Using Polarizing Filters to Remove Glare for Portrait Photography

A polarizing filter comes in handy for removing glare in practically every shooting situation, including portrait photography. Here’s a quick video showing how.

We’ve all heard about using a polarizing filter for landscape photography, but what about portrait photography? In their quick but informative video,  give a rundown of all the wonderful things you can do with a polarizing filter, including for portrait photography. If that’s something you’ve had questions about, they have the answers for you.

There are actually many applications for the polarizing filter, as they noted in the video introduction. Most likely the only filter with an effect that cannot be simulated in Photoshop, it makes the sky darker and more saturated, removes the glare on reflective surfaces like glass, water, and even foliage. It was valuable during the film days but not so much today, as some may argue. But if you’d rather achieve correct exposure in-camera, the polarizing filter remains a must-have for landscape and still life photography. But what about portraits? It’s not often talked about so the Koldunov Brothers decided to put together the video below.

So, the quick answer is yes, you can use a polarizing filter when shooting portraits. It will help take out glare on your subject’s face and make the pores and wrinkles less visible. That should come in handy if you want to achieve smoother skin so there will be less retouching for you to do later (if that’s part of your workflow). However, it will also reduce the contrast of the photo and the volume of the face, and even take out some of the catch light from the eyes (especially if you use ring lights), so make sure to use it with care!

Want to learn more? Do check out this other tutorial for using polarizing filters, as well as this quick lens filter cheat sheet on how to use other lens filters available out there.

Don’t forget to head to the Koldunov Brothers’ YouTube channel for more of their photography tips, tricks, and tutorials.


Screenshot image from the video