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Removing Glares from a Shiny Surface using Photoshop

Do you know what the #1 asset you must have as a Composite Photographer is? The one thing that if you don’t have, you’ll be an average Compositor at best?

Today, I’m going to show you a super quick way to knock down those pesky glares using our favorite tool, Photoshop.

Many Composite Photographers, when they start out, myself included, think you have to be perfect, and while there is something to be said for mastering your craft, it’s not about being perfect.

Composite Photography is about convincing your audience that the story you’re telling could really happen.

Let’s get to it, and knock down a shiny surface.

Where the Eye Goes

It’s commonly suggested the eye goes to the brightest object in a photo, so as Composite Photographers dealing with building worlds out of multiple images, it’s important we pay attention.

BTW, while it’s commonly suggested the eye goes to the brightest object, this doesn’t always hold true.

One of the problems I have with the Photography Industry is all the RULES they’ve come up with, which does nothing more than make everyone play in the same sandbox.

What ever happened to CREATIVITY?

brightest areas of a photo composite created by composite photographer jason ulsrud

It’s true, the eye does tend to go to the areas that are brightest within an image, but what if you were to use those areas of brightness to draw your attention to an object?

In the Creative Portrait above, I used the brighter areas in the image to frame my subjects and hold the eye on the page. In essence, I’m controlling what your eye is doing by strategically placing areas of brightness throughout the image.

The Photographic Critics, however, would ding this for being too confusing.

When to Remove a Shiny Glare

Ok, so we’ve talked about the creative use of White Space, or Bright Space, now let’s look at getting rid of irritating Bright Spots within your images.

You may be wondering, “How do I know if a Bright area is good or bad?”

The best answer to that question is, “You just know!” When I’m working on a Composite, I don’t THINK about all these rules and whether something is right or not, I go by how I FEEL.

If an image FEELS right to me, I know I’m going in the right direction, and if an image causes me to have ANXIETY, I know I’m going in the wrong direction.

Creativity IS NOT about a bunch of technical rules a bunch of people subjectively have placed on our Photographic medium.

Creativity IS about Expression and Freedom, and allowing yourself to FEEL through the images you’re making.

I chose to REMOVE the shiny clock face from this Uniquely Different Portrait because it bothered me. Was it distracting? Yes, but I didn’t go by a bunch of technical rules to figure that out, I innately felt that, and did something about it.

That’s a Wrap

Too often we get all wrapped up in the technical rules of Photography and why things should or shouldn’t be the way they are. Pretending others know more about our Creative Expression than we ourselves.

To quote a friend of mine, “Just stop shoulding all over me!”

Oh, and the #1 asset you have as a Composite Photographer? It’s your ability to Solve Problems on the go. Especially when you’re dealing with clients, you MUST be able to quickly and efficiently Solve Problems.

STOP listening to all the Photography Critics telling you what your image should be, and start Creating and Feeling your Expression.

Comments (2)

I didn’t think the clock distracted from anything. You’ve actually brought attention to it now by making a dark blob. But, that’s me. Other people could it see it differently. :>)

Appreciate your comment Steve. Art is a very subjective thing, so it’s not unusual for people to like and not like various things about my Portraits. Especially when they incorporate as many different images as my Composites do. That said, however, had I not created a video showing photographers how to tone down a glare on shiny surfaces, it’s likely nobody would have noticed either way.

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