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Learn how to use Lightroom with these tips on file management, preset application, and editing techniques for real estate photography.

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How to Remove Glare in Lightroom

Published: 26/04/2021

When photographing for real estate, we often get the annoying issue of glare in photos. Either there is sunlight or water glare in exterior photos or surface reflection glare in interior photos that need to be fixed. Learning how to remove glare in Lightroom Classic can significantly improve your photos.

It is common to get unsightly glare in photos that include reflective surfaces like water, glass, metal, shiny wood, or ceramic. Either it is the sunlight, bright lighting, or even your camera’s flash that causes glare.

How to Remove Glare in Lightroom Using Two Methods

Ace photographers use several techniques like polarizing filters, lens shades, and creative camera positions to avoid glare in their images. Sometimes, using a faster shutter speed also works quite well. However, if you still face the issue after taking care of those things, it’s time to hand it over to Lightroom Classic.

Glare from glass, water, sunlight, or the reflecting surface glare is very easy to remove using various tools in Lightroom. The editing software has layer mask features that help you target specific areas with the glare. In fact, you can bring global changes to the image to enhance its overall look. 

Here, we are using two images, one of an exterior view and another one from the interior of a room during daylight. We will explain how you can remove glare using the Adjustment Brush and Radial Filter in Lightroom. 

Removing Glare With the Help of Adjustment Brush

The Adjustment Brush is one of the pillars in editing images in Lightroom. The tool allows us to mask a particular area and work on it without affecting the whole image. This functionality is exactly what we need when reducing the wooden surface glare from the image of this living room.

Example of interior image with glare

You can see that the shiny wood floor and the dining table surface are way too shiny. We can reduce this glare and bring noticeable improvement to the image.

  1. Select the image from the Library panel in Lightroom Classic CC.
  2. Go to the Develop Module.
  3. Click on the Adjustment Brush tool. It can be found below the Histogram on the extreme right.
  4. From the Effects drop-down, click on Dehaze
  5. Now choose the size of the brush. We kept a size of 4.4 for masking the floor, but you may need to reduce it while working on smaller areas. 
  6. Increase the Feather and Flow to 100.
  7. Now, you need to paint the glared area, which in our case is the floor and dining tabletop. 
Removing glare with the help of Adjustment Brush
  1. Turn on the overlay by pressing O so that you can see where the mask is being applied.
  2. If you mistakenly mask a section that does not require editing, you can turn on the Erase brush and remove the mask from those sections.
  3. Once you have masked the area with glare, turn off the overlay by pressing O and increase the Dehaze slider a bit. 
  4. Bring up the Clarity and Whites
  5. Next, adjust the Exposure to lessen the brightness. 
  6. Bring down the Blacks and Shadows, and increase the Whites to bring out the details. 
Adjustment Brush tool in Lightroom

You can see how the glare is significantly reduced without compromising on the image quality.

Reduced glare in photo without compromising on the image quality

Removing Glare Using Radial Filter

If all your efforts to reduce glare in photos don't work, and you are still getting a bright glare due to sunlight in your exterior real estate images, here is how to rectify it.

Removing glare using Radial Filter
  1. Select the Radial Filter tool found beside the Adjustment Brush. This tool lets you create an elliptical around a specific area in which you can apply edits.
  2. Create the filter around the area where sunlight is reflecting. 
Creating the filter around the area where sunlight is reflecting
  1. From the Effects drop-down in the Radial Filter, select Dehaze.
  2. Make sure to turn on the Invert mask. 
  3. Now, there are a lot of changes you can make, but the most important ones are to increase the Dehaze and Clarity. Bring these up until there is a noticeable reduction in glare.
Editing Dehaze and Clarity sliders in Lightroom
  1. We managed to edit our image using only these two sliders. You can carry on to adjust other sliders as per your editing requirements and the amount of glare present in the photo.
Example of exterior shot before reducing glare in Lightroom
Example of exterior shot after reducing glare in Lightroom

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do We Get Glare in Real Estate Photos?

Getting a glare from a reflective surface is a common photography problem. Light sources like the sun and interior lighting can reflect back from shiny surfaces like glass or metal, causing a bright glare which affects the image quality.

Sometimes, the glare is so bright that it masks important aspects of a real estate photo, like an exterior portion of a house or a focused area in indoor photos. To make the important details clear, you need to use feature-packed editing software like Lightroom to remove the glare. 

What Other Tools Can We Use to Remove Glare from Photos in Lightroom?

There are two more tools that can be used to reduce glare in Lightroom. You can either use the Graduated Filter to apply changes to a range in a photo. Alternatively, you can use the Spot Removal tool to remove glare by cloning a part of the image that matches the glared section. 

Using the Spot Removal tool is perfected over time, but it is one of the best tools to adjust the glare issue in a small area of the image. You need to take care of the fact that the clone tool doesn’t show sharp lines that look unnatural.

Conclusion

If any of your images end up with a glare that causes a drop in quality, it is very easy to tackle it in Lightroom. You can use the Adjustment Brush, the Radial Filter, or the Graduated Filter to reduce the glare, or use the Spot Removal tool to clone an unaffected area over the glare.

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