how to do reflection photography

Tips for Reflection Photography That You Should Know

When the first time I shoot weddings there is no one tell me about tips for reflection photography, I ever saw it in a magazine back couple years ago but I never know how to make an interesting image just like in that magz. Till I found my mentor Ricky who owned one of the best wedding photography company in Bali called Ricky & Co.

He’s telling me that the clue of having a reflection photography is our self awareness about surrounding cause we can use many things to make this amazing technique. We live in a world of reflection so almost every single item in this world are able to reflect something.

Now let see the mirror cause this gonna be the first tool that everyone wonder able to reflect something but if you aware about others than you will find wine glass, aquarium, water in the pool, eyes, floor, and etc. So if you want to do reflection photography no matter in what niche you working for just remind to stay aware with your surrounding.

In my official photography blog I post a lot of images in weddings and engagement and I shot my wedding assignment in the first time was in 2008, and till now wedding photography become of my way of life and for sure the way how I satisfy every single couple that put trust for their big day documentation.

Reflection Photography Tips and Tricks

Here in this post I would like to share to you about some of my reflection photography technique that you can do by your own and how I use simple tools that able to help me to create an amazing moments.

1-Using a water in the pool

reflection photography

I got the image above during my engagement session in Puri Asri Resort in Magelang, Central Java Indonesia, when my couple asked me to come to their villa I found a pool in just nearby their room. If you gonna do the picture like this than these is how to do it:

  1. Turn of the water pump so there is no bubble or wave on the water
  2. Make sure you got a nice composition, and
  3. Rotate your photo

If you see in detail that it is impossible for me to shoot without rotating the photo, so what I did is just looking for a composition till I found 2 coconut leaves that connected looks like a ‘love heart’ and I pose my couple on it. In the post production you can adjust the color temperature, highlights, and shadow than rotate it to finalize. Here I used an amazing Lightoom presets called Forever Thine that you can buy for just US$26, by the way it comes with 112 presets that you use in your post production work.

I shot in a RAW mode with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and using 70-200 f2.8 L series lens, here I got a data as 70mm of focal length, f number 4, and exposure time 1/80.


2-Using table glass

how to do reflection photography

Shooting like my image above is pretty easy cause all you need to do is just looking for any table glass nearby. Since I shot this engagement session in water villa room in Angsana Velavaru, Maldives for sure I can find table glass easily, you know that almost hotel’s room will provided to all the guest right, and what I did in this scene are:

  1. Posing my couple in such comfort spot, here I got their king size bed and let them lay down so close each other
  2. Put the table glass in front of the bed and shoot in a low angle
  3. Make sure all the composition and perspective great so you can get the picture like mine

Here I use a Photoshop to finalize my photo and for sure I shot in a RAW mode to get the best image before post production. I did simple retouching such as re-balancing the perspective, set the color contrast, highlight and shadow, and Boom! it’s done. If you’re a person that got no knowledge at all in photoshop than I recommend you to learn this 36 Photoshop step by step, through this tutorials you can learn how to use Photoshop easily even you know nothing about it.

I still using my 5D Mark III camera but here I use 16-35 mm f2.8 L series lens, here I got a data as 18 mm focal length, f number 2.8 really need this set up cause I shoot in a room with low light, and got exposure time of 1/20. Be careful with the exposure time cause 1/20 is really dangerous on your hand, so what I did is just put my camera on the table (using table glass for the tripod) and click the camera shutter gently.

Another table glass technique that I use is my self portrait image below…

what to use in reflection photography

Here I use my EOS M mirrorless camera and put it in a table glass of the restaurant, I use timer feature to shoot me and my wife and got this reflection photography image beautifully, by the way my wife love this image so bad!


3-Using a cellphone LCD

simple reflection photography

What you will see here is a really simple reflection photography tricks that everyone can do, why? cause it only use your own cellphone LCD.

I shoot this moment while having a blessing ceremonial in Indonesia past April, the corridor is quite narrow and I got no space at all to find any reflected thing like mirror or table glass. So what I did here is pick up my iPhone 6S and hold it on my left hand while m y right hand is pushing the camera shutter.

All you need to do here is try to move up and down than tilt it so you can get the best reflection on the LCD. Here I got a data as 17mm focal length, f number 4, and exposure time 1/100 it’s only JPEG image format that bring thousands of memories to my couple.

When you taking a shot like this please remind to have a wide lens on your camera bag, bigger f number will be better cause you can have the sharp image and nice contract through it. When you using Canon than you can bring 16-35mm f2.8 L series lens but if you using Nikon than the most gorgeous 14-24mm f2.8 nano lens will be amazing.

Don’t forget to clean up your cellphone LCD from finger prints or any dust that will disturb you reflection images. Make it simple, get clear and always try different angle to get your best photos.

Fortunately you can use any kind of reflection no matter it is cloud, trees, flower, or even street light

4-Using car glasses and capture the reflection of some clouds

reflection photography tips and tricksThis gonna be the last reflection photography tips that I’m gonna share with you, it is truly simple and you can do it easily no matter where you are.

I got this image on my engagement session located in Yogyakarta Indonesia, I drove my car to the south and got a sand dun spots called Gumuk Pasir.

All I did in this scene is posing my couple next to their car and I found a window from other side which has a cloud reflection on its mirror.

Here I shoot naturally with available light and using a simple 43 inch reflector (it is truly cheap cost only US$19.94 on Amazon) just to direct the sun light.

I got a data as 50 mm of focal length, f number 1.8, and exposure time 1/1250, using this 50 mm fix lens is amazing, quite cheap but you can got a nice image through it (it cost only US$125 on Amazon).

Fortunately you can use any kind of reflection no matter it is cloud, trees, flower, or even street light. Just like a said before, to do this simple reflection photography technique you just to be aware with your surroundings and I believe your creativity will solve this challenge. Do more practice on to get the best result on this technique and try to set in different angle so you can get the new impression of your images.

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  • I wrote a review about Lightroom preset that I regularly use in my wedding photo post production and you can see how useful this presets and my before-after images on this article
  • If you just start your photography business and only bring a simple photography gear than I recommend you to use only the best shoulder camera bag, see my recommendation here

I will keep share my photography journey and tips here in my blog, if you willing to receive my recent article notification than you can sign your name or simply leave a comment below to say hi to me or asking some reflection photography tips that I know as well.

Cheers and see you soon

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