Photographing reflections

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Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:44 am


A reflection in the glazing of the One New Change retail and office complex next to St Paul's Cathedral, London. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:47 am


A reflection in the One New Change glazing Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:49 am


A reflection of St Paul's Cathedral in the windscreen of a passing bus. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:53 am


A reflection of St Paul's Cathedral in the windscreen of a passing coach. Photograph: David Levene for Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:56 am


A reflection of Trafalgar Square through the window of a passing bus. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:59 am


A reflection of the National Gallery in the water of a puddle in Trafalgar Square. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:02 am

Top tips: Photographing reflections

David Levene gives his top tips on photographing reflections, from getting the light right to dealing with distortion

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 31 January 2012 09.06 GMT


'Reflections are everywhere' ... A reflection in the glazing of the One New Change retail and office complex near St Paul's Cathedral. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

1. Good light. Often, in order to make the best of photographing a reflection, the subject should be well lit. If photographing a building reflected in a street window, or mirror, then it helps if the building is well illuminated in sunlight, or perhaps backlit. Then the building will be well defined against the sky, giving good conditions in order to pick out the reflection.

2. Focusing and depth of field can be critical in the overall appearance of a reflection. Focusing on the plane of the reflected surface won't necessarily mean the reflected image itself will be sharp. You will need to take into account two distances when calculating depth of field; distance from camera to mirrored surface plus the distance from mirrored surface to the subject matter being reflected.

3. Distortion. Often, mirrored images are distorted by uneven glass or fragmented reflective surfaces. Experiment with distortions. Slight changes in position can drastically alter the appearance of a reflection so try moving around to see how an image might develop.

4. Abstraction. Taking this one step further, it may be possible to entirely abstract the appearance of a reflected subject from its form in reality. Reflected images which are carefully composed and framed can become art-forms in their own right.

5. Reflections are everywhere. Glass windows, mirrors, highly polished surfaces, pools of water, even somebody's eyeball. Once you start looking for them you can find reflections of one kind or another everywhere around you.

6. Orientation. It is possible to play visual games with reflections. Of course reflected images are back-to-front and/or upside-down. You can sometimes use careful cropping or depth of field in order to hide the fact that it is a reflection at all. Also you can try turning your finished photograph upside-down for instance, to see how that changes its effect visually.

7. Mix reflections on glass with information visible through glass. Some of my favourite photographs of reflections are those that successfully mix reflected images with details in the scene that are not. For instance, if you shoot through a window of a bus say, then you can comprise an image of reflected images behind you, as well as details inside the bus and even things through the opposite window of the bus. With patience, random juxtapositions can develop to create intricate and sometimes surreal compositions.

8. Vanity. Photographs of people looking their own appearance in mirrors and windows can be funny and poignant. Extreme patience would no doubt be needed but a photographer might produce an interesting set of images of people "checking themselves out" in passing windows...

9. Still water, or rippled? Vastly different reflections will be created in bodies of liquid, depending on its stillness. Glass-like liquid surfaces will create perfect mirror images while gently moving and rippled water can give a more "impressionist" feel to a reflection.

10. Clean your surfaces. Potentially good photographs of reflections can be let down if the mirrored surface is dirty or dusty. In particular when strong lighting is used, dust on reflective surfaces can become a real problem.

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Re: Photographing reflections

Post  Guest on Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:16 am



By Manuel Sonseca (Rome 2002)

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