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Taking Flash Photos With No Glare

Updated on June 3, 2011

We've all done it - taken that 'perfect' flash photo, only to discover a bright glare spot that ruins the picture once it's downloaded into our photo program. What to do?

The traditional methods to avoid glare include a) using a lens with a lower rating to avoid the flash entirely (not always a perfect or inexpensive solution), or b) buying an external flash unit for several hundred dollars, plus a diffuser for another $50 or so.

I bought a prime (fixed) lens rated at 1.8 and used it with limited results (it still doesn't give you optimal lighting conditions, the lens [not you] chooses the distance from the subject, and it cost me about a hundred bucks. I refused to pay a lot for an external flash unit and diffuser, and wanted to avoid lugging one more piece of equipment Iaround that I had to attach to my camera (which isn't even allowed in some instances - museums e.g.)

So I thought, there must be a simple solution. I asked myself, why don't camera manufacturers make built-in flash units that don't produce glare (or make small diffusers that attach to built-ins?

And then it came to me, the perfect solution. I tried it . . . and, lo and behold, it works! Here's what I did. You can do it too!

Cut a small piece of lightweight pellon just large enough to cover the surface of your built-in flash unit. (Pellon is a backing used in sewing; don't get the diffusable or iron-on kind!) Then, using two-sided removable tape (I got mine at a frame shop), attach the pellon to the flash unit.

After that, just get busy taking flash photos with no glare (in extreme cases - shooting directly at glass or polished furniture surfaces- you need to take pictures at a slight angle (either vertically or horizontally). All it will cost you is a couple of dollars for the pellon and tape (in my case, I got the pellon free from my wife, who works with fabric and weaving [cf.]

Recently I photographed more than sixty sets of glassware we want to sell, using this technique with near perfect results. As proof, examine the photos shown here. Then try this suggested solution yourself - free of charge!

Glare-free photography


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