I love photographing people with glasses, and it drives me nuts. Glasses are an easy prop to work with, and when you know how to photograph people with glasses, it’s no problem. See this article for how to photograph glasses without glare. And check out this one, too.
Glare can be okay …
But sometimes there’s glare — maybe it’s a group portrait and not everyone moved their heads the right way, or maybe you’re trying to use the glare as an effect in the picture. In this example, I liked the reflection of the light because it’s the brightest thing and focusses attention at his eyes.
… but why is it purple?
You’ll find varying kinds and colors of glare depending on the quality (cost) of your subject’s lenses and the way the glare is made. Most frequently, I find purple and/or green are the problem colors in glasses glare. I don’t know why it’s purple or green, and if I did I wouldn’t spend my word count explaining it here. I just want to show you three ways to fix it.
1. Desaturate the color channel
This is my favorite way to remove that colored glare. Go to the color channel tool in your editor; I’m using Luminar. It might be called HSL/Color, as it is in Lightroom.
In Luminar, go to the Color tool and expand the Advanced Settings menu. Click on each color that you need to desaturate. I chose the purple, the magenta and the aqua. These three are the usual culprits in glasses glare. Then just move the Saturation slider for each color to the left.
Wait a minute: That desaturates ALL the colors that fall under those sliders, not just the glasses! That’s right. You need to click Edit Mask and choose the brush and paint only the areas you want to desaturate. That way the clothes and other items won’t be affected.
Play with differing levels of saturation, but for me this method works most of the time.
2. Add the opposite color
Occasionally, the above method may not work because there is color behind the glare that is affected. A curious thing is that adding the opposite of a color has the effect of desaturating it. In this case, adding green to the purple makes it less purple. Obviously, you could add too much and make it too green. Don’t do that :D
In the Pro tools, choose the Color Enhancer and expand the Advanced Settings. Click the Highlights tab, then slide the Magenta-Green slider to the right. Edit the mask and paint only the areas that need it.
This works well, too, but you have to be more precise with the brush since you’re adding color.
3. Add color a different way
Another way to add the opposite color is to use the Split Toning tool. Choose a Hue that is approximately opposite the color you need to remove. You can adjust the hue later to dial it in perfectly. Increase the Amount and Saturation sliders to taste. In this case, Saturation is talking about the saturation of the color you’re adding.
Similar to #2, you’ll have to be more precise with your brushwork. However, if you are trying different methods, you can right-click on the layer mask icon next to the tool name and copy the mask then paste it on another tool so you don’t have to brush over and over on the same areas.
There are many ways to do the same things in photofinishing. These three are methods I’ve used. I like them all because they offer me a different way, and thinking about different things and mastering more tools makes me more creative. Give this a shot next time you have colorful glare and see if it doesn’t help salvage your photo.
Portrait Tips come out each week, and you can see them all right here.