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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   4 min read

When traveling by bus, plane, or even by car, the hours spent looking out the window at the passing landscapes can be long. But, of course, these hours are part of the journey, and you may see some pretty extraordinary sights from the comfort of your own seat. We will share some tips and tell you how to take kick ass photos from your window. 

There’s one major problem with taking photos whilst sitting on a train, bus or car and that is the GLASS. Yes, the glass is there, palpable, it is between you and your subject. So how do you get around this little problem? Here are our tips on how to take the best photos through a window.

Use the glass as the subject of your photo

Using the glass as the subject of your photo is genius, for one, it can enrich the composition of your shot and two, it will appear as though you wanted the glass there and it’s not really a massive inconvenience (which it actually is).

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The background of the photo will blur which will result in a really cool effect.
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Reflections: delete reflections or play with them? 

Option n°1 : remove glare 

3 tips to remove or reduce glare:

1. Put your lends directly on the glass 

To avoid reflection rest your lens directly against the window

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NB. This technique is not recommended if you are on a moving vehicle though, because instead of stabilizing the camera, vehicle vibrations increase the risk of blurring. Tip: use a sun visor (the soft rubber part) to avoid direct contact with the glass and absorb the vibrations.

2. Create a dark area around your object

For this, you can drape a black cloth around the lens to create a dark room. You will need the help of someone to take the cloth.

You can also replicate a dark room with homemade black cardboard, cut a little hole the size of the lens and then tape it to the device.

3. The polarizing filter 

To add more saturation and reduce the effect of unwanted reflections, nothing works better than the polarizing filter. This filter, streaked with many LPs, prevents some light rays entering the lens and reflect.

This filter, which masks reflections, also has the effect of changing colors as it reduces the over contrast of the image.

If you use a filter, don’t stick the device to the window and instead tilt it slightly away.polarizing filter plane

A polarizing filter by airplane window

Option n°2 : play with reflections 

Despite all this good advice you might just not be able to eliminate the glare. In that case, embrace the problem and use it as a part of your photo.

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bus window costa rica

Another trick is to stand against the window and tilt your device 40 degrees, and don’t forget to turn off the flash.

If you do decide to take the photo up against the glass it will become difficult to focus your image. Our advice: remove autofocus and switch it to manual focus. This way you can easily find your ideal setting.

Flash needed?

If the flash is needed you should point it upwards, or if you can, downright to indirectly illuminate the subject.

L'erreur classique...
Common mistake 

Plane shot

> If you choose your seat on the plane with the intention of taking an amazing plane photo then avoid having the wing in the middle of your photo.

> Try take photos at the beginning or the end of your flight, to avoid frost on the window.

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Special tips for bus, train and car

Taking photos during long journeys is a good way to pass the time, but moving subjects can be difficult.

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Time is of the essence when you are shooting in a moving vehicle. Don’t waste time setting up the shot, instead just fire away. There is more chance of finding a masterpiece when you have a collection of 20 photos to choose from.

Photos :  A damp, dark idiotaro par Sean Murray, Through the window, Windhoek-Keetmanshoop train, Namibia par jbdodane, Double rainbow through the bus window. par victoriaporter (here – always behind), 23/365 Through the Window par Julia Taylor, Through the bus window par Vladimir Agafonkin, Through The Bus Window 3 par Adam Hilliker, Through the Bus Front Window par Nano Anderson, Clouds from aeroplane par Erwyn van der Meer, You’d think I’d be smarter… par danisabella, Through the mirror par Emily Reef, Ice Crystals on plane window par Kathy / Flickr cc.

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