As you move around your reflective source, adjust your composition. Try your shot with objects in the foreground, center a subject in the reflection of a lake, or use the rule of thirds to position a building on one side of a puddle’s reflection. Don’t be afraid to look a little odd to passersby. The best angle might require you to squat inches from water collected in a storm drain, but that is a small price to pay for a breathtaking shot.
Learn to see water, reflections, windows, and mirrors in a new way. Once you do, the creative opportunities you can find are only as limited as your imagination.
Need-to-know tips about outdoor reflection photos.
A serene, glass-like pond won’t reflect anything on a day when its surface is disrupted by a downpour. But minutes after the storm stops, the water may be perfectly still and surrounded by trees that glisten with raindrops. As is often the case with photography, timing is a factor.
You can’t control the weather, but you can set yourself up for success with a good plan. Wind and anything else that can upset the smooth surface of lakes and ponds can be problematic. Winds are often calmer in the early morning or at dusk. Try those times if you want to capture mirror images of mountains, trees, and more. And, of course, check the weather report for rain.
Flat, reflective surfaces can be subject to midday glare from the sun. “The number one thing you want to avoid with reflective photography is glare,” Grobmeier explains. The vaunted golden hour, when light is diffused around sunrise and sundown, is a great time of day to get good light without the glare.
Note that with certain equipment and camera settings, you may be able to work at midday, or you can even capture reflection photography at night.
It can be a lot of work to line up the right angle on a building or mountain that reflects off a certain body of water. You can save yourself time and hassle with a little research.