How to Take Pictures Through a Display Case Glass Without Glare

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You would think that taking pictures through glass would be easy since glass is clear. The truth is that glass can be a tricky obstacle between you and your subject. You may come home dismayed to find that instead of the image you had hoped to capture, the result is a bright starburst of light blocking the subject and ruining the picture. Glass glare is the result of the reflection of your flash or bright existing lights bouncing off a glass that separates you from your subject. When you’re trying to take photos at events, museums, aquariums, or any exhibits and displays that are encased in glass, keep glass glare and a few photography tips in mind as you compose your shot.

How to Take Pictures Through a Display Case Glass Without Glare
(Boris Sevo/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • Adjustable flash
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Rotating polarizing filter
  • Photo editing software (optional)
Step 1

Turn off the flash if possible. Some display cases are illuminated well enough from the inside. If the existing light is good enough, you can eliminate the flash altogether and avoid glare bouncing off the glass. This will give you the greatest variety of angles to work with when snapping your photographs.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media
Step 2

Move or turn off any lights behind you that may be reflected in the glass. If you are unable to control the existing light, simply move your body or your camera so that they are not positioned directly behind.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media
Step 3

Angle the camera when you take your shot. A camera held at a 45 degree angle to the glass will reduce or eliminate any glare from a flash. If you have an adjustable flash, angle it to 45 degrees so that the light will not bounce directly off the glass and back at the camera. Instead, the light will bounce off the glass and away from the camera. You can angle from the left or right, or from above or below the subject. Take photos at multiple angles to increase your odds of a good shot.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media
Step 4

Move closer to the glass. If possible, put the lens up against the glass or zoom in closely on your subject. Be sure the glass is clean, both inside and outside, otherwise you may magnify smudges, lint or dirt streaks. Clean the glass on both sides, if you are able, before taking the photo.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media
Step 5

Attach a rotating polarizing filter to your lens. These filters can help reduce glass glare and reflections. Not all cameras are equipped for using filters, but if yours is, experiment with a polarizer.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media
Step 6

Experiment with these methods. If glass glare is unavoidable, try to make it as small as possible and maneuver the camera so that the glare is in an unobtrusive spot on the photo. Try to edit it out later with photo editing software.

Boris Sevo/Demand Media

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