They can be beautiful, surreal, abstract or a combination of all three, reflections are a powerful way convey emotion or provoke thought in your images. In this article we are going to take a look at how to use reflections in your compositions and indeed how to break compositional rules, using reflections.
How to Find Opportunities for Reflection Photos That Pop
Let's start off with that favorite of the landscape photographer, water. Reflections in water can leading to beautiful images. However, finding the right time and place to get a great water reflection can be difficult. Your best option is enclosed waters such as lakes and ponds, preferably sheltered from the wind. Even the slightest breeze can add disruptive ripples to the surface of water, and whilst in some circumstances this can be good, in others it can ruin the shot.
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If there are some small ripples on the water surface you can try to reduce these by using a long exposure rather than a shorter one. You can even shoot multiple exposure and combine them as an HDR image. You will, of course need a steady tripod to ensure maximum sharpness.
Another useful addition when shooting reflections in nature are graduated filters. Because the body of water will be darker than the sky it is reflecting, a neutral grad can help any excessive brightness in the sky.
You can also just use the reflection on its own as an image. In this case it is sometimes best to have some small ripples in the water surface, just to enough to hint to your viewers that the image is a reflection.
Looking for Non-Water Reflections
Of course water is not the only reflective surface. Everywhere we go there are reflections, windows, marbled and metal surfaces, the scope is immense. We can use reflections to show off our main subject, for example a famous landmark reflected in a window, or even to just to hint at something. You don’t need to have a perfect reflection, by using curved reflective surface you can create great abstract images that make people question what they are seeing.