How To Photograph Glass Without Reflection: User Guide

For many commercial studio shooters, it’s truly difficult to take an ideal photo of glass. Ordinary people without photo skills think that’s impossible. This guide will help you create excellent glass product photography without reflection with incredible ease.

12 Tips to Photograph Glass Without Reflection

The tips below will help you remove reflections from your product photography when working not only in the studio with the professional studio lighting kit but also when photographing at home using DIY photography lighting.

1. Use Backlighting

how to photograph glass without reflections backlighting

Backlighting is one of the best lighting setups for photographing glass. It will help you easily create glass product photography without reflection. You may be sure that it will not produce any unnecessary reflections on an object. If you work in the studio, you can use a softbox or a diffuser behind the glass object to smoothly distribute light. If you already have a diffuser, try to get two diffusion panels to soften the light.

The softbox should have an attached inner baffle for double diffusion. If you want thicker lines, use a narrower softbox/diffuser, and vice versa.

Even if you have the perfect daylight, something might go wrong, and it’s better to have a fall-back light source. You can build a DIY softbox to get the desired effect.

2. Try Sidelighting with Softboxes

how to photograph glass without reflections sidelighting

Backlight is a working solution for taking photos of glass, but it’s not the only one. Backlighting might flatten glass objects when used without additional light sources, which is why it’s better to use side lighting as well. If you place the light on the side of the glass object, you might see a reflection.

In case you see the reflection, you should pay attention to the size and shape of the softbox. The most suitable option is a strip box. It should be long enough to create a reflection through the entire object. In other words, a strip box suitable for a perfume bottle is not good for a bottle of wine. You may use the side lighting as the only source or combine it with backlighting.

3. Clean Up the Images in Photo Enhancement Software

glass photography fixthephoto example glass photography fixthephoto example

If you failed to avoid reflections, spots, or smudges, you can get rid of them using photo editing software, like Photoshop and Lightroom. They have a Clone Stamp tool that allows you to paint over any area in a shot. This way, you can get rid of a reflection or unnecessary object.

Since it’s truly delicate work that requires much time and special skills, I recommend contacting professional services. You will get ideal glass product photography without reflection without spending much time.

4. Clean the Glass and Wear Gloves

The glass surface should be ideally clean. Your camera will capture any dirt or fingerprints. You don’t need any special techniques to check whether your glass object is clean. Just hold it to the light and check.

Otherwise, you will spend a great deal of time improving your glass photographs. There is no need to buy super expensive detergents. Ordinary cleaning fluid and toilet paper will help you handle this issue. However, if you need to remove dust specks, you’d better use compressed air.

To save your time and nerves, work in gloves. This way, you can avoid unnecessary stains and fingerprints. Plus, choose gloves that don’t leave unwanted particles. I suggest working in black gloves. If you wear black clothes and black gloves, you become a part of the background and reduce your own reflection.

5. Switch Angles

how to photograph glass without reflections angles

If you want to produce glass product photography without reflection, pay attention to the angles. Remember that the angle of incidence should be equal to the angle of reflection. If the sunlight comes toward a 30-degree angle, it will reflect and bounce off the surface at the same angle. Thus, you should move away from the path of reflection.

The most effective way to get rid of reflections is to experiment. Try different angles and you will find an ideal position to minimize reflections. This way, you can implement various product photography ideas.

6. Use Black Background for Low Key Results

how to photograph glass without reflections black background

Although there are plenty of creative and catchy product photography backdrops, a glassware photo should feature a black background. It’s perfect for low key photography where only the glass edges are highlighted. What’s more, black backgrounds always look expensive and elegant.

However, for glass product photography without reflection, you should use backlighting. Here, everything is truly simple. Place a glass object in front of the softbox and put the black cardboard between the glassware and the softbox. The light coming from the sides will make the edges look white.

7. Make the Glass Opaque

To capture photos of products without reflections, you can make the material opaque. Just use one of the most popular food photography tricks and frost the glass. For example, if you put a beer bottle in the freezer for several hours, it will get a frost finishing. This way, you will get the effect ideally suitable for your shooting.

Mind that this method is not suitable for such objects as a bottle of red wine or eyeglasses. People don’t wear glasses after freezing them. However, you can use professional sprays that will help you achieve this effect. If you have time and desire, you can experiment with DIY options. For instance, you may try using drink photography tricks, like hair sprays, spray deodorants, etc.

8. Create a Fake Mirror Effect

how to photograph glass without reflections fake mirror effect

If you want to achieve a mirror effect in the frame, put a glass object on the glass surface that will reflect it. Of course, the surface should be ideally clean without any dust particles.

There shouldn’t be any unwanted reflections on the glass surface. You can simply turn the object upside down and then place another one on the top. This way, you will avoid reflections and define edges. In addition, you can use free reflection Photoshop actions to quickly create the necessary effect.

9. Use a Long Focal Length Lens

how to photograph glass without reflections long focal length lens

When trying to create glass product photography without reflection, pay attention to your own reflection on the object. To avoid it, use long focal length, like 70-200mm lenses and step away from the subject. When working with the long focal lens, you can use a smaller background.

Such lenses compress the space, so the camera captures less space behind the object. If you still don’t have such gear, find the most suitable solution for glass product photography. For instance, you can buy the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 for an affordable price. In case you are looking for something more expensive, opt for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L.

10. Use a Polarizing Filter

how to photograph glass without reflections polarizing filter

If you are interested in glass product photography, it’s better to get a good polarizing filter. It is a thin pane of glass attached to the front of the lens.

The filter reduces glare from reflected surfaces. Thanks to the special glass, such filters can reduce glare when turned at an angle to the light.

11. Try a Lens Hood

how to photograph glass without reflections lens hood

Lens hoods can be attached to the front of the lens to block light sources. This way, you can avoid glare, lens flare, and even reflections.

In case you shoot through the glass, a lens hood is a must-have for you. When you press the camera to the glass subject or glass window, you can block out numerous reflections.

12. Use Black Foam Board or Black Reflector to Block Light

To create glass product photography without reflection, you can also use a black foam core board to get better pics. Make a peephole for the lens and shoot through it. That way the reflection will be of the black surface with a small round hole or without it at all. In case it shows up in the photo, you can remove it using image editors.

In addition, you can work with the reflector board or any black object. For instance, you can use a bag to block the light from your watch. It is a helpful tip for those who want to learn how to photograph watches.

Bonus Tools

bonus tools for glass photography

Now that you know how to take photos of glass objects without reflections, save your time by using these presets to enhance your pictures. With them, you can improve colors, color balance, and contrast to make your photographs more beautiful in a few minutes.