• Shooting through windows

  • Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.
Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

  by RussM
Is there any good solution to the problem of reflections when shooting through the windows of a passenger train ? I was thinking of making some kind of flexible sunshade that could be pressed up against the window, and allow the camera to be angled a bit if needed. Any other ideas ?

  by MEC407
Getting the lens as close as possible to the glass would help, as would the use of a polarizing filter.

  by Mr. Toy
A polarizing filter can only eliminate reflections if the lens is aimed at a 30 degree angle to the glass. But shooting through glass at an angle creates distortion.

When shooting with an SLR, I have had good success with a standard rubber lens shade, which you can place right up to the glass, and is flexible enough to shoot at modest angles.

Shooting in a sightseer lounge gives you awful reflections. Shooting from a private room with the door curtains closed works better. Sometimes you can use reflections to your advantage, such as in this


  by W.E.Coyote
If you can choose where you sit, make sure the window isn't dirty!

Interior lighting can screw up a shot as well. Like others said it's best to get the lens as close to the widow glass as possible.

  by mxdata
I have had pretty good luck shooting through windows by carrying a piece of black construction paper with a hole cut in it over at one side for the lens, then bend it in the middle to make a light blind so you do not get the reflections from the other side of the car, kind of like a one sided lens shade.

If you are using an autofocus camera, some of them pick up the glass as the focus point, so consider turning the autofocus off when shooting through windows. Even the cheap pocket digital cameras usually have a manual focus override, just set the focus point on them out near infinity when shooting through a window.

  by pennsy
Hi All,

The polarizing filter is a good idea. The one I used is somewhat different. I kept the skylight filter on my SLR and angled the shot, or went straight through it . Again, choose a clean window, and don't be afraid to move the camera around until you see exactly what you want.

  by Fred G
I've found that holding the lens right up to the glass (with something protecting it like a UV or clear filter) will result in a clear photo. Keep in mind though, that most train glass has a tint to it, so you'll have to process some color correction into your final image.

Here's an example. Fortunately, this glass isn't heavily tinted.

This was corrected as it was shot through bluish-tinted plexiglas on an overpass, one of the few along the NEC.

As you can see, it's possible to shoot through glass, as long as it's relatively clean and not vandalized (scratchitti).