10 Quick Tips for Great Reflection Photos | http://photorec.tv

Reflections are a tricky subject. Sometimes it’s all but impossible to avoid a harsh glare in a subject’s glasses. Other times the light turns just the right way, so an ordinary location transforms into a stunning scene. Learning a few simple tips for great reflection photos helps you maximize the potential of a beautiful reflection scene, creating a one of a kind image.

 

Fall Trees Long Exposure Reflection | http://photorec.tv

    • Select a high f/stop number. Choosing an f/stop of 11 or higher brings the entire scene into focus, enhancing the reflection aesthetic. The f/stop for the photo above is f/22. Once you’ve settled on your f/stop, play around with the focus. In some instances, it may be preferable to focus on the subject, while in other cases, it may be preferable to focus on the reflection.

 

    • Think about the angle of the reflection. Explore different viewpoints for the reflection scene, paying attention to the reflection from each viewpoint. In a natural setting, your vantage points may be limited. In the studio, you’ll have more control over the best angle for a given subject and its reflection.

 

Stillwater, MN Bridge Reflection | http://photorec.tv

    • Don’t forget the basic rules of composition. It’s hard to take a bad picture of a stunning natural reflection. However, you’ll turn a good photo into a great photo by composing it properly. Instead of snapping a couple of pictures and moving on, take a few minutes to set up your image. Pay attention to the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing.

 

    • Whenever possible, shoot during the first or last hours of the day. The first and last hours of the day offer the softest light, minimizing harsh glare and smoothing out reflections. When you’re shooting in the middle of the day, take care to limit shadows and blown out areas and bring out the colors.

 

    • Shoot with a circular polarizer or neutral density filter. Filters aren’t necessary for great reflection photos but do increase your options for shooting. A circular polarizer will help you control the amount of shine in the reflection while deepening the colors and minimizing the blown out areas. A neutral density filter cuts the available light, allowing you to shoot long exposures.

 

An Colorful sunset yesterday behind the US capitol!

A post shared by Adrien Catel (@adriencatel) on

    • Use a tripod to experiment with different shutter speeds. Shooting a long exposure is a popular technique for water reflection photos. Smoothing out the water changes the aesthetic of the photo significantly, softening the image and drawing attention to the subject.

 

Playmobile Wedding Ring Reflection | http://photorec.tv

Groot

 

    • Consider reflection surfaces besides water. When people think of reflection photos, their minds often go to water reflections. However, you shouldn’t feel limited to this option. You can create great reflection photos with virtually any surface that produces a reflection from glass windows to mirrored sunglasses and even jewelry.

 

    • In the studio, experiment with lighting a subject from above or behind. Shiny surfaces don’t absorb light. As such, it’s important to think about the amount and angle of the light in relation to the shooting surface. You may produce better results lighting your subject from above or behind than the front or side.

 

Playmobile Wedding Ring Reflection | http://photorec.tv

    • Limit use of flash. While there are exceptions to the rule, in general, using flash isn’t advisable for reflection photography. In most cases, the light will simply bounce right back at you, distracting from the subject. If I had used a flash to light the cake, it would have flashed right on the ring, making it impossible to see the reflection.

 

    • Experiment with creating both realistic and abstract compositions. Shooting reflections allows for a wide spectrum of creativity. You may strive to produce a realistic image that mimics what you see in real life, or you may strive to produce an abstract image. For example, you might choose to shoot a street puddle reflection in manual focus to blur the bright lights.

 

Bonus tip! Finally, keep your eyes open for stunning opportunities to photograph reflection. You never know when you’ll come across a beautiful bridge centered over a flowing river or the light will strike just right and highlight the boats in the harbor.

The images in this post not embedded from Instagram are my own images. The embedded images from Instagram are from members of the Photorec community with the tags #PRTV and #reflection. Consider becoming a PRTV member and joining the support group today!

The 4/29 PRTV Instagram challenge is reflection. Use the hashtags #PRTV_reflection and #PRTV on Instagram to enter up to two of your great reflection photos for the challenge. Entries are due by noon Friday (5/5). Winners are announced the following Saturday (5/6) with the start of a new challenge.

Do you have any additional tips for great reflection photos?

Leave your insight in the comments!

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