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In this article, you’ll discover how to create the perfect reflection photos. You’ll learn how to find reflection photos in locations near to you, and then how best to capitalize on these reflections in your photo. Use the correct equipment, the right angle, and you’ll be taking stunning photos in no time.
First, the science behind reflection photography. Knowing why reflections form will help a lot when it comes to finding and taking these types of images.
The most obvious object you’ll come across on a day-to-day basis that reflects is a mirror. So in reflection, the angle of the incident light will be equal to the angle of the reflected light.
That means when you stand directly in front of a mirror, you’ll see yourself. However, if you stand to the side, you’ll see the scene that’s to the side of you.
When you reach the extreme edge of the mirror and look across it, you’ll see the room you’re standing in duplicated in a mirror image.
In the majority of cases, you’ll want to get down to the angle of the reflection to create this duplicate image in your photo. Repetition always works well in photography.
Now you know what reflection is, you’ll need to know where to find it. There are lots of things that have a reflective surface – the mirror is the most extreme of these and is designed to reflect. You’re really looking for something with a smooth, shiny surface. So look for the following to get a reflection:
Now you know what reflection is, and the materials that produce it, you’re ready to take the perfect reflection photos. Take a look at the following steps, and you’ll be in a position to get the best results.
Knowing which surfaces cause reflection is only half the story. You need to combine finding one of these surfaces in a location that has an interesting reflection. Going out and finding these is sometimes easy, and sometimes more of a challenge.
Look to the following to improve your chances:
There are, of course, times when you’d like to photograph a reflection where one doesn’t usually form. In that case, you could experiment by taking a mirror with you to a location. It might not be practical to bring a large mirror with you, but by using a wide-angle lens, you can make the reflection look much larger than it actually is.
Another solution is to bring a bottle of water with you or even a bucket. If there is a readily available source of water nearby, like a lake or the sea, you might be able to carry buckets of water to a location where you wish to create a reflection.
There are a couple of things you can do to enhance your reflection photo in-camera. These mainly involve the equipment you use. Look to do the following to create the perfect reflection photos.
Now just because a place has a reflection doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best place to take a reflection photo.
As with all photography, you need a strong main subject. That main subject might already be there in the form of architecture. If that’s not the case, you may need to wait for a moment of capture, a person walking past your reflection location, for instance.
While a mirror image reflection could hold your photo, a single person, single tree, or an iconic landmark that also reflects will dramatically improve your results.
In addition to the steps you can take in-camera, there are further steps you can use in post-processing. These involve enhancing your existing photo or creating a reflection within your image.
This involves taking a photo that already has a reflection and then making that reflection stand out more.
You’ll be looking to make local adjustments to your image. To do that, you can either use graduated filters to adjust the image or layer mask and reveal only the area of the image that you wish to effect.
Adjustments you can consider making are brightening, sharpening, and adding more contrast to the reflection in an attempt to mimic the image that the reflection is from.
Lastly, in your bid to create the perfect reflection photos, you could turn to post-processing.
You’ll need to choose an appropriate image to do this – one that has some nice sky would work best.
Then it’s a case of increasing the canvas size of your image, duplicating the image, flipping it, resizing it, and then making the reflection look realistic by adding some imperfections. You can look to create this by using the following guide.
Now you have the knowledge needed to go out and create stunning reflection photos in your neighborhood. Are there any techniques you use to enhance your results either when you take the photo or post-process it?
Here at digital photography school, we value your ideas and opinions, so please share those in the comments section. Likewise, if you have images you’ve taken that show reflections, please share those as well!