We have all seen it, images that have a mirror effect. Cell phones pictures, movie posters, and many other product advertising all utilize this trick. It’s actually a very simple task to learn… I’m going to teach you how to quickly mirror your image in Photoshop.

  1. Bring the image you want to mirror into Photoshop. You can use just about any version of the app to do this. The shot works best if the item is over a simple white or black backdrop (glossy is best).
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 10.49.21 AM
  2. Create a new Document. This will allow you to customize the size of the photo itself. Choose File > New, and enter the dimensions you want for your effected image. Im chose to use a 10 inch x 8 inch canvas (but of course you can enter whatever dimensions you need for your project). For the Resolution, I used a print resolution of 300 pixels/inch.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.06.18 AM
  3. Switch back to your original photo and copy it to your clipboard to paste it into your new document. You can do this by the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A (Win) / Command+A (Mac) which will create a selection outline of the photo. Then use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C (Win) / Command+C (Mac) to save a copy on your clipboard.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 10.49.55 AM
  4. Switch back over to your new blank document so you can paste your photo onto the new document by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Win) / Command+V (Mac)
  5. If your photo is much larger then your document, then you will have to utilize the Free Transform tool to re-size. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac). Be sure to hold down your Shift key as you drag any of the corners of the photo until you have it sized how you want in your new document. Holding down the Shift key will constrain the aspect ratio of the image to keep it from distorting.
  6. After you have placed your image where you want it inside your new document, press Enter.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 10.50.48 AM
  7. Now comes the fun part, we can now add a guide to help to start the mirror process. Choose View > New Guide. You can either choose vertical or horizontal depending on your image. I also, by habit, always type in 50% for the position as a starting point. I am choosing horizontal so I can mirror the heels to create a reflective surface.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.09.01 AM
  8. Reposition your photo or guide to make room for the reflection. Select the Move tool from the top of the Tools palette, or press the keyboard shortcut letter V to quickly select it. Hold down the Shift key while you move your photo so that your image only moves in the vertical or horizontal direction in line with your guide. You can also adjust the placement of the guide as needed.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 10.56.24 AM
  9. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the top of the Tools palette, or the keyboard shortcut the letter M to select it. Drag a selection around the entire half of the document that you want to mirror.
    AScreen Shot 2013-09-19 at 8.11.34 AM
  10. Create a duplicate Layer by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac). This creates a copy of the selection and places it on a new layer directly above the previous layer.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.12.41 AM
  11. Next, press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to bring up the Free Transform command once again. You will see a little target symbol on your photo. Wherever we move that target symbol, it becomes the new rotation point. To tell Photoshop that you want to flip the image along the guide, simply click on the target symbol and drag it over to the guide where you placed it in the document.
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.02.47 AM
  12. Choose Edit > Transform, and then choose Flip Vertical(or Horizontal). Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac)
    Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.25.38 AM
  13. Finally to remove the guide, go up to the View menu and choose Clear Guides. To play with my mirroring effect, I will often adjust the opacity of my mirrored layer to create the desired look I’m going for.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 11.16.20 AM

Of course depending on your subject, the opacity may or may not be a factor in your final outcome. Adjust it to taste (and even perhaps apply a slight blur filter).


Disclaimer: This is just one way to achieve this technique in postproduction.