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6.3: Flash Glare

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    This lesson will help you learn and practice avoiding Flash Glare. In Get the Basics, you'll get explanations and photos to build understanding. In Explore, you'll find additional online resources to learn more. It's important to review and learn from these resources also! You'll have opportunities to practice in Build Your Skills. Finally, answer the questions in Record Your Findings at the end of this topic. Be sure to include information you learned from the Explore resources.

    Get the Basics

    Using flash can have an unwanted effect. Since light bounces off reflective surfaces, shooting with flash toward a window, mirror, or other reflective surface can produce a flash glare - also referred to as flash flare. A flash glare is bright spot of light bounced back from a reflective surface. It happens when the flash is bounced directly back to the camera.

    1. Here's an example where the flash glare interferes with seeing a painting.

    flash flare from a painting

    2. In another example, the flash glare distracts the eye from the subjects of a photo.

    flash flare distracting from the woman and child

    One way to avoid this effect is to move the camera so that it is at a slight angle to the reflective surface. That way, the light of the flash can't bounce directly back at the camera. If you are shooting a photo of a person with glasses, try tilting the glasses down slightly to change the angle of reflection.


    Learn more about angle of reflection, flash glare, and how to avoid it at Reducing Flash Glare from Archive of Photography Tips:

    Learn about avoiding flash glare when photographing people with glasses (You can apply many of these tips to other situations as well.) at 10+ Tips for Photographing People in Glasses and Avoiding Glare from MCP Photography Blog:

    Build Your Skills

    To practice avoiding flash glare, you're going to shoot four sets of two photos. Choose a dimly-lit situation for each set, and make sure that your digital camera's flash is on. For the first photo in each set, shoot directly at a reflective surface. For the second photo in each set, change the angle to avoid the flash glare effect.

    Review your flash glare photos. Select one set of photos that best demonstrates flash glare and how to correct it. Share your photos with your teacher, and be prepared to discuss how they show what you’ve learned. Download your photos to a computer to keep them for the portfolio you’ll create in the end-of-course final project.

    Record Your Findings

    • What happens if you shoot a photo using flash, and there is a reflective surface in the background?
    • How can you avoid the flash glare effect?
    • For your selected set of photos, describe why the first resulted in a flash glare and how you corrected it in the second.


    Image Reference Attributions

    [Figure 1]

    Credit: Expectmohr; May 25, 2008

    [Figure 2]

    Credit: Zsolt Botykai; January 10, 2008

    This page titled 6.3: Flash Glare is shared under a CK-12 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by CK-12 Foundation via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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