This post dovetails with the weekly photo challenge – Reflections. I’ll be brief and to the point. Here are some things to keep in mind when photographing reflections. By the way, all of the images here are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission. If you are interested in one, just click on it to go to the gallery part of my website. If you have any questions or special requests, please contact me. Thanks for your interest!
- Seek out reflections, especially when the light is nice. Don’t worry about being cliche or boring. Reflections multiply a beautiful sky or other nicely lighted subject. They add zing to any photo. They also help to control contrasts, evening out the light and making exposure easier.
- Reflections can close shapes or complete patterns. Just look at the image below and imagine how the shadow and mountain would look without the reflection. They would make half a shape.
- As always, variety is the spice. In order to avoid the same old look of upside down subjects, move in close, angle your camera down to take in only the reflection, work the light and subject both. Do abstracts and close-ups. Try reflections off buildings and use bright rocks too. For times when the reflection is disturbed by wind, view them as opportunities to get a different kind of shot. Watch carefully what the light does as the wind blows.
- When you have a fairly standard situation, like for example a reflection of a mountain off a lake, try exposing for the reflection. Put your camera on manual and point the center of frame at the brightest part of the reflection (or if that is very bright just to the side of it). Set the aperture you want and then adjust shutter speed to center your light meter reading. Then move the camera to recompose and get the shot you want. Shoot and then review the image on the LCD, paying attention to the histogram. You want to make sure the histogram isn’t climbing up the right edge (overexposure) or way too far over to the left (underexposure).
- In general, reflections are a little dimmer than the light source. Remember that when you’re using a graduated neutral density filter, whether in the field or on the computer later. Using the example from the point above, keep the reflection from becoming brighter than the brightest areas of the sky.
- When the sun glints directly off the water, those often beautiful highlights are normally the same or very close to the brightness of the sun. So if they are blown out, so that they make the histogram hit the right edge, don’t worry about it. Just like you don’t worry about blowing out the sun, who cares if those details lack highlights?
- When you are shooting reflections in windows or mirrors out on the street, pay special attention to everything in the frame. Of course this is always a great idea, but it’s even more important with street shooting. Now I know it’s very cool to be surprised later on the computer when you see something you hadn’t noticed at the time. But in general you want to control what is appearing in your composition. It pays to be very observant with reflections.
I hope you are blessed with great reflections on your upcoming photography forays. In my opinion, they are worth their weight in gold. I also hope your weekend is as beautiful as ours is in the Pacific Northwest. The first weekend of spring, yippee!