The Horror of Sunglasses


The Horror of Sunglasses

 Sunglasses in images are not always cool, usually used as an inappropriate sun glare solution but can be brilliant in specific situations. There are places where they should never be used. So here is a road map with solutions.

 Sunglasses are usually reached for when the sun is hitting your subject’s eyes. Often they just reach into their bag pulling out what they have to solve the painful squints. They are rarely fashionable or stylish enough to become a style statement.

 You should never shoot sunglasses, no matter how fashionable, for an image that is being crafted for professional social media sites like LinkedIn. It defeats your subject’s purpose of the profile image. Unless of course, limited visibility to who the person is is desired.

 Falling into this sunglass horror grouping are transitional glasses. Aimed at bright light they become sunglasses. No windows to the soul are visible.

 There are a few places they work brilliantly: hitman- tough guy/girl stuff; spy shoots; fun stuff like a wedding party or family, all (not just a couple) in glasses doing something fun or goofy. So basically high end fashion or fine art statement images or intentional funky portraits.


 Mostly, they ruin the image. If the sun is bright enough to warrant sunglasses, then it will also cast deep dark shadows onto the face. This enlarges the area blocked out on the face, making the image heavier and lifeless.

 There are ways to get around the need for them.

 Turn your subject away from the sun’s glare; with the face in shade they can open their eyes wider. You can use reflectors or flash to fill in the shadowed areas. The advantage of reflectors is they will also close down the pupil of the eye, increasing the more attractive iris size.

 Move them into shade. You will get a softer light, more detail with a much more facially relaxed subject.

 You can slip the glasses low on the nose, tilt the head forward, take a high point of view as the subject looks up, this also works with regular glasses. Popping them above the forehead and the glasses become more of fun, carefree personal statement.

 They can also be useful if held in one hand, as a playful prop.

 Sunglasses, by their very function, dominate the space. If you do incorporate them into your image, do it with great consideration and intent.  They can be a very powerful element, used sparingly or the killer blow to your image.


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