candlelight reflections - what caused this?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by sue_choi, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Hi everyone,
    My very first post. I took this picture of my daughter's birthday cake and it has really bad reflections (? I don't know what to call it) across the photo and her face. Is this caused by a UV filter I had on or what? I was using Canon T2i I own + 50mm f1.2 lens I rented. Settin was 1/160, f2, ISO 800. I tried to get rid of the bright spots in Lightroom. It worked OK except the ones on her face are really hard to get rid of. So I would really appreciate help on 1)how not to get these annoying spots, and 2)how to get rid of them now that I do have them.
    Here is the link to the photo
    Thank you!
  2. Looks like flare/internal reflections in the lens of the candle flames. Use a little fill flash to light up her face would help. Not having the flames in the image would help too, but that is difficult in a birthday cake photo.
  3. Is this caused by a UV filter I had on or what?​
    Hi Sue, I think almost for sure this is the culprit. The brightest lights are "echoed" on the other side of the image, they are most obvious in darker areas. I'm in the "no filters unless you specifically need them" camp, and this is one reason why.
  4. Hello Sue, and welcome to :)
    I have an older Nikon lens that is very prone to lens flare when shooting against light spots like that. I don't use UV filters. I have another lense which gives almost no lens flare under the same conditions. The Canon people can tell you whether this 50mm lens is prone to flare or not, or if it is caused by the UV filter.
    I am not sure I would have managed to fix those spots properly. I can understand that it must be difficult in her face. I would have tried to fix it in Gimp, since that is the image software I use, but I don't think it would be easy there either (but maybe better than in Lightroom - at least it was a few years ago.) You could check out the possibilities in Gimp, it is a free software. There are different brushes and opacities you can use for both the cloning tool and the healing tool.
    Sorry to hear that you got your photos of your little girl messed up like that on such an important day. You have a lovely little daughter. I hope someone can help you properly.
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The technical name is ‘Ghost Image’

    It was more likely not caused by the UV Filter – but it could have been - very difficult to tell, but best in that shooting scenario NOT to use Filter.

    It is inverted and reversed and is usually caused by the reflection inside onto the rear of the front element of the lens.
  6. These shots are hard to photograph. I usually set my camera to 1/15 of a second to pick up the candle light and bounce a flash straight up. You need a steady hand, however the flash does stop a lot or all of the movement. Oh the F stop at F 5.6.

    The flash is kind of cool, because it will get rid of the reflections, plus your kids face will pop out. Cute kid by the way.
  7. It is a lovely picture and I would not worry too much about the ghosting. It gives the picture some mystique--it's your daughter's aura!
    Next time I suggest you remove the filter when you have a bright light in the picture just to be safe. But as others said, it could also be within the lens.
  8. I would say it is very likely caused by the UV filter. The inversion plus the change in the curvature of the row of candles align closely with what I would expect from the candlelight reflecting off the front (curved) element, and back off the inside of the (flat) filter element. Was the UV filter a MC one? It could have been caused by internal reflection, but stopped down, w/ this particular lens, it seems less than likely.
    When shooting this subject, I try to give a large enough offset angle that any reflected light gets bounced out or to the side. It minimizes this particular problem, but, had you removed the UV filter, I think this would have largely disappeared.
    As far as fixing it goes, you'll need to drop the exposure, and add a bit of saturation, as well as pick a color (say one of the reds in her cheeks) to supplement the bleaching effect of the light. This should all be achievable with simple brush strokes. The rest of the spots can be fixed w/ a simple clone/heal.
  9. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Addendum to my first:
    I wrote “It is inverted and reversed and is usually caused by the reflection inside onto the rear of the front element of the lens.”
    That should read as I meant precisely this – “It is inverted and reversed and if caused by the lens - is usually caused by the reflection inside onto the rear of the front element of the lens.”
    This is what I mean about inverted and reversed and this is what makes it a Ghost Image:
    As already alluded to, stopping down the lens will help to remedy the situation; also NOT using a Filter is a good idea.
    Also, the Ghost Image (although it might still be there) would not have been as easily seen if the Exposure was correct for the Skin Tones, of the Subject - as any Ghost Image requires a DARK area to be seen most clearly.
    You can usually SEE the Ghost Image in the Viewfinder and you can usually wiggle around to get them out of shot or in a 'nice' position.
    On the academic & technical matter: yeah - I am not convinced, yet, Marcus, between ‘not likely’ and ‘very likely’: the F/1.2 was used at F/2 - not stopped down all that much.

    I previously noted the change in curvature - the Photographer was shooting from an elevated position, though.
    The EF50/1.2 is documented for Ghost Images, sans filter.

    Anyway, that's probably something for that fine Brandy and Long (somewhat meaningless) discussion - the point is: it is better NOT to have the filter on at all for that shot - which has been noted here several times.
    For PP correction, won't the exposure need to be 'increased' in Post Production - not 'dropped'?
    terminology? meaning? - I am confused by 'dropped'.
  10. Thank you guys for all your quick responses! It sounds like UV filter indeed is the most suspect in causing ghosting here. At the time, everything was happening quickly so I really didn't have time to even think about the uv filter. But as soon as I saw the image on my computer, I was like, doh! I was trying to shoot it without flash, though, to create more of a moody shot. I think an reinactment is in order for my practice and I'm sure my daughter won't object to it one bit!
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    . . . that means another CAKE.
  12. A fast attempt to fix. Not sure if you want your child at this exposure, but again it is a fast adjustment
  13. another attempt
  14. It won't let me post again on

    Whats wrong Nadine?
  15. Don't know, Bob. Try again?
  16. Ghost images... Easy to have happen with candles or other bright lights in the image.
  17. Some lenses do suffer from ghosting if shot into the light, and the 50/1.2 is one of them. There are a lot of big glass elements with big surfaces to reflect light in the 1.2. The 1.4 and 1.8, less so. Its physics I'm afraid. Even some Leica lenses do this too. I also don't think that its the filter, but the advice is good on this aspect.
  18. I can confirm that it is most likely the filter. I had the same issue with Chandeliers at a reception, removing the filter immediately eliminated it.
  19. Why not light some candles and shoot a few test images to see if it's the lens or just the filter?

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