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Photography Lesson on Reflections - How to Photograph Reflections

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Photography Lesson on Reflections - How to Photograph Reflections

Reflection Photography Example - Example photo from lesson on reflection photography

© Liz Masoner, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Photographers seem to spend most of their lives trying to avoid reflections. Whether it is flash reflecting off of someone's glasses or a reflection of the photographer in the glass barrier at the zoo, reflections are often treated as the enemy. However, when used correctly, reflections can help create beautiful photographs. An old woman's face reflected in a window, a child gazing into a reflecting pool, trees reflected in swamp water, even a puppy staring at its own reflection in a mirror. The uses for reflections are as numerous as your imagination allows.

How to Photograph Reflections
There are three main things to remember when photographing reflections.
  1. Angles
    Light bounces in set angles. The shape of the surface the light bounces off of can adjust these angles. Pay attention to the shape of your reflective surface to help quickly establish where you should stand for a good reflection to be visible.

  2. Stray Reflections
    Just like you watch your background for stray objects, you need to watch your reflection for stray objects. When working with reflections a stray stick or duck in the water isn't a big deal, but that garbage can reflected along with your intended subject is messy. Pay close attention to your reflections to make sure nothing unintentional is reflected with your subject.

  3. Lighting
    When shooting reflections you'll often have to adjust your exposure a bit or use a fill flash to lighten up shadows. If you overexpose the reflective surface you'll loose the color (of water or of the reflected sky). Bracket your exposures to help ensure a good outcome.

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