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The Art of Copy Work: Photographing Artwork Accurately Without Glare

May 14, 2014 6 comments

Today’s guest post is part 2 of a series of tutorials on how to light reflective subjects and surfaces from BorrowLenses.com. Alex Huff is a staff photographer and copywriter for BorrowLenses and has photographed for Sotheby’s, Google, X-Games, and more. In this post, she gives a few beginner’s tips on avoiding glare and maintaining color fidelity when photographing artwork.

All example images were lit and shot using the following:

Artwork courtesy of Code and Canvas, which brings artists and technologists together in shared spaces to foster creativity and innovation.


When photographing reflective surfaces, lighting becomes a game of billiards. In my last post on photographing people in eyeglasses, we relied heavily on this following rule:

Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection 

To review, the angle at which a light beam hits an object will reflect light out at that same angle. Ignoring exceptions involving certain textures and refraction, we can depend on light to travel in a straight and predictable line.
You may find yourself in a position of having to photograph something behind glass. The rules are largely the same as when you’re photographing someone wearing glasses but you also need to be certain that the colors are being represented accurately as well.

Copy Work

Copy work, or a copy job, is when the photographer is reproducing a piece of artwork such as paintings, illustrations, and antique photographs. The conditions under which you have to shoot some of these things can be tough (stuck on walls in small rooms, leaning against something and under fluorescents, etc) but knowing the most basic copy work setup and remembering your family of angles will get you out of most glare binds.

Family of Angles

What the camera can see will determine our family of angles. In a typical copy work lighting setup, you will have 1 light on either side of your subject but the angle is very important.

Placing my light heads anywhere within that circle will likely result in glare because it is inside the danger zone of angle of reflectance. Our instinct is to put lights in front of the thing we want to light but when dealing with reflective surfaces we have to imagine a ball of light coming from the flash and into your painting in a straight line and bouncing back out again. If the bounce-back appears to be within the family of angles for what your camera is seeing then move those lights outside that zone or, in this case, more to the side. This allows the bounce-back to not glare back into the lens.

Lighting Outside the Family of Angles

When photographing artwork, placing your lights at acute angles in reference to the subject (90º or less – think of on-camera flash as being 0º) is generally bad and placing them at obtuse angles (greater than 90º) is generally good.

For this painting by Calixto Robles, I can already tell from my modeling lamps that I am probably within the family of angles to receive glare. Eyeballing it, I could tell that the light was going to shoot out of the glass and back into my lens — especially since I am also shooting directly instead of reflectively, like with a bounce umbrella.

An easy fix for this is to place my flashes outside the family of angles, more obtusely-angled in relation to my subject.

Placing my lights more to the side gets them outside my family of angles. Remember, too, that using a wide lens will increase the size of your family of angles. If you have the space to shoot copy work using a long lens, your choice of lighting positions increases.

These are all unedited so they would normally need a bit of tweaking but my glare is gone and that is a great starting point for perfecting the shot.

Raking the Light

This kind of obtusely-angled lighting is referred to as “raking the light.” It’s great not only for avoiding glare, since the angles are so extreme that they are often outside the family of angles for reflection, but also for showing texture.

In this detail shot of Vivien Sin’s work, I have glare, washed out colors, and a little too much texture in places where I don’t really want it.

These yellow arrows represent my family of angles. I have placed my flashes well within the danger zone.

Moving my lights more to the side, further away from my family of angles and at a more oblique angle, improves this. I probably could have raked the light even further by placing the lights nearly parallel to the painting, bathing it in light — especially if I were bouncing the light from inside an umbrella or softbox. Sometimes you might not have modifiers on-hand so knowing you can still work with “bald” lights is key.

Much better. However, how do you know these colors are even accurate? After all, I am showing you a copy of the painting through my photography and you are trusting me to portray it accurately. This requires another useful tool: the color checker.

Color Checker Cards and White Balance

White balance is largely not an issue in this age of RAW files. Most of the time, our cameras are excellent at reproducing color and predicting proper white balance. With artwork, though, such subjectivity can ruin your presentation. Using a color checker card will give you a set of specially prepared colors and grayscales that give you a frame of reference for objectively correct colors. It also helps you find a precise, neutral white. When you’re editing something with a color checker in one of your frames, you can much more easily keep the colors in all of your frames consistent and accurate.

With all of the deep, rich colors in Vivien Sin’s painting, I want to make sure they remain consistent across editing multiple files and also that I have a white balance that is set based on the most neutral target possible for color fidelity.

You can use a color checker card just as a reference and white balance corrector without any further calibration. However, its performance is maximized when you calibrate your monitor and printer and create custom profiles using free plug ins with your editing software.

To start, take a sample of a neutral color or shade. I used the gray square second to the left next to 100% white.

I have the X-Rite free ColorChecker Passport software installed in my Lightroom. You don’t have to have this to get a read on color accuracy but it allows you to create custom profiles under different lighting conditions and quickly apply those profiles to images in an entire collection for consistency. This was done by taking a picture of the color card in the same environment as Vivien’s painting, adjusting my white balance around a neutral gray on the card, and saving it as a profile (exactly how to do this varies with your editing software and X-Rite has instructions for each of them).

Instead of relying on one of my camera’s profiles, or Adobe Standard, I can use a profile that is built around colors as they should be viewed objectively given the environment it was shot in, custom-named so that I can remember what I shot with to create it.

The difference might not be obvious but notice the reds in the lower corner. Adobe Standard rendered them slightly more orange than they should be. It’s a subtle change for the extra work but if you remember to take just 1 shot with a color card it gives you the option to fine tune colors and white balance later. This is important for not only copy work but for real estate shooting as well, where interior paint colors might be very important to the person you are shooting for.

Copy Work Shooting Basics

If you are starting out with shooting anything reflective, especially artwork, remember:

  • The Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection
  • If the flash is within 90º of the reflective surface, it is likely to give off glare. Place your lights obtusely and sometimes even as far as parallel to either side of a painting.
  • Raking the light in this manner will also show texture.
  • Use a color checker card to verify color accuracy and white balance in post production.

Flash and Artwork Damage

The jury is still out on this but the general consensus is that a lot of stuff can affect paintings, including UV light, pollution, and temperature. Artwork can even be a danger to itself when off-gassing under tight framing. Art is exposed to flash for a short period of time during copy work and the consensus is that it’s not a problem. That said, if you’re shooting for a client, find out their comfort level for flash exposure before proceeding.

I hope these tips help you take better photographs of the various copy work items in your life, whether it’s professional artwork or personal antique photographic keepsakes.

Glare Aware: Photographing Portraits of People in Glasses

February 19, 2014 9 comments

This is part 1 of a series of tutorials on how to light reflective subjects and surfaces from BorrowLenses.com. Alex Huff is a staff photographer and copy writer for BorrowLenses and has photographed for Sotheby’s, Google, X-Games, and more. In this post, she gives us three major ways to avoid getting glare and reflections when taking portraits of subjects wearing eyeglasses. SmugMug’s own Katherine Cheng and Michael Bonocore served as her bespectacled models.

All example images were lit and shot using the following:


Photographers who are new to lighting will sometimes panic when faced with photographing someone in glasses. Sometimes even seasoned photographers will make more adjustments than necessary to avoid a dreaded reflection. Here are a couple of lighting laws that are easy to remember and will increase your confidence when taking portraits of people wearing eyeglasses.

Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection

Light is fairly predictable. A quick review of angles will allow you to capture glare-free specs. In any shoot, there are 3 positions that can be adjusted:

  • The position/angle of your light.
  • The position/angle of your model.
  • Your shooting position.

Often, you only need to move 1 of these to improve eyeglasses portraits. First, let’s get a brief science review out of the way:

Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection

Your source of light produces a beam that travels in a straight line. The angle at which a light beam hits an object will reflect light out at that same angle. There are other factors to consider, such as the shape of the surface that is being hit and the size of your light source, but for your purpose you can depend on this rule to get you out of the line of fire when trying to shoot a bespectacled subject.

In the case of eyeglasses, make sure that the angle of the light hitting your subject is different from the angle you are shooting them at. When the light comes bouncing off those eyeglasses, you want it to miss you entirely.

Broad Lighting and Short Lighting

Short lighting is when your light is most illuminating the angle of the face that is further from the camera. Broad lighting is when your light is most illuminating the angle of the face that is closer to the camera. Short lighting is harder to use on subjects wearing glasses than broad lighting.

Why? When you place your light on the far side of a face, glasses are more bluntly facing the light, as illustrated on the left in the diagram above. When the light hits the glass, it bounces off at the same angle that it was hit at and right into your lens. When you place your light on the near side of a face, you hit the glasses at an angle that is more oblique by virtue of them facing slightly away from the light. The angle the light hits them at is now not as likely to bounce back into your camera.

In Figure 1, Katherine’s left side is closest to the camera – even if only slightly. The light is on her right side – the side slightly farther from the camera. This produces short lighting, which often causes reflections in glasses. You can see the green glare just in the corner of her glasses. I can either move the light to her left side or I can ask her to switch sides in her chair.

I decide to have her switch sides in her chair. She is more mobile than my light. In Figure 2, the light is still on her right side but now her right side is also closest to the camera. This is broad lighting and it solves my glare problem.

As you can see in Figures 3 and 4, allowing the light to hit the outer edge of the glasses produces no glare versus when they are hit more bluntly. The slightest change in your model’s position can make a big difference.

Shooting Eyeglasses Straight On

In the example above, I kept my camera and my light stationary and asked my model to move. A good rule to follow for any kind of lighting problem is to only ever change one variable at a time.

It is possible to shoot people in glasses straight on without reflections if you remember your angles. In Figure 5, I am lighting Katherine from a slight angle and even with the eye – the catchlight is almost in the middle of her eye. Shooting this low will always produce glare. Remember, your angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection and here the angle going in is almost parallel with the camera.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this problem. One is to tilt the glasses downward on the face of the model or have her tilt her head downward. Sometimes this looks unnatural but it is a good solution for people using the built-in flash on their cameras because there is no other way to move that light.

However, here I choose to move my light. I simply move the light upward and point it downward a little more. In the diagram below, you can see how this allows the light a better chance at reflecting toward the ground and away from the lens.

In Example 6, I have moved the light ever so slightly up. You can still catch a sliver of reflection in her glasses, which can be solved by moving the light up further still. However, there is an upper limit to this method – you don’t want to give your model raccoon eyes or deep eyeglass frame shadows.

Dodging Angles: Shooting from a Different Position

If you like where your light is and you like where your model is and you are getting glare off of something then your last refuge is to change yourself.

In Example 7, I have a situation that can result in a large hot spot against my window. If you observe the angle at which your light is hitting a window, you can predict where it is going to bounce out at, too. Don’t shoot from that angle!

As you can see in Example 8, and in the resulting portraits below, my position as a photographer made a very big difference in lighting and the presence of glare on the window without me changing the position of the light one bit!

This is also good knowledge to have on tap when photographing aquariums, cars, and other reflective surfaces.

The Power of a Face: Directing Your Subject

Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time with our subjects. Michael, in Figure 9, is a very important man who doesn’t have time for me to move my light around. The reflections in his glasses are gasp-worthy. Don’t panic! As you can see, the slightest head tilt solves the problem and allows the light to bounce a little more off of his forehead rather than off of his eyeglasses.

Remember:

  • The angle that light hits a subject is going to bounce off at the same angle.
  • Lighting on the far side of the face (short lighting) is often more problematic for glasses wearers than lighting on the near side of the face (broad lighting).
  • Make small changes in isolation: change your position, your model’s position/head angle, or your light’s position/angle.

Photographing people in glasses is intimidating. You are forced to consider more than just “what looks good” on your subject in that situation. You have to consider what looks good and what is practical for a crystal clear image unmarred by reflections of umbrellas or green glare. However, if you remember even just one of these tips, it can save your nerves and your shoot.

Thanks so much to our friends over at BorrowLenses for helping us sharpen our skills both in and out of the studio! Check out the other posts they’ve written for our blog, like How to Safely Buy a Used Lens and their review of mirrorless cameras. Stay tuned and watch this space for the next part in this series and be sure to practice, take better pictures and have fun.  

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

October 8, 2013 6 comments

Good news for all you holiday travelers and gift buyers! Mirrorless cameras are gaining in popularity and may be the perfect option for just about anyone who wants a powerful camera in a smaller package. Our friends over at Borrowlenses put their expertise at work to help you pick out which model may be right for you… or your lucky giftee. 

Reblogged by permission from Borrowlenses.com.

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot.

High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for:

  • Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage.
  • Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street.
  • Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system.

Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality:

These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here)

Plus, the RX series is just lovely looking.

This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera.

Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with film simulations, a fast 23mm fixed lens, and a 16MP sensor. It also shoots full HD video and supports a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Don’t like the idea of a fixed lens? Try out the Fuji X-Pro 1 instead. It shoots RAW, sports cool analog dials and pairs with the following lenses: Fuji XF 18mm f/2.0 RFuji XF 35mm f/1.4Fuji XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, and the XF 27mm f/2.8. More info on the Fuji X100s here.

Canon’s first mirrorless system allows you to use this diminutive body with any Canon lens with the help of an EF to EF-M adapter. It’s equipped with Canon’s latest DIGIC 5 Image Processor and an 18 MP sensor. Don’t want to mess with an adapter? Rent the M-compatible EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens, which includes the new Stepping Motor technology that can auto-focus quietly and provide continuous tracking of a moving subject. The rental of the Canon EOS-M automatically comes with a 22mm EF-M f/2 STM lens.

This defeats the purpose of using the Canon EOS-M for its size but, with the adapter, you CAN do this. Which is sort of awesome.

While only supporting a 10MP sensor, the Nikon V1 is one of the quickest shooters in the small-camera world with 10 FPS bursts in autofocus mode. It’s CX mount offers a variety of tiny (TINY!) lenses, such as the Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6. It can also shoot interesting and effective slow motion footage (up to 1200 FPS) at 320×120.

The Leica M9 is kind of a different beast being the only rangefinder in this bunch. It has a “range-finding” focusing mechanism that shows two images of the same subject, one of which moves when a calibrated wheel is turned and the two images coincide and fuse into one. It is a wholly different way of focusing on your subject and takes some getting used to.  It is full frame, 18MP, and has that satisfyingly retro-sounding (and discreet) metal blade-style shutter. Pairs with a decently large range of lenses. Check out Rolling Stone contributor, Drew Gurian’s, sample images from our Lecia M9.

All of these cameras have the option of shooting in fully manual mode, so you do not have to give up creative control to carry a lighter load. Simply toss one of these in your day bag knowing that you can travel comfortably toward your next unique shot.

Win a Year of Membership at SmugMug Pro and Borrowlenses

March 19, 2012 4 comments

Our buddies over at BorrowLenses.com have put together a fun contest over on their blog with some great prizes that celebrate our joint awesomeness: A year of membership at BorrowLenses.com and a year of SmugMug Pro.

Win Great Perks

In case you weren’t already familiar with their membership program, it’s more than just a login. Members automatically get a 10% discount on all lens rentals, priority rental availability and a free t-shirt. It costs $99 per year, but enter to win and you could get yours for free.

Once you’ve got one foot on the red carpet, you can easily upload, sell and share all your photos on SmugMug Pro.

Make sure to get your entries to their blog HERE (not below!) no later than Friday, March 23rd, 2012.

Good luck!

How to Safely Buy a Used Lens

August 8, 2011 23 comments

For some, the kit lens is fine. But if you’re wanting to change it up and start shopping for new glass, the price tag can be a total dealbreaker. Today we’re featuring a guest post from our friends at BorrowLenses.com. These guys really know their stuff when it comes to buying, using and maintaining cameras and lenses, so we thought this would be a great time to share some tips about how to be a savvy shopper. The goal? Get the gear you want without spending top dollar.

By Josh Norem of BorrowLenses

It’s a sad fact of life that gear is expensive. A single Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM is in the ballpark of a fresh kidney and not everyone can afford to buy a few kidneys, much less a spleen or lesser organ.

Don’t judge gear by age; This lens is 7 years old and still looks and works like new.

Luckily, camera equipment doesn’t always deteriorate with age, so a lens that’s been cared for could theoretically perform exactly the same as a brand new one while costing significantly less.

Smart buyers know this, so everyone is always on the lookout for high-quality used equipment, including us. And because we buy so much used equipment (typically about 350 lenses per year) we have picked up quite a number of helpful tips along the way.

Here’s a few that will help you be a smart shopper when you upgrade from a kit lens, or when you just want to add to your collection.

Where to Shop

We all know you can find great deals on sites like eBay and Craigslist, but you have to be really careful about checking the seller’s feedback rating and past transactions so you don’t get ripped off. If you meet the seller in person, pick a public place and be sure to look over the lens very carefully before handing over your cash. (We’ll tell you how to do this below.)

A better place than Craigslist or eBay for used camera gear are photo forums with reputable commerce areas. Digital Grin has a great Flea Market section which is well worth checking out, and it’s free to join, buy and sell.

The Fred Miranda Buy and Sell forum is another great place. You need to open an account and pay a monthly membership to sell,  but it’s free if you just want to browse and buy. Fred Miranda is one of the best online marketplaces for photo gear:  Not only do they have a great feedback and ranking system so you can deal with established members, but they’re all photographers who know the lens inside and out. That’s a lot more than you can say for sellers on eBay or Craigslist.

In both, you’ll find many experienced photographers that buy/sell lenses and gear. Photographers who know their stuff can answer specific questions about its condition, history, functionality, etc. They usually provide lots of high-quality photos, too, so you can easily see the lens’s condition. Always a plus!

What to Look Out For

Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when examining a potential purchase:

  • Before you meet the seller, find out if they’re a smoking household. This doesn’t matter to everyone, but cigarette smoke can stick to gear and make it smell like an ashtray.
  • Once you have the lens in hand, check for scratches on the front or back elements. To do this, slowly move the lens back and forth under a bright light and look for scratches in the reflection on the glass.
  • Open the aperture blades and look through the lens to make sure there is no major debris (or fungus!) stuck inside. Nikon users will have to manually move a lever on the back of the lens to do this, while Canon lenses are always wide open when not mounted to a camera.
  • Don’t freak out if you see some dust inside the lens. This is normal even for factory-fresh gear and minor dust particles won’t show up in your photos or impact the performance of the lens.
  • While looking through the lens end-to-end, carefully and slowly rotate the lens in a rolling motion and look/listen for any loose elements shifting around.
  • Check around the rear mount for cracked or missing sections of weather sealing (if applicable). If there’s a hood, check that the hood stays locked on and is not cracked or damaged.
  • Be sure the filter threads are not dented or stripped and that a filter screws on and off easily.
  • Make sure you can zoom all the way in and all the way out without the lens getting stuck or stiff along the way. Also, make sure there are no sandy/gritty sounds as you zoom, or when turning the focus ring too.

Don’t discount a lens just because it has a few scuffs and bruises. The optics may still be flawless.

Test It Out If You Can

It’s a good idea to take the lens out for a test drive on your camera, whether it’s before you buy or if your seller offers you a trial period. Try these tips:

  • Mount the lens on your camera and make sure it stays securely locked.
  • Take test shots opened up all the way (like f/2.8) and stopped down all the way (like f/22) and at all focal lengths. You’re checking that the auto-focus works correctly and that the lens will perform at the maximum and minimum ends of its specs.
  • If applicable, turn on the Vibration Reduction (VR) or Image Stabilization (IS) switch and make sure it sounds right and that the image you see in the viewfinder doesn’t “jump around” during focusing.
  • Consider using a focusing chart if you really want to test the sharpness. But if you don’t know what that is, a newspaper will do the trick.


Upon careful inspection we found that this lens had an issue with its front element – it was missing.

Use Your Judgment and Enjoy the Process

The important thing to remember is this: Don’t judge a book by its cover. The only thing that really matters are the optics inside. Don’t assume blemishes on the outside have any effect on auto-focus performance or optical performance. The number one rule when buying ANYTHING still applies: If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don’t forget to have fun hunting and (most importantly) shooting with your new-to-you lens. If you’re unsure about which lens you want and want to try a few, hop over to BorrowLenses’s site for a huge variety of lens rentals. Finally, be sure to upload all the great shots you take to your SmugMug galleries and show everyone what a great deal you got.

Links you may like:

Win $200 Towards Lens Rental at Borrowlenses

May 24, 2011 22 comments

Hello, happy snappers! Our buddies at Borrowlenses got a mad hankering to share some glass with you so they’ve put together a little giveaway: One lucky winner will win $200 towards any lens rental. To see how, keep reading.

You Want What They Got

If you thought the peeps at BL are hardcore, leather-clad, badass, glass-toting ninjas in their bunker surrounded by every lens your wallet dreams of… well, you’re right. It’s kind of awesome.

Check out their brand-spanking new security system, guaranteed to bring down the meanest, toughest, most savage thief in the industry:

“Mew!”

You can rent this bad boy if you win (sans fur, since they’re pros at cleaning gear), so all you have to do is:

They’ll announce a winner this Friday, May 27th. You may want to start booking some events this weekend.

Sorry, but the kitten’s not included.

Photog Tip of the Week: Cleaning Your Lenses with BorrowLenses.com

April 12, 2011 24 comments
Today’s Photog Tip of the Week comes from our friends at BorrowLenses.com. They’re the perfect service for any photographer who wants to try before they buy, or for getting that special lens rental for a single assignment, event or trip. Best of all, Smuggers get a discount off any rental through ClubSmug. Your loaner arrives brand-spankingly clean, because keeping glass in good working order is a hallmark of their business.

We all know lenses must be kept clean to ensure maximum performance, but what’s the right way to clean a lens? Here at BorrowLenses we do hundreds of these each day, so we have some experience with this subject. Here’s how we do it.

Three things you’ll need:

Compressed air – We use air compressors from Home Depot (<$100) but the smallest compressor you can find is likely up to the task. If you don’t want to splurge on a compressor, there are the ubiquitous cans of compressed air available at any computer store. When using these cans always keep the can level and upright to avoid blowing its liquid propellant onto your lens elements. These chemicals can do weird and potentially harmful things to lens coatings, so please be careful. If you want to avoid chemicals all together, get a bike pump style canister that you pump up then use, or try a simple manual pump like a Giottos Rocket Blower.

Lens cloth – Our favorites are cheap, Promaster-branded microfiber cloths. You’ll notice that some types feel very slick and smooth against the glass and others gain some traction and drag more. We like the kind that has some drag and feels sticky against clean glass.

Cleaning fluid – You shouldn’t need any cleaning fluid except for the most stubborn and difficult cases. Again, we like the Promaster brand because it’s cheap and cheerful. The stuff we use comes in a clear plastic bottle with a pump atomizer spraying attachment.

Your lens is dirty. Now what?

It’s now time to touch the front element of your lens and clean it. If you are worried about rubbing the coating off, don’t be. We’ve never seen it happen, ever.

To clean a lens’ front element all you need is a set of lungs and a lens cloth.

1. Breathe on the lens enough to fog the whole element, then wipe the lens with a good amount of force in a circular fashion. You’ll likely be left with a smudge where your wipe stopped and some junk around the edge where the glass meets the body.

2. Make a little point with the cloth, breathe on the lens again and wipe the edge in one 360+ degree motion. Now you should be left with a mostly clean lens.

3. Now repeat the wipes, but with ever decreasing pressure. The last few swipes should be done very lightly. The trick is to buff the lens, which will pick junk up rather than moving it around forever. Keep rearranging the cloth so that you are using a virgin bit of material and not re-contaminating your almost-clean glass.

4. The final step is examining – and cleaning – both front and rear caps thoroughly before affixing them to your now-clean lens. A dirty cap will undo all your hard work in an instant, so examine both caps closely, blow on them from many angles with compressed air and only when you are certain they are clean can you affix them to your lens. If you use a UV filter, also make sure it is clean before you put it back on.

And with that, we’re finished. If you enjoyed that you should consider working for BorrowLenses.com – You could be cleaning gear all day long and getting paid to do it!

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