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Photographing reflections:9 tips for impressive reflection photos

Spiegelungen fotografieren

Reflections in pictures can seem mysterious and create great effects overall. Looking at a reflection is like seeing another dimension that actually shows our own. Impressive examples are snow-covered peaks that are reflected on the water surface of the lake opposite. But they can also be attractive for architectural photography, self-portraits, and numerous other types of photos. So here are our top nine photography tips for reflections.


What is reflection photography?

Reflection photography is a type of photography that uses reflective surfaces. This makes it possible to frame the main subject and a surface that reflects it. Some photographers capture the reflection alone, while others include the subject in the frame.

If you want to perfect the craft of reflection photography, use the following tips. But before we dive into our top nine tips, let's give reflection photography a quick refresher.


reflection surfaces

Mirrors aren't the only reflective surfaces. To find the best spots for your reflection photos, you should know some surfaces that can creatively mirror your subject.

  • Water: Puddles, pools, and lakes are some of photographers' favorite reflective surfaces. They are ideal for a natural aesthetic.
  • Glass: Windows or panes of glass can do a great job of reflecting the landscape and the particular subject you're trying to capture.
  • Polished surfaces: Polished counters, tables, or even floors can also create an artistic reflection of your subject. It may not be as crystal clear as that of a mirror, but the effect will definitely be dramatic.


Tips for capturing reflections

Here are some techniques to help you create great reflection photos when it comes to reflections:

1. Choose your topic

Before you get too focused on finding the best reflective surface, remember that the star of your photo should be the subject, not the reflection. Therefore, determine the main theme that you want to use in your image. For example, it can be a landscape setting, such as a wooden bridge, mountains on the horizon, or bright city lights over the lake. Or it could be something smaller, like a single tree or a person. Just imagine how stunning your subject is when its reflection is captured perfectly..


2. Choose the best reflective surface

There are many reflective surfaces around you. Whether it is a body of water or a polished surface. Even small reflective objects, like sunglasses or a glass of wine, can make a great reflective surface.


3. Make sure you are not in the reflection

Reflective surfaces reflect everything including yourself when you are in the frame. One of the most common mistakes in reflection photography is catching yourself in the reflection. No matter how beautiful the photo, this small flaw can affect your image very negatively if your own reflection in the image wasn't planned. Therefore, choose an angle where you do not appear in the reflection..

4. Not too much sun

If the sun is in the picture, the light can spoil the whole shot. Their intense brightness will most likely overpower the rest of the composition. If you're shooting outdoors and need sunlight to illuminate your subject, then you want to make sure you're shooting at the right angle to keep the sun out of the frame.

Rollei Lensball

5. Keep it minimal

Another technique that can bring out the effect of reflection photography is to remove all distractions from the image. You can focus your composition solely on the subject and its reflection for dramatic effect. This technique works, for example, when you use a body of water to reflect the main element that is in focus while blurring the background (such as the bokeh effect).

Rollei Lensball

6. Always include both the real object and its reflection in the frame

While it's not a bad idea to just focus on the reflection of a specific object, capturing the target object along with its reflection can create an even more artistic effect.

7. Accept bias

You don't have to be such a great perfectionist that you only accept straight or smooth and reflective surfaces in your image. It's okay if your primary element's reflection is distorted by surface features like ripples on a pond. The distorted image can add an interesting effect to the foreground of your image.


8. Take close-up photos

A good idea is to try in thenear the reflective surface photograph to emphasize the reflective part of the image in your composition.

Rollei Lensball

9. Use long exposure

If you use moving water as a reflective surface, you can at long-term recordings achieve breathtaking effects. To achieve that, you need to work with longer exposure times by setting your camera to a slow shutter speed. The long exposure creates diffuse reflections that lead to a dreamlike atmosphere in the picture. Above all, you should have a good tripod so that your camera is absolutely secure and the wind, for example, does not cause the picture to shake. You can then experiment with aperture, lens and different ISO values for the best results.


With camera shutters like thatMIOPS smart camera trigger, to theMobile RemotePlus or themobile dongle you can convert long recordings extremely easily. These shutter releases control your camera remotely via a mobile app, which is crucial to avoid shake during recording. In addition to the possibility of your long exposure settings to adapt, these devices have other interesting recording functions.


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