Learn how using reflections can help you create more interesting images
Why is using reflections in photography important?
Using reflections in photography allows you to create more artistic and abstract images. Reflections can take an image that is just a snapshot and make it a much more interesting photograph. By reflecting your subject in water or some other shiny surface, you are creating symmetry in your shot which gives the image balance and an added point of interest.
How do you create images using reflections?
If you want to photograph reflections of landscapes or other outdoor locations, do some scouting first. Check to see where the light is at different times of the day so you know the reflections will be just how you want them. Search the area for lakes, rivers or other bodies of water. Go out in the early morning when there tends to be less wind so that the surface of the water remains calm and reflective.
Get creative. What other surfaces can you use that will reflect a scene? Mobile phones, laptop screens, sunglasses, mirrors, windows, tabletops and more. There really is no end to what you might find to use to create reflections with your photography.
Once you have your subject and reflective surface, get down low. By putting your camera at the edge or closest to the reflective surface, you’ll have more of the scene in the frame. This will also give your viewer the feeling of being right there.
Choose one main point of interest to use in the reflection. If you have too much going on in the background or around your subject, your viewer won’t know where to look or what to focus on in your image. Don’t forget to watch your foreground and background. Try to keep distracting elements out of the shot, or remove them in post-processing if you need to.
Think about how you can display the FEELING of the scene. When you are creating the image, step back and take in the scene. What are your feeling as you stand there? What are you seeing that makes you feel relaxed, at ease, peaceful. Maybe it’s a rainy day and you’re using a puddle as your reflective surface and you want to convey the cold, damp feeling of the rain. Choose your composition and settings to help you show that in the final image.
Here are some inspirational reflection images to get you started.
Photo BootCamp Magazine
In this issue of BootCamp magazine, let’s take a look at what our members have REFLECTED in their images.
Be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!
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Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine.
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Inside BootCamp Magazine
Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here is our featured artist of the month, Laura Griffiths, from South Africa.
Taken in Ushuaia, the southernmost tip of South America as dawn was breaking.
Comment: Denis O’Byrne – “Hi Laura. Very nice shot. In particular I like the way the light is at play as I move through the shot. It also gives added value to the reflections on the shore line. Well done.”
This month’s cover image was taken by Laima Ratajczak from Australia. This abstract image of the townhouses was taken recently when she went for an early morning walk along the canals in Mandurah. A kayaker had just paddled through, creating ripples on the water. The details and soft colours are what attracted me to posting this image.
Comment: Sig Rannem – “Great abstract reflection photo Laima – I really like the patterns in this image! Also, the colours, grey, white and blue work well together – well done!”
Let’s take a look at what REFLECTIONS our BootCamp members have shown us this month.
Starting with Leila Gonzalez Sullivan from the United Sates. This is a derelict bridge in an abandoned town she visited a couple of years ago for a photoshoot. Boats would come down that river and be unloaded near the bridge.
Comment: Richard Hutson – “Leila, Nice reflections of the bridge in the water, and a lovely scene … must be an interesting story in there somewhere!”
Next, we have Peter Brody from the United States. He is currently in Niagara Falls, New York so he wanted to get this last photo. This is a fun shot he took using the circular motion technique of rotating the camera. It is an image of the reservoir near his house. I thought it was interesting that the outer portion showed warping while the center remained in focus. The fall oranges complemented the blue in the sky and water.
Comment: Sheree Ebanks – “Very interesting shot, Peter. I love how the leaves are elected in the circular shape and your disappearing line going down the middle. Very creative, well done!”
Next, we have Belinda Swan from Australia. She thought she would try something a little different for her last photo in this challenge. Belinda tried to catch a little underwater reflection of their goldfish Bob. She popped a blue sheet of cardboard behind the tank to help him stand out a little.
Comment: James Herrick – “Great choice of colours Belinda! The muted blue background makes the orange appear even more vibrant. I only wish Bob could have “posed” more to the left to avoid the white corner in the background while still keeping the same natural lighting.”
And next we have Lynton Stacey from Australia. Taken at King’s Canyon in the Northern Territory, a portrait reflection.
Comment: Richard Hutson – “Lynton, I love it ! … you must have had a lot of fun doing this. At first glance I wondered “what the …” and then my slow brain kicked in. Super creative!”
And last but not the least, we have Sig Rannem from Canada. Autumn reflections in a puddle on our cottage road. Since the weather was ever-changing, he struggled with finding good lighting conditions. This is the golden hour sun on the trees in the background while the foreground was in the shade. With the sun on the puddle, the reflection was not as clear and crisp.
Comment: Bruce Patterson – “Wonderful shot of the forest and sky. I especially like the shape of the reflection puddle and it’s mimicking of the scene. Well Done.”
These are just some of the images created by the members which show us that by using reflections we can create wonderful, interesting and unique images.
You can share your own images by joining Photo BootCamp Academy. You can count on the community to help and guide you along the way. If you are not yet a member of this awesome family now is the best time to become one.
You can check out the complete BootCamp Magazine and see for yourself!
- Using reflections in photography can help make a more interesting and unique image.
- Symmetry in your photographs is easy to obtain by using a reflective surface to shoot your subject.
- Be creative. Water is not the only reflective option you have. Think outside the box.
- Get down low, to the edge of the reflective surface. It puts your viewer’s eye right in the shot.
- Be aware of everything in your shot, remove distracting objects by changing position or editing them out.
- Think about how you can include feeling in your reflection photographs.
Did you enjoy this article? Check out these related articles, too:
- Capturing Life’s Simple Pleasures
Seasonal Photography Tips: Photographing Summer and Winter.
- Lessons Learned In Life And Photography
What can reflecting on lessons learned do for us?
- Creating Complete And Harmonious Images Using Visual Balance
Moving on or moving forward
Do This Now
Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent
Congrats to Laura Griffiths for being featured this month and Laima Ratajczak for your wonderful cover image. Brent