Reflection photography is a very popular genre in photography. Using reflective surfaces like water, window glass, polished surfaces, mirrors, etc photographers can turn a simple frame into an artistic frame. You need to look around, observe and find the right frame using reflection. A lot of creativity comes into play when you put your thought process on how to use reflection for changing an ordinary frame into a unique one.
The basic equipment required are fast lenses, preferably with wide aperture f/2.8 and tripod (for long exposure shots). I prefer to use a wide-angle lens while shooting architectural reflection shots as it allows me to more freedom while composing the shots with maximum reflection coverage.
The most common reflection frame is using water with architecture as the subject. Contrasting subject with bright colours are always preferable. If the subject has decorative lights. Then evening/ night time is the most suitable time to take such shots with the lights giving a magic touch to the frame. Try to look for symmetry with maybe a small subject breaking the symmetry at a particular point. One point to be noted while taking water reflection shots is trying to get the shots while the water is still as you will get sharp reflection images. But in most cases, there will be certain water movement due to the wind blowing over it. Try to use fast shutter speed to eliminate the water movement as much as possible with higher ISO if needed. Depending on your camera choose the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
Below are two such examples of how water creates magic.
Below are three examples where the reflective surfaces provide us with some unique frames. The first one is the oil of lamp which provides the frame, the second one is the sunglass and the third one is the glass top of an outdoor restaurant table. In the first two cases, I have used manual focusing which was required to make the subjects in the reflection be prominent.
Sometimes refractive reflection can provide a unique frame. You can stage it like the image below. A tripod is a must in such shots with a wide aperture and manual focus to make the reflection stand out from the surrounding.
It is not always necessary that the reflection has to be at the bottom of the frame. You can eliminate the actual subject and invert the frame to create an abstract image.
You need to be patient and quick to take these sort of images as you get very less time to compose the shot. Here when I saw the reflection of the roof on the floor, I waited for a human subject to enter the frame and took around 4 to 5 shots as she was moving across the frame. From those shots this composition I liked best.
Window glass can provide a unique perspective of a normal image. Here I used a tripod to position my camera outside the window, used the camera LCD screen to compose the frame as it was near impossible to look through the viewfinder and used a remote shutter to trigger the shot.
The last image is again a creative use of reflection where the camera lens is considered as the eye of the camera. Here an image of an eye is placed in front of the camera and its reflection is captured on the lens glass.
In conclusion, I would like to say that use your maximum imagination for composing reflection shots. The composition is the key element here. The technical aspect comes after that. Shoot with one-stop underexposed. You can bring out the details in an underexposed shot through editing but never an overexposed shot. Happy clicking.