As photographers, there’s nothing more fun than visual play – a well-placed shadow, distorted perspective, a filter over your lens, or even something as simple as a reflection. Reflections appear in the most delightfully surprising places and combined with your creative eye can bring you stunning results. Here are our best tips for photographing reflections – where to find them and techniques for getting the best image on your smartphone and beyond. Test your creative palate and get some amazing photos while you’re at it.

We’ll start with where to find reflections – then, scroll further down to find tips on technique:

Where to Find Reflections

Surfaces

Don’t limit yourself to shiny floors. Walls (think marble and stone), doorknobs, and cars are just a start. Keep an extra eye out for any glimmer when you’re out shooting.

Storefronts

A classic that is often paired with black and white photography. Reflections in store windows can make for fascinating compositions with the overlap of subjects inside and outside and the change of light from night to day.

Mirrors

An obvious choice, which makes it all the more fun to challenge your creativity. Bring in multiple mirrors or place them in unexpected places and angles – two ideas to start and run with.

Nature

Lakes and ponds will bring you the most pristine reflections, but there are even more places to find reflections in nature – ice where the temperature is right, dew (using a macro lens), an animal’s eye, or an ocean wave.

Rainy Days

Puddles are a reflection-seeker’s godsend. You can find them in fun and unexpected places, they stand perfectly still, and when it rains, there are so many to choose from!

Photo: Piciu Zen

Tips on Reflection Technique

Expose for the brightest portion

Reflections are tricky in that there is a lot happening with light – you’re working with a large range of brights and darks. To get the exposure right, expose for the brightest part of your photo. This will make sure you’ll get an image rich with tone. If you’re shooting on a phone, this is as simple as tapping on the brightest part of your photo.

Photo: kwe

Consider movement and long exposure

If you’re shooting a reflection in water, there’s a chance you’ll encounter movement – meaning wind or currents are causing ripples or waves. Something to consider here is how you want to capture that. A fast shutter speed will give you a slightly distorted view of what’s reflected, and a long exposure will give a smoother view.

Subjects and overlaying

When you’re shooting reflections in windows, you have the advantage of overlaying subjects in your photo. This means thinking about how you place the people and things on either side of the window.

Photo: Snev Rotbok

Compose to bring attention to the reflection

It’s tempting to focus on the real-life subject of a reflection – consequently, cropping out the reflection or only capturing a piece of it. Think about composition to really let the reflection shine.

Photo: kwe

Symmetry

When it comes to reflections, symmetry is naturally going to come into play – and playful, it is! Do your best to align your composition. If it’s not perfect on the first try, editing tools like the EyeEm app’s perspective and cropping tools will help you to get it just right.

Photo: Mr.H

This article was first published on EyeEm Blog and is reposted here with permission.