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Brush Out Glare in Photoshop to Improve Photographic Images - by Philip Cohen

Eliminate Glare in Photographic Images with Digital Magic - A Photographic Tutorial by Philip Cohen

Philip Cohen, my photographer (for the past 23 years), has prepared a tutorial for photographing objects with highly reflective surfaces. Reflective surfaces often have a problem because the lighting source is reflected back as a white highlight which obscures color and details.  Shooting glass objects is particularly problematic for exactly this reason.

Image. 1
In this photograph of a plate by Malcolm Nicoll, a glare spot appears regardless of where the photographer places the source light. 

Plate Demo_A_2
Image 2.
So a clever photographer shoots two images -- one with the reflected light in one position, then moving the light to get the highlight in a different location in the second photo.

Plate_Demo_A_1 Plate Demo_A_2Image 1 and Image 2
Side by side comparison of the two photos. Notice how the highlight is in a different location.

When using this technique, do not move the camera or the object.

Move ONLY the lights.

Image 3.
This is a close-up view of the reflected highlight.

In Photoshop, both shots can be merged as layers. Then mask the top image so that a good area from the bottom layer fills in the glare spot.

Image 4.
Use Photoshop to make digital magic. This technique was simply not available in the film era.

Image 5.

Close-up view as the highlight disappears.

Image 6.
The perfect photographic image. No highlights obscure the details or colors. This technique could work for any highly reflective surface.

Thank you Philip Cohen for providing this step-by-step example for eliminating glare in photographic images using Photoshop. This is the 3rd tutorial on ASK Harriete by Philip Cohen.

Previous photographic tutorials by Philip Cohen on ASK Harriete:

Lighting Shiny Surfaces for Quality Photographic Images” by Philip Cohen

Photographing Your Artwork? Bounce Cards Add Light and Fill in Deep Shadows

Special thanks to Malcolm Nicoll who allowed his work to be featured in this post on ASK Harriete. 

This post was updated on February 16, 2022.