Everyone can take a picture, but the challenge is not just to capture what your camera sees but what you as a photographer see! In this case we’re talking about reflective photography. A reflection is like a trick of the mind where something fairly straightforward is combined with an element of surprise, capturing your imagination. And reflections are everywhere, that is, once you notice them. You’ll find them on any shiny, reflective surface, like water or even the bonnet of your safari vehicle.
Reflective photography creates more depth and enough confusion to challenge the viewer and make your pictures more interesting. Here are a few tips from Peter Geraerdts at Track and Trail River Camp for shooting reflections.
1. Focus on the reflection
Adjust the settings on your camera to use only one focus point and set the focus on the reflection. When shooting autofocus, the camera will probably focus on the reflecting subject instead of the reflection. Focus manually and focus on the reflection to prevent blurry pictures.
2. Keep it simple
Simple compositions are very appealing because the viewer gets immediately drawn to the subject. With nothing but empty space in the rest of your picture, there’s nothing to distract attention from the subject.
3. Angle of shooting
You can shoot totally different images of the same subject depending on the angle you choose. If you shoot a subject reflected in the water, try to shoot from a low angle. Your camera should be positioned near the surface of the water.
4. Depth of field
In general, use a large depth of field to make sure you have both the reflection and also the main subject reasonably sharp. Set your camera to aperture priority to control the depth of field. To get better depth of field while maintaining a good shutter speed, use a higher ISO when shooting a reflection.
5. Place your horizon for maximum effect
There are plenty of options, however these three usually work well.
1. Horizon in the upper third of the image to accentuate the reflection.
2. Centralising the horizon will draw the viewer to the subject and the reflection.
3. Excluding the horizon, in which case you only shoot the reflection.
Explore reflective photography to expand your imagination and give your creativity a boost – and also to remind viewers that reality is not always what it seems.
See more of Peter’s stunning photos on his online portfolio.