens hood is what you need to keep stray light away. Spherical ones are better than not having one at all, so make sure it is there when you go out shooting.

Frequently Asked Questions Around Reflections in Photography

How do you avoid reflection in jewelry photography?

You may even want to take a few before and after photos to see the difference a lens hood can make.

A lot of the time, jewelry photography requires you to get really close to the subject. This is why most jewelry photographers prefer to use a strip box rather than a softbox because it offers them more versatility in positioning it.

This way, they can get an even light that will not have any unwanted shadows and reflections. They are also useful when you need more light on your subject to balance out with the rest of the environment.

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Place a paper around your camera lens and at the bottom of your camera lens to assist in blocking reflections and bounce more light towards the jewelry. This will also prevent stray light from entering the camera and producing unwanted flares.

How do you photograph a mirror?

The best way of photographing a mirror as though you are standing in front of it is to use a shift-tilt lens. This simple lens can be tilted on either side to adjust your focus.

One caveat you should note is that the shift-tilt lens does not provide accurate focusing. It can shift your focus but will not correct for parallax as some people may expect it to.

So, you will have to manually adjust your focus ring on your camera to make sure everything is in focus and not too fuzzy.

You can also try placing your camera at an angle so that the mirror will appear as if it is looking at you rather than straight on. This can help to reduce unwanted reflections and create interesting photos.

You can experiment with this once you get the hang of photography and learn more effective ways of getting the best out of them. However, it is a handy tool for shooting mirrors.

Final Thoughts on Reflections in Photography

Reflections are an unavoidable part of photography. They do not just occur in a room or a place but also happen outside where light-hitting surfaces have reflections.

There are ways of reducing the reflection and making your photo as meaningful as possible. They can be quite tricky to fix, so you just have to learn how to work with them effectively.

Watching people in real life is a great way of learning how to control the reflected areas with your own eyes. When something is lit normally, you will see the reflection.

These are the most common techniques that photographers use to minimize reflections in photographs. You can use these tips even if you do not have any specialized equipment since they can be done with a bit of creativity and ingenuity. Try at home and see the difference!

Reflections in photography cause such a problem because they ruin the quality of your photographs.

Additionally, lenses should be kept clean. To clean lenses, use a microfiber cloth. This can be easily acquired or purchased through any camera shop. If possible, use a lens hood to keep debris from entering the lens and causing dust or scratches on the glass surface.

Cleaning your lenses regularly will help you avoid unexpected reflections in your photographs when you are out shooting landscapes.

James M

I've always been passionate about photography for as long as I can remember. I would take photos at any chance I got. I made up my own world and filled it with photos of friends, family, animals, natural forces, and more! This passion leads me till today where I have made myself so many happy memories and memories for others. This is why it means the world to me when I write these posts and get to make someone's day by inspiring them.