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Instantly Interesting Photographs with Reflections

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 stuffall 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.

Reflections-1

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.”

Reflections-2
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.

Reflections-4
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.

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