When you see the image of something reflected by a puddle or by a mirror, do you think of taking a photo of that reflection?
Well, photos of reflections are a type of photography! Reflection Photography a.k.a. Mirror Photography is composed of pictures of objects, people and even places reflected by puddles, mirrors, windows, glass doors and other reflective surfaces. Photos of reflections are artistic and abstract that are also very unique and interesting.
After a rainy day, cities and towns are full of small puddles that, with the help of the sunlight, create reflections of the architecture around and also of the movement of people passing by.
Reflections show inverted images that become beautiful photos when captured by the lens of a Camera. In this post you will discover 6 amazing reflection photography tips for taking beautiful photos of reflections.
Let’s get started!
1. Search for different photo perspectives
In order to develop a good eye for reflection photography, you need to learn to see scenes from different perspectives.
Also, the composition of the photo (how it’s organized, what it will be) must be created in your mind first.
In the composition of reflection photos, certain objects that seem to be an obstacle in the middle of the scene that will spoil the photo can become a contrasting artistic element if you have a creative perspective.
It used to be normal that photographers would avoid photographing reflections whenever they found one in a photo scene.
Over time, including reflections in photos started to be seen as a way of shooting abstract pictures and also a way of creating surprising effects that resulted in beautiful images.
2. Start by searching for puddles that reflect what’s around
Whenever it rains, you can go out searching for puddles in the squares and streets of your city because they are the first type of reflective surfaces that are very interesting for shooting nice reflection photos.
That’s also great for developing an artistic eye for reflection photography.
Other types of reflective surfaces (like mirrors) are important too, but puddles are a good start because they challenge you to find abstract perspectives in “ordinary” urban spaces.
Puddles become mirrors that will reflect the beauty of a city’s buildings.
To take photos using water as an image reflector, you can lie on the ground, position your Camera close to the ground and close to the puddle, put the camera on an upwards angle to capture the image of the sky, before shooting check the elements of your photo.
In its setting, place the buildings with architectural patterns in main lines to direct the viewer’s eyes.
Remember to always observe with patience and pay attention to the details, sometimes a simple element of nature reflected by a puddle can portray the idea of something quite different from the reality that the element is in, and you will have a new scene for taking photos!
3. Search for other types of reflective surfaces
The connection of elements in the world invites you to search for different perspectives. In reflection photography, the reflected image is what remodels the photo scene.
You need to study the space around you to find new reflective surfaces, the results can surprise you!
Those are some things that work as reflective surfaces that you can use for creating beautiful photos of reflections:
- Glass tables
- Glass windows
- Car windshields
- Car hoods
- Water ponds
- Natural lakes
- Artificial lakes
- Water fountains
- Swimming pools
- Any natural water stream (preferably when the water is “stopped”)
- Raindrops on plant leaves and flowers
- Decorative objects made of glass or metal
- Buildings and storefronts made of architectural glass
- Any reflective surface that you find at home
- Any reflective surface that you find in urban spaces
- Any reflective surface that you find anywhere you are
There is one more thing you can do, which is photograph only the reflection of an object/person without including the reflective surface in the photo.
For example, if the reflective surface is a mirror, you don’t include the mirror frame in the photo, just zoom in on the object/person reflected by the mirror and photograph that only.
That’s a good idea when the reflection is completely sharp and clear, so the reflection becomes the photo.
In this type of photo, the main element will be seen in an inverted form creating another reality for those who view the image.
4. Work on photo framing and try different angles
Framing is simply including or not including elements of the photo scene in the final shot, you choose what your camera will capture and what it won’t, that’s called “framing a photo”.
When you’re framing a scene, you’re choosing what will be photographed and focused on and what will be left out of the final shot. This technique is very important for reflection photography.
Both framing a photo and trying different angles with your Camera can bring harmony to the final shot because the same elements are seen from another point of view, and that’s very important for photos of reflections.
The architectural constructions in cities form symmetrical images that you can search for to compose your photos, so work on the framing of every scene you find interesting for reflection photography and remember to take many shots to choose the best ones later.
5. Take photos during the golden hour
The golden hour happens twice every day, 15 minutes before sunrise and 15 minutes before sunset. At those moments, the sky is filled with a range of colors that changes every minute, so the photos you take have a different contrast, brightness and saturation at each minute.
You can take photos of water puddles and other types of reflective surfaces by putting urban areas as the background, which will create an interesting contrast of colors if done during the golden hour.
If it’s a rainy day, you can take photos of rainwater and water puddles as reflective surfaces to capture amazing photos of nature.
You can also search for lakes, ponds and any stream of still water to take reflection photos during the golden hour because that will result in beautiful images with colorful clouds and the sky in golden shades.
Another great scenery for taking photos of reflections is at the beach.
That’s because at sunset and at sunrise the water reflects golden and silver color shades when reached by the sunlight rays.
6. How to set up a pro camera for reflection photography
Now you will get tips on how to use a Professional Camera the best way possible when taking photos of reflections:.
- For taking photos in the early morning: use a 10mm lens (equivalent to 16mm in full frame), set the aperture to f/10, set the shutter speed to 1/125 sec and use ISO 100.
- For taking photos when the sky is cloudy: use a 24mm lens (equivalent to 38mm in full frame), set the aperture to f/2.8, set the shutter speed to 1/200 sec and use ISO 100.
- For taking photos on a rainy day when the sky is cloudy: use a 16mm lens (equivalent to 25mm in full frame), set the aperture to f/13, set the camera shutter speed 1/125 sec and use ISO 100.
- For taking photos of images reflected by a car windshield or by car hood: use a 40mm lens (equivalent to 64mm in full frame), set the aperture f/5, set the camera shutter speed to 1/40 sec and use ISO 100.
- For taking photos of water puddles in urban spaces: use a 24mm lens (equivalent to 38mm in full frame), set the aperture to f/9, set the shutter speed 1/30 sec and use ISO 160.
- Use a macro lens on the camera to capture more details.
If you use your smartphone’s camera you can search on the Internet for tutorials on how to set up a smartphone to the settings above because there are different ways to do that based on the phone brand and model.
Great! Now you know how to search for different perspectives, how to use water puddles as reflective surfaces and how to find other types of reflective surfaces. You also know the importance of working on photo framing and of trying different angles, how to take photos during the golden hour and how to set up a pro camera for reflection photography! So don’t hesitate to put what you’ve learned into practice!
You can also share your thoughts in the comments below!