Shooting Reflections

by Sue Barthelow

Almost Still Water
Almost Still Water


City Scene
City Scene in Window

Marina in Window
Marina in Window

Reflections abound, so give it a try. In fact, try out all kinds of reflections. You may find a new favorite style of photographing.

Where do you find reflective surfaces? Here are some ideas.

  • We're all familiar with water surface reflections. Besides the obvious reflections often seen on a pond or lake, why not give puddles and wet pavement a try?
  • Going to the sea shore? See if you can find a reflection on the wet sand as the surf recedes.
  • Interested in glass? Check out glass tabletops, high-rise building windows, any clean window, car rear view mirrors, mirrors in general, and even shiny drinking glasses.
  • Any shiny surface will give a reflection. Look at an ice cube, a piece of aluminum foil, the polished surface of a car, and a shiny piece of metal.
  • Looking for a challenge? Find a reflection on a rain drop, a standing bead of water or even a soap bubble.

Here are some tips when taking photos of reflections.

  • Use a small aperture (high f-stop) to get a large depth of field if the picture is a landscape. You probably want your entire scene to be in focus.
  • Use a large aperture (small f-stop) for a portrait or close-up shot.
  • Don't use a flash unless its reflection is your subject.
  • Use an uneven reflective surface if you want an artsy look caused by the surface distortions. For abstract water reflections, look for slightly disturbed water. The more the water moves, the more abstract the reflections will be.
  • Use an undisturbed, flat reflective surface if you want a near perfect reflection.
  • Look for interesting shots of birds swimming in still water to get a great bird reflection as well as the ripples caused by the swimming.
  • Use a polarizing filter to remove reflected light. You'll get a clearer image, which will also improve the colors.
  • Place the light source behind you to intensify the colors.

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