Glass is the subject of the next Readers Photo Challenge assignment.

Glass objects are notoriously difficult to photograph. Take time in looking at the subject carefully before taking a picture of it. Unwanted reflections, including your own, can be a problem. Take steps to remove those reflections. If it’s a light, turn it off. Sometimes turning the object or moving your vantage point, even just a little, can cause the reflection to go away.

Lighting glass also can be tricky. You can purchase or even build for yourself what’s called a “light tent” to help. I’ve made my own out of PVC pipe. It can be a box-like frame in which you drape a relatively thin white cloth or paper around. Set your glass object inside it and place lights or flashes outside the fabric. The light passes through, bounces around inside the box and gives a nice even light with minimal reflections.

While unwanted reflections are undesirable, you can sometimes use a reflection to your advantage. Mirrors or even dark glass can be used as a compositional element in your photos by having your subject reflected in them.

You also can approach the assignment like a still life. Glass figurines are acceptable subjects as well as stained glass. You can shoot close-ups of glass baubles or jewelry, too. A glass cup or goblet with wine or other drink also are good objects.

Good light is important, as is placement of your objects against a clean, undistracting background.

How to enter:

1. Email your entries to Type in “Glass” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between Sept. 9 and Sept. 18.

3. Entries are limited to no more than 12 photos from each photographer.

4. Include your first and last name, where you live, the kind of camera /lens you used and where the photo was taken (e.g.: “Photographer: John Doe of Stockton. Location: Victory Park in Stockton. Camera: Canon Rebel T3i w/55-300mm lens”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they’re doing in the picture (e.g: “Janie Doe of Stockton, 15, takes a sip from a water glass at her home in Stockton).

6. Please feel free to add any anecdotes or stories about how and why you took the photo.

7. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, Sept. 18. A photo gallery of all the pictures submitted will be run on Sept. 25 at

There are all sorts of thinks you can shoot that contain glass in them. Windows, mirrors, cups even portraits, but remember, the glass should be the subject of your picture and not necessarily what you can see through it. Just take your time and really look at what you’re taking pictures of and things should go as smooth as glass.


Contact photographer Clifford Oto at (209) 546-8263 or Follow him at