Avoiding Water Reflections in Your Photos

Water reflections are often a GOOD thing in photography.

I love the reflections on streets and in puddles after it rains.

A reflection in a water drop is a “classic” macro shot.

But, sometimes water reflections are a bad thing.

For instance, here’s a “first try” shot of a starfish in a tidepool.

The starfish itself is nice, but the water reflection causes a hazy, faded, look.

In this case, the water reflection is a bad thing – creating glare.

(It can also be a bad thing when shooting streams or lakes when you want the camera to see through the water.)

Luckily, there’s an easy (and not very expensive) fix to this problem.

 Click on photo to purchase, or view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

A CPL (circular polarizer filter) cuts right through water reflections and glare.

I always have one in my bag because there are so many uses for them.

In the above situation, it made a world of difference in getting a good shot of the starfish.

I wrote about the many uses for polarizers not that long ago.

Sometimes I refer to my polarizer filter as my “glare-be-gone” filter.

(Yes, the work great on window/glass reflections also.)

If you want to go back and read my original post on Circular Polarizing Filters you can find it here.

If you’re interested in my thoughts on CPL recommendations, I’ve copied just that portion of my previous post for you:

I use a Lee Circular Polarizer ($300) primarily.  Lee Filters, however, are often very difficult to find.  Photographers often wait six months or longer to get them.  In addition, a Lee CPL is expensive and requires an additional adaptor ring ($52), foundation kit, etc. I’m a huge fan of Lee Filters, but I realize they can be cost prohibitive for people who aren’t primarily landscape photographers.

I also use a B+W CPL ($144.95) and I’ve always been very happy with the results.  The cost is substantially less than buying an entire Lee system, and all you need is the filter itself – no adaptor or accessories.

When I first started using a CPL I used a Hoya  ($45.90).  The Hoya CPL doesn’t require any accessories.  In my opinion, the quality of the Hoya is not as high as the CPL made by B+W.  However, if you’re a casual amateur photographer it’s fine.

2 Responses to “Avoiding Water Reflections in Your Photos”

  1. Kari

    I know this is not ideal, but, could you get somewhat the same effect when using photoshop?


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