All You Need To Know About Reflection In Photography

The art of photography is all about capturing the unique elements within mundane surroundings. Most photographers manipulate reality to achieve this objective by altering light or playing with different angles. Reflection photography is an example of the latter.

Using this approach, photographers capture objects and their reflections to create a breathtaking image. This is meant to create illusions or amplify the photo and its surroundings. This article will discuss reflection in photography in detail, so you can take stunning images.

What Is Reflection In Photography?

Reflection photos capture the reflective surface of any object, landscape, or subject. This is often seen in landscape photos; the mountain is reflected on the water and caught on camera. Or when the reflection of a building is captured through a puddle on the street. It can even apply when photographers capture self-portraits in front of a shop window.

Reflection photos are really meant to help viewers see ordinary objects in an exciting way and draw them to the image. The medium doesn’t necessarily need to be a mirror, window, or water. It’s up to the photographer to be creative and see how to capture the reflection in different objects, such as tiles, cutlery, and more.

Learn More About > What is Culling In Photography?

Why Is Reflection Important In Photography?

There are several reasons why knowing how to take reflection photos can be necessary as a photographer, some of the main ones being:

01. To Create Depth

The biggest reason to utilize reflection in a photo is to add depth to it. Even subtle reflections from small puddles can help amplify the foreground, background, and midground, making the image feel dimensional. Moreover, using long exposure is the best way to make your reflection look smoother.

02. To Capture Symmetry

Countless studies have concluded that humans find symmetry very attractive in faces, flowers, and landscapes. For this, it’s important to determine the optimal angle for the shot you’re trying to take. Keep experimenting until you decide what the ideal angle is.

03. To Create Abstract Images

Reflection photos help create a lot of intrigue and mystery and can be open to interpretation. The more creativity you apply to the image, the more interest it’ll generate for the viewer. They may want to know more about where this was taken, what it is, and how it was taken. You can experiment with colors, textures, shapes, and reflections to truly capture astounding photos.

The best way to find such compositions is to be observant of your surroundings, look everywhere, and keep an open mind. Try seeing the uniqueness in everyday environments and objects, and capture them from a new perspective.

04. To Form Textures

The best thing about reflective objects is that you can find such lovely textures depending on how you utilize them. When you capture the reflection photo, you can add more texture and color to the image. For example, a shawl flying in the air reflected in a puddle. When capturing the photo, that mirrored texture will enhance the overall composition, creating a highly appealing image.

05. To Capture Impactful Photos

One of the biggest reasons photographers utilize reflection in their photographs is because it adds enthusiasm to the photo. Taking a photo without using reflection from a source may look all right, but capturing the same picture with a reflective element will enhance the overall composition, making it more impactful. It may be in simple details, like the slight reflection of a street lamp in a puddle.

Types of Reflection Photography

There are four main types of reflection photos you can take:

Natural reflections:

As the name suggests, these types of reflections are found in natural elements, like waterscapes. An example of such reflection photos is capturing birds flying over a pond; their reflection is shown in the water below them.

Architectural reflections:

These are reflections that occur on architectural exteriors. For example, a picture of an antique store reflected on the glass building opposite it.

Surreal reflections:

These reflections aren’t evident and must be seen with a creative lens. For example, it’s raining, and you can see a monument reflected in a water puddle.

Abstract reflection:

Abstract reflections are those where you can see parts of a subject reflected in an object just enough to see its lines, colors, or pattern without actually knowing what it is. For example, a colorful house is captured through a water reflection, with only colors and prominent wavy lines.

Tips for Getting Reflection in Photography

There are several easy and creative ways to capture elite reflection photos, such as:

01. Pick the Right Location

Though you can get great images by utilizing your creativity in any space, picking a location where everything is in order is essential. Ensure that the lighting, structures, and spacing, are all optimal, so you don’t need to struggle to capture the image.

02. Select A Reflective Surface

You can quickly be different kinds of subjects that produce fantastic reflections. Whether a novice or an expert, it’s always best practice to try out all types of reflective surfaces to figure out which is your forte. Focus on the ones that inspire you most and seem unique to you. Here are the different reflective surfaces to consider:


The best place to start is by capturing reflections in windows. These are great, to begin with, since you can find them pretty much anywhere, and there’s usually a lot of light around them. You can get creative with it and try to capture different scenes daily, whether it be your reflection in a window or something else.

Shiny Surface

You can find several shiny surface types that are reflective. Try out different textures, such as Christmas ornaments, spoons, a tea kettle, or a glass bottle. An essential tip for experimenting with shiny surfaces for reflection photos is to utilize a long exposure and a tripod. Set the aperture to f/16 so everything is clear and focused.

Water’s Surface

Water is the best for reflection photography. If you’re capturing the reflection of a water scene, schedule your shoot in the morning, as the water body is quite still in the morning.


Capturing the sky through a reflection will always create a mesmerizing and aesthetically pleasing photo. There are many ways to do so, such as through a body of water or makeshift reflective surfaces, such as your mobile screen.


Puddles are a fan favorite amongst reflection photographers. It’s great to capture reflections of people or buildings in a pool after a rainstorm. You can experiment with angles and more.


Mirrors are a no-brainer when looking for ways to capture reflection photos. There are several ways to capture reflections in mirrors, such as directly or from below. Experiment till you find an interesting composition.


Metal is an excellent way to capture reflections. The metal used on jewelry, cars, and silverware are all options for creating unique compositions.

03. Combine Reality and Reflection

Though it’s tempting to just focus on the reflection in photos, you can achieve great results by also showing a bit of reality. Adding just small reflections can heighten your composition, adding depth and appeal to it.

04. Simplify the Frame

The best part about taking reflection photos is that you don’t need many things to fill the frame. The reflection itself is all you need to make the photo pop! Make it the star of your shot, limiting the addition of other things in the frame.

05. Get Close to the Reflective Surface

If you want to emphasize the subject in the reflection, the best thing to do is get close to the reflective surface.

06. Focus on Symmetry

A powerful tool for reflection photos is symmetry, as you’ll find lots of opportunities for playing with it. Emphasizing it can produce a dramatic effect.

07. Add Blur to the Image

Only focusing on the reflection and blurring everything else is a great way to emphasize the subject. Moreover, long exposure can help slightly blur the image, adding to its dreaminess.

08. Choose Adequate Equipment

To take reflection photos like a pro, you will need to have the right equipment, including:

  • Tripod
  • Shutter Release Cable
  • Props
  • Wide Angle Lenses

09. Find a Focal Point

It’s best practice to make the reflection the focal point instead of the subject being reflected, especially when shooting flowers, the sky, or the sun, as that helps create a more dramatic and fascinating composition.

10. Try Longer Shutter Speeds

The longer your shutter speed is, the smoother your reflection photo will be. It can look stunning depending on the angles and the reflective object (especially if it’s a liquid). When your shutter speed is several seconds long (perfect being 16), your photo is more well-lit, and everything will be in better focus.

11. Limit Glare

Try shooting in the early morning hours to limit glare in reflection photos. The sun is lower, creating less glare, with a beautiful sky in the background. Other ways to lessen glare in such images are to look for the best angle, utilize a polarizer, or use a lens hood.

12. Use Variable Aperture

Having the space to play around with your aperture is excellent, as it will let you get the perfect composition. Start wide, slowly changing it will you’ve hit the sweet spot. This is where you get to use your creativity and either keep the whole reflection in focus or just a part of it.

13. Try Out a Polarizing Filter

Getting a polarizing filter is a great way to control light in reflection photos. It evens out exposure, especially when there’s a significant variation between the light around the reflection and the reflection itself.

14. Capture Movement

For an awe-inspiring reflection photo, try incorporating movement within the composition. This could be a bird captured flying past the reflective surface or a person running or cycling next to a puddle or window. A great way to make things more interesting is pouring water onto the reflection as well.

15. Edit the Image

Of course, to truly bring out the essence of a photograph, editing is needed. It helps bypass the camera’s limitations and the surrounding variables, such as colors, blur, lighting, and more. Editing your reflection photos will help you emphasize the subject even more.

Where Can You Market Reflection Photos?

Reflection photos are very aesthetically pleasing and can be used by many people for many purposes, such as in blogs, to teach others about symmetry or movement, and more. Here are some simple ways to market your photography:


Create a personal website, and add a portfolio of your reflection photos.

Stock photos:

There are several websites selling pictures for commercial use, and look for all kinds of photographs.

Sell prints of your work:

Create a social media page and let people know you’re selling your images. Moreover, you can display them in an art or photo gallery for people to view and buy.

Wrapping Up

Reflection photographs are always intriguing to laypeople, viewers, and photographers, as they are creative, aesthetically pleasing, and mesmerizing.

There are several things to consider when capturing reflection photos, with the main ones being angles, the subjects, proximity, and lighting. Overall, explore and experiment till you get a unique composition!