Reflections 100

Reflections should be on your short list of images to make every time you go shooting. These are the steps for making a reflection picture like the one above.

Step 1: Frame Your Mind

Firstly, you’ve got to have photography on your mind, you’ve got to be looking for a picture. I was wandering around at the Newark International airport waiting for my flight when I noticed a woman wearing hot red high heels. I thought to myself, Those shoes would make an interesting subject…. That got me thinking about what picture I could make, and what picture I could convince the woman wearing the shoes to make. While I was stewing on the picture, I planted a seed when I said, “Wow, those are great looking’ shoes,” and she said, “Thanks!”

Step 2: Find a Surface

I looked around me and saw lots of busy airport stuff—all things that would be distracting as a background. Then I noticed the single strip of black tile I was standing on, and realized that a reflection image would eliminate much of the distracting background stuff.

Step 3: Be Ready

The most important part of inviting a stranger to make a picture is having everything ready beforehand. So, I knelt down, and made a few frames to get the exposure and framing ready.

I learned from Ryan Schembri that when making a reflection picture, the closer you get to the reflective surface, the more reflective it becomes. In my experience, this makes all surfaces much more reflective, and even mirror like. For instance, with my closed Macbook on the table, if I bring my eyes down to the tabletop level, then even brushed surface of the Macbook becomes a perfect mirror.

So at the airport, I put my camera flat on the floor to be very near the reflective surface, and this is the image I got.


Step 4: The Pitch

Next, I sat down across from the woman and said, “My name is Levi, I’m a photographer, and I write articles to teach other photographers. I’m working on an article about reflections, and I think your shoes would make a great subject. Would you make a picture with me over here on these tiles?” and she said, “Sure that sounds interesting.”


Lumix GH4, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, f/2, 1/200s, ISO 400, Finished in Lightroom and Nik Analog Efex Pro 2.

Since I’d already gotten ready, I showed her exactly where to stand, I knelt down, framed the image, asked her to point her feet one way and another, and we were done. This snapshot shows where we were making the picture.

I hope this this helps you make reflection pictures next time you’re out shooting. I think this will really help me be creative in my photo walks, portraits, weddings, and nature work. Just get your camera close to the surface, and shoot away.

See more of Levi’s articles here, and join him on Twitter.

This Post Sponsored by: Be a kid in a camera store. Rent lenses, cameras, lighting and more from the original and best online photographic and video equipment rental company.  Use PHOTOFOCUS15 in the checkout special instructions to receive 15% off your next rental.


Photoshop World, the ultimate Photoshop, Photography & Lighting Conference. Las Vegas, NV, September 3-5.  Use the promo code PSWFOCUS414 to discount $50 OFF a full conference pass. Learn more in three days than you have in three years! 

Mosaic A complete solution for photographers using Lightroom who want to access, manage and share their photos on the go. You can easily view images with their iOS app or in your personal Google Drive account, and you can even star/flag images in the app and sync the changes back to Lightroom on your computer. Be sure to also check out the Lightroom Learning Center to learn new ways to work in Lightroom. Learn photography anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace—from bite-sized tutorials to comprehensive courses. Try free for 10 days by visiting Photofocus.

ViewBug  Stick With ViewBug & Photofocus throughout 2014 – because we’re announcing the biggest contest in Photofocus history — coming soon!

The HDR Learning Center Check out new ways to use High Dynamic Range photography to make compelling images. Free tutorials and posts to get results. Produced in partnership with HDRsoft.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Cool article. I’ve played around with reflections a little bit, but this is a good reminder of why they’re worth seeking out. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Interesting article Levi, specially the preparation for the shoot.

  3. Two lessons in one, fabulous! Great information for shooting reflections and how to talk to a stranger to ask them to be a model.


  4. Thanks, guys! We’d love to see your pictures on the Facebook and Google plus communities.

  5. I want to try that next time I go to the airport hehe! It’s simple yet beautiful :)


Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

About Levi Sim

Photography is my life, and I'd like my photography to be part of your life, too. Whether I make pictures with you or help you learn to make your vision pop out of the camera, I'm happy to help.


Boudoir, Commercial, Fashion, Photography, Portrait, Shooting, Shooting, Technique & Tutorials, Wedding