Including Reflections in Your Images

There is an old adage that “two is better than one”. Like most old adages, there are exceptions to the adage. For example, I just used the word “adage” twice in the same sentence and it sounds kind of crummy. Nevertheless, from a photography perspective, I think Taylor Swift was really onto something when she coined this timeless phrase.

Including a mirror image reflection of a subject can result in a pretty cool picture. I regularly look for reflections in water, mirrors, windows and other reflective surfaces when out shooting pictures. Here are some examples:

Reflections in Water – Landscape photographers regularly use reflections in water as an important compositional element. In most cases, you will want to avoid cutting the reflection in half, so you might have to bend or break the “rule of thirds”, sometimes putting the horizon line dead center in your composition.

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Fishing on the Li : Prints Available

Chinese cormorant fisherman on his boat

Reflections in Mirrors – The shape of the sign and mirrored reflection is what makes the image below (somewhat) interesting. When using a wide-angle lens, you often have to be careful to keep yourself and your camera out of the reflection while also keeping interesting elements in the reflection.

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Reflection on Wacker Drive : Prints Available

Color rendition of a reflection in a sign on Wacker Drive

Reflections in Windows – I did an earlier blog on “watching the windows” when composing, so this is a bit of a repeat. Notice how the reflection in the windows adds color and contrast to the subject.

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Church on the Coast : Prints Available

Red and white coastal church with the beginning of a beautiful sunset overhead

Creative Use of Other Reflective Surfaces – In the shot below, the reflection is the subject, as opposed to complementing the subject. Reflective use of shiny surfaces, such as black plexiglass, is often used in product photography and even portraits.

The Beach

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