Incorporating reflections in your shots is a great way to create balance, harmony and symmetry. What’s more, the reflection itself can become the foreground interest in your landscape shots. And just like all techniques, there are ways to master this one too. In this video, Mark Denney gives you five tips (and bonus tip) for getting perfect reflections in your landscape photos.
1. Shoot vertical
Shooting at a vertical orientation lets you incorporate a lot more of the reflection in the shot. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should always shoot vertically, but it’s a great way to capture more of that wonderful reflection.
Should you use filters or not? And which ones? Mark reflects on this topic as well, and one of the most debated filters is certainly a circular polarizer. It takes away the reflections from the water surface, so why would you even use it if you want those reflections in an image? Well, you can leave it out, but in some cases it be your best friend. You can turn the filter so that it still shows some of the reflections, but it also reveals the details below the water surface, which can look absolutely stunning.
And what about neutral density (ND) filters? You can incorporate them too, so you can slow down your shutter speed a bit and get a much smoother surface of the water, which will give you some wonderful reflections.
Ideally, shooting in the morning or evening is the best because the water is the most peaceful then. Also, you won’t have bright sunlight reflections glistening on the water surface. You want the wind to be below 3-5 mph. You can use weather apps to determine when the best time will be for you to shoot.
4. Get low and close
Mark says that he applies this to many shooting scenarios, and it’s also useful for shooting reflections. You can move your camera around and find the best angle to shoot. This will also create those photos where there is no actual subject in the frame, only its reflection. Mark says that he loves photos like that – and I do too!
5. Break the rules
Break the composition rules – ditch the rule of thirds, feel free to put the horizon in the middle, as you don’t want to cut off that reflection.
Bonus tip: focusing
Usually focusing on the reflection itself is, in most cases, the best way to get the ideal focus. Mark also recommends using the aperture between f/11 and f/16 so that you have the whole scene in focus. You can also focus on the foreground, then on the background, and focus stack them in Photoshop.
When I was just starting out with photography, I was obsessed with reflections. And I must admit that I kinda still am (the photos in this article are mine). I love shooting reflections, and I think that they can contribute to the images a lot. In fact, sometimes a reflection can even be a subject on its own.
How do you feel about reflections? Do you enjoy experimenting with them, too?