photography tips

Reduce Reflections in Photos With a Cheap, Simple Tool All Pros Use [Photo&Video]

Reducing glare from reflective surfaces using a circular polarizer is simple, with a twist.

Ever notice the bright, white orbs emanating from hardwood floors in pictures? No? Take a look below, but beware, you will no longer be able to look at hardwood floors the same in pictures. 

No circular polarizer has been used to reduce the glare.

a circular polarizer on the lens has been used to cut the reflections down on the floor.

If you have been shooting real estate photography for any amount of time chances are about 100% that you have had to photograph a hardwood floor. Beautiful, but troublesome for a number of reasons. The main one being that they are highly reflective. An easy fix to calm those reflections down is to use a circular polariser. Circular polarizers work by cutting out the glare and reducing reflections on non-metallic surfaces, deepening blue skies and saturating colors. Think polarized sunglasses. The filter allows the effect to be adjusted by twisting it. (see below)

video showing what a circular polarizer can do to reduce unwanted reflections

The video was taken for instruction purposes and you can clearly see the effects of the filter working it's magic. The reason you would want to do this is so you can see the beautiful wood grain that took so long to manufacture. People spend a lot of money on hardwood floors and having them show properly in pictures should be of high importance. Not only does the polarizer cut out reflections on hardwood floors but also on, ceramic tile, granite, marble, windows...basically anything non-metallic. Circular Polarizers are an invaluable and essential tool for landscape photographers, automobile photography, real estate photographers, and product photography. 

no circular polarizer used

polarizer used, no editing in post

example of a circular polarizer being used outside

example of a circular polarizer being used outside

For $38, you can get your basic circular polarizer and start improving your interior and exterior photography of homes, instantly. Amazon has many options for these filters and personally, I wouldn't buy anything cheaper than the one I have listed here. The lesser expensive ones tend to be made out of plastic and not real glass (you don't want that.) My advice is read the reviews. 

video from youtube explaining how and what a circular polarizer is

left to right: no polarizer used, circular polarizer used to darken sky

left to right: no polarizer used, circular polarizer used to darken sky

Polarizing filters can be used in many instances and I find them an invaluable tool in my camera bag. I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you know a photographer who is shooting real estate and has yet to start using a circular polarizer, please share this with them, thanks.