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How to Remove the Reflection From a Glass in Photoshop

Updated March 23, 2017

Glass is a highly reflective surface and often the cause of a ruined photo. Glass can reflect flashes, distracting background images or even the photographer himself and draw the viewer's eye away from the subject and toward the reflection. While there are some techniques photographers can use to minimise reflections, photo editors have Photoshop tools that they use to remove reflections from glass even after the photograph has been taken. Using the Levels and Clone Stamp tools, distracting reflections can be removed so that a clearer, more professional looking photo remains.

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  1. Open the photograph you wish to remove the reflections from in Photoshop by clicking on the "File" menu and choosing "Open." Navigate to the image file, highlight it and click "Open."

  2. Choose the Lasso tool from the toolbox or press "L" on your keyboard.

  3. Trace around the reflection carefully with the Lasso tool to make a selection around the reflection. If you accidentally select too much, subtract from the selection by holding down the "Alt" key (or "Option" key in Mac OS X) and tracing around the additional area with the Lasso tool. If you select too little, add to the selection by holding down the "Shift" key and tracing around the missing area.

  4. Open the "Levels" window by clicking on the "Image" menu and choosing "Adjustments" and then "Levels." Drag the left black triangle to the right until the reflection begins to fade. Continue to manipulate the slider until the reflection has minimised, and click "OK."

  5. Zoom in on the reflection by choosing the Magnifying Glass tool and clicking on the reflection. Each click will zoom in closer to the image. Zoom to about 500 per cent.

  6. Click the Clone Stamp tool. While holding down "Alt" ("Option" on Mac OS X), click an area of the image that matches the colour of the area behind the reflection in the glass. This will tell the Clone Stamp tool to sample (copy the pixels) from the area you selected so that you may use them to paint over the reflection.

  7. Paint over the reflection by clicking and dragging your cursor over the reflection. The clone stamp tool will copy the pixels from your sampled area and paste them over the reflection. If the pixels do not match exactly, undo the change by selecting "Undo" from the "Edit" menu. You may need to resample a number of times until you find an area that matches perfectly.

  8. Tip

    Avoid reflections in your photographs by using a polarising filter over your lens.


    This process is destructive, which means it will permanently alter your image. Do not overwrite your original file, as you will not be able to undo the changes you have made.

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About the Author

Brian Richards

Brian Richards is an attorney whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer since 2008. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California, San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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