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How to Control Reflections on Walls Produced by Flashes

Published: 18/08/2017
By: larry

Polina in Florida asks:

How does everyone deal with light reflections on the walls that come from the mirrors or glass doors on the opposite walls and produced when using flash?

Do you control it at the shoot somehow or there is a good trick to edit these big lighter spots on the walls?

There are two primary ways to control reflections and shadows from flashes:

  1. Move the flashes or change their direction.
  2. Shoot an ambient shot and flash shots from the same position and then blend the ambient and flash shot in photoshop.

Which of these approaches you use depends on how much work you are willing to do in post processing.

If you are not familiar with blending flash and ambient layers in Photoshop, see this video tutorial on the subject.

4 comments on “How to Control Reflections on Walls Produced by Flashes”

  1. Chimp your photos before you pick up your camera and look for this problem when you have a mirror or highly reflective surface in the room. Move the flash to a different position, shoot another exposure so you move the problem spot somewhere else and can brush out the blemish using the second frame on another layer in Photoshop.

    If you can get it all done in camera, that's the ideal approach. Sometimes you can't and sometimes you are pushed for time. I remember in one of Scott Hargis' videos he had an entire wall of big windows/sliding doors and was able to put the flash reflection right where it would be fast and simple to clone out.

  2. That's one of the reasons I seldom use flash preferring HDR or working with a RAW image. If you use a studio type flash with modeling lights, the reflections are easier to identify and see what the light will be doing. Even using continuous light sources made for film and video makes it easier to see what is happening. But if all that fails or if you just cannot get the reflections to disappear, Larry and Ken's suggestions are definitely the way to go.

  3. I use a single on camera flash with a lightsphere and I have found you can either spin the flash around and angle it backwards over your head as much as you can or just try to get the reflection into the center of a large plain surface like wall, window pane, shower wall...so that you can use the heal function in lightroom and make it disappear in about 5 seconds. It's the worst when you go into someone's first flip and they have painted the entire interior with semi gloss paint. haha

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