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Reflections and glare issues can be extremely problematic for mobile photographers. While it’s helpful to have an ample amount of light, it can be challenging if it’s misdirected during a shoot. Most mobile photography experts can personally attest to the downside of these issues. So, is there an upside?
Amateur photographer John Mackesy recently noted this problem in an interview for the Press Democrat. Mackesy, who now has an art exhibit featuring his nature photography, used to contend with screen glare on his phone.
“I was lucky to get one good shot out of 500,” he told the Press Democrat.
Mackesy faced a common problem that many mobile photographers run into while shooting. As he held his subject (in this case, a flower) in place, it was difficult to keep his mobile phone steady as he captured photos. Glare would make it tougher for him to verify that his phone camera was on-point before shooting.
He eventually upgraded to a camera with a macro lens, which made it easier to capture the fine details of the great outdoors – but what about those who want to stick with just their smartphone with no added accessories?
One of the easiest ways you can eliminate glare and reflections in your mobile photography is by trying to shoot from a different angle. This can direct the light elsewhere in your shot and ensure that the subject remains the focal point. Don’t shoot straight into the sun on a sunny day or you’ll get a photo like this:
In some cases, it might be worth waiting to shoot until another day. The time of day – particularly when conducting an outdoor mobile photography session – can play a big role in how light impacts your images. Be mindful of the skies above you as well.
“When it comes to reducing glare, clouds are your friend,” says David Peterson, creator of Digital Photo Secrets. “They distribute the light more evenly across a scene, eliminating the intensity that often results in glare.”
Experimenting with your mobile photography is a lengthy process, but doing so may help you overcome issues with glare or reflections. In addition to trying new angles and different times of day, make it a point to take a large number of mobile photos. Burst Mode on the iPhone can be helpful as you look to capture several images in a short period of time.
The goal is to end up with at least one image that is not negatively impacted by glare of reflections. Multiple mobile images taken from different angles can prove to be a worthwhile experiment.
“Camera phones are particularly good for experimenting with new angles and perspectives – shoot from down low, up high, close up etc. and you’ll end up with interesting and fun shots,” notes Darren Rowse, editor and founder of Digital Photography School.
Of course, there are editing tools you can use to reduce the impact of glare or reflections in your mobile photography after you’re finished shooting. The Enlight app can help you tweak the colors, lighting, and structure of your images to ensure that the final product turns out perfectly. Such apps can allow you to get creative if the glare prohibits you from taking the kind of photo you originally wanted.
Sometimes a little extra lighting doesn’t hurt! A burst of illumination can give your mobile photography more drama and intrigue. You may find that a little glare or reflection on your subject or scene may add an artistic twist you hadn’t planned on, but end up loving.