Tag Archives: remove

How to remove reflections from a glass case

Reflections are normally a very nice thing to have in a picture. They can add quite a bit of visual interest to an image with colors, textures and shapes. But, you do not always want a reflection. For example, I was the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford taking some pictures and I want a very close up detail shot of some engravings on a musical instrument. The problem was that while I could shoot the instrument with my G11, it was encased in glass and the ambient light made for horrible reflections and I could not find any position to get rid of them.

You can see the reflections in the image below. This is the unaltered image straight from the G11

Reflections before edits

So now I have image loaded into Lightroom and I’m really wondering what I can do about the reflections. I’m looking at the image and it dawns on me that I might be able to “paint” the reflections out by using a couple of techniques. I mean, the reflections really do not lose the subject underneath, they have just “faded” it a bit.

With that thought in mind, I first applied a graduated filter to the right side to bring down the exposure a bit. I started at the lower right corner and went at roughly a 45 degree angle. I flipped the image to B/W by a simple desaturation of the colors. I brought up the black point a bit overall and also brought the whites.

Things were looking better but not perfect yet. So into Photoshop we go from Lightroom. Once in CS4, I added an exposure layer and darkened up the gamma a touch. This brought the transparent blacks from the reflection more in line with the normal blacks in the rest of the image. I put a layer mask on it and used my Wacom to brush out the adjustment on the whites leaving the blacks nice and dark. As a final enhancement, I applied a high pass filter to the image and put the opacity at 70%,

The results of all this mucking around is shown below. No reflections, nice clean whites and the details of the engravings are easily seen.

After Edits

I now have my reflectionless picture with the clear detail I wanted. The best part is that even just feeling my way around only took about 30 minutes to clean up this image. Next time it will go faster since I already have a good set of steps to draw from.

Some of you will be saying that I did not keep the color, yes, you are correct. The original art is black and white so I did not “need” color, I needed black and white. This trick will be somewhat selective in how you can use but the basic idea transfer even if the image really is in color.

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