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How to take better photos in a window

Windows may seem clear when you look through them, but when you take a photo, you notice that the glass has a pretty big impact on how things look. There will be reflections, flares and all the rare things that are happening as your brain ignores most – but your camera catches. Let's look at how to take better pictures from windows.

Shots From Inside

Just as it's much easier to check a window from inside than outside, it's much easier to take pictures from within. You will never get a good photograph from outside in unless you deliberately include the reflections in the image. This is a bit of a street photography trope and doing well is not really what we are watching today.

RELATED: How to get good pictures on the street

Instead, we want to minimize reflections when shooting from the house / car / plane / train / phone book instead than vice versa.

If you are in a public place, you probably do not have much control over your environment, so this is "nice if you can do it, do not worry if you can not."

Start by turning off some light inside. The darker the decor, the fewer reflections you need to deal with. In particular, try to turn off the light that lights directly on the window. You will be able to see their reflections if you look closely. If you can not turn off the lights, you can also use your body or a piece of cloth to turn off the camera from the rest of the room.

Take a cloth and some warm soapy water and wash the window, outside and in. Everything that sticks to the window also affects image quality. Again, but you are unlikely to have this option unless you shoot wildlife from your own home. Even a quick drying with the sleeve on your shirt can go a long way.

Get as close as possible

The easiest way to shoot through a window is to get the lens as close to the glass as possible: stir it is ideal. The farther back you are, the more the window will interfere with autofocus and the more likely you are to see some small pieces of dirt or reflection. If you use your smartphone, you literally tap the window.

You can see the difference in the two pictures below. The first one I took on a train as the windows had a single glass of glass with my phone pressed against it.

Pretty good? Now, look at this second shot. This was taken on a plane where there are two glasses of glass about 1/2 inch apart. My phone is pressed right up to the first box, but even the small gap is enough for the other box to burst with the image quality.

Do not shoot in the sun

If you want to take great pictures through a window, the sad fact is that you can not shoot into the sun. Camera lenses use high quality glass and special coatings to minimize lens flare and even though they still get it. Windows lights up like a Christmas tree when the sun hits them.

Of course I ignore all my own advice and you can see in the two closest pictures how, in spite of my best efforts, it's quite a lovely lens flame that destroys Both pictures


It's a shame, without the window in the way, the light in both of these places was beautiful. Perhaps I should have pulled the emergency brake on the train for a get the shot!

Take manual control

If you do not have an incredible conservatory where you can watch birds will swim and eat, it's likely that you mostly try to take a photo through a window you make it from a moving vehicle. This is chaos with your poor camera's auto exposure and even autofocus capabilities. It's just not normal that it goes high laterally.

When the camera's automatic system does not work, it means one thing: one must take manual control. As always, you do not need to control each setting. You just need to make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze all movement. You can do this by using the Shutter Mode or by manually setting aperture and ISO and using aperture priority mode.

RELATED: Freeze or Blur? The two ways to capture motion in photography

If you are using your smartphone, you need to download a third party camera app or activate the Pro Mode on some Samsung phones for manual control. You can not change aperture but you can set shutter speed and ISO.

For iOS, I love Halide Camera ($ 5.99). For Android we recommend Open Camera (free).

When traveling, it's almost impossible to try to catch any shots from the window of which vehicle you are in. Follow these tips and your pictures may actually be useful. Almost all the pictures are from a train trip I took from Chicago to Portland and I'm really pleased with the good ones.

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