1. Find a reflective surface.
The first thing you need to find for a reflection photo is a reflective surface. There are many different surfaces that you can use to capture reflections, and once you train your eye you’ll start to notice reflections everywhere! Some of the most beautiful reflection photos are created using water. When you’re out in nature or even in a city you can look for reflections in large bodies of water such as harbours, lakes, ponds and rivers and canals. You can capture wonderful sky reflections in these situations. The more interesting the sky, the more beautiful the reflection will be.
You can also find great reflection photo opportunities in many other situations. After a rain storm, venture outdoors and use the puddles on the ground to your advantage. You can capture amazing reflections even in the smallest of puddles.
A tiny puddle can be incredibly effective if you shoot from the right angle. Try crouching down and shooting from a very low angle. If you have a macro lens for your camera, you could even try capturing reflections in tiny water droplets.
Mirrors, glass, windows, a car windshield, sunglasses and the screen of a phone or tablet can also work wonders for reflection photography.
2. Photographing reflections during golden hour.
Sometimes it will be the colors and tones in the reflections that provide the most visual interest in the photo. Photographing water or other reflective surfaces during golden hour (just after sunrise and just before sunset) is often the best time to capture stunning colors in your reflections.
If the sky has dramatic cloud formations or beautiful colors, it’s likely to make a great reflection in water, glass, metal or any other shiny surface.
Look for ways to bring out the natural colors in the reflection that you have chosen so that they become the main feature by shooting from different angles to capture the light from the best viewpoint.
Adjust the exposure setting on your camera if necessary so that the reflection colors are captured in your photo.
3. Include an interesting subject.
Of course, once you’ve found a nice reflective surface, you need to have an interesting subject to capture as a reflection. Using a human for a subject is always attention grabbing, especially if they’re wearing bright colored clothing or you capture them in an interesting pose.
Trees, buildings, animals, bicycles, boats and bridges can all be great subjects to use in your reflection photos.
4. Create your reflection photos using symmetry.
Symmetrical compositions can be incredibly striking and pleasing to the eye. There’s a sense of balance and harmony in a symmetrical image, and because reflections naturally create a mirror image within the scene, you can easily use them to create powerful symmetry in your photos. Usually when creating a symmetrical photo, the image is divided in half with the line of symmetry going either horizontally or vertically. This creates a perfect mirror image.
5. Experiment with different angles and viewpoints.
The great thing about reflections is that you can create so many different photos by changing the angle and viewpoint that you shoot from.
One option is to get really close to the reflective surface to eliminate all of the surroundings in the scene. That way you capture just the reflection of your subject that creates a powerful reflection image.
Another option is to shoot from a distance so that you include the reflection, the subject and some of the surroundings in the frame.
6. Capture unique texture in your reflection photos.
Rather than always photographing still bodies of water, capturing ripples and waves on the water’s surface can help you capture interesting textures and patterns in your reflection photos.
If you’re photographing a still body of water, you could make your own waves by moving your hand around in the water or using a stick to make splashes. Or try throwing a stone into the water to create circles and ripples to get a variety of reflections.