Sometimes you just find yourself in a very very tall building looking out at an amazing scenario that you would love to capture and there is glass between you and that scene. Now while that is a good thing especially if like in this image you are on the 35th floor of a building – don’t want any windows opening on you right then – it might cause you to think that you can’t get that shot. But you can with a few simple tips and some patience and hopefully a big enough window to work with. These tips will work whether you are shooting from the inside out or from the outside in.
1. Find the cleanest spot to shoot through. That might mean you have to move around a bit for the shot or if shooting from the outside in, you grab the glass cleaner and clean away. Make sure the window is yours to clean before you do that though. Sometimes that works and sometimes you will have some glare, reflection, or dirt spots. Think of it as interesting noise on the image; work with it to your advantage. Also when shooting from the outside in you may have to back up some to frame the shot better.
2. Using a polarizing filter can help with light reflecting off the glass but sometimes even with this you may have to shoot from an angle to cut the reflection down or out. Move the lens from straight on to different angles to see what works best for you to lessen the reflections or again work with it and use the reflections as part of your composition.
3. I always shoot with my lens hood on to further cut down on glare/reflection as well as to prevent me from accidentally banging my lens against the glass. Some have suggested using a rubber lens hood which being more flexible than the hard plastic ones will help to block out extraneous light and glare.
4. Turn off/don’t use flash. It’s not going to work.
5. Use manual focus so you can compose the shot the way you want. I will admit to sometimes just letting the auto focus do it’s thing but there are times when only manual will do in order to give you the image you have in mind.
(If you look directly to the left of the tall rectangular building you can see a bit of the Freedom Tower)