September 07, 2011

Thoughts on reflections

The example of a reflective shot in the previous post show-cases some of the distinctive effects you can achieve by shooting into some reflective surface:
- The image acquires a tint from the color of the reflective surface. If strong enough the original colors are drained out and you get a two-toned image*
- the reflected image becomes structured by the uneven surface*
- you can use the frame of the reflector for creating a frame around your subject that's often astonishing, like a puddle after rain.
- you can play objects on the surface against the reflected image of the background in ways that are often not possible without the reflector (like your own person, or clouds that reflect in water or other wet surfaces)

And there are other quite interesting effects that do not show up in this specific example:
- Esp. when shooting against wet surfaces on ground level while standing on them you create the illusion of a "submerged" vantage point. For this effect to work properly it helps to display the image upside down so that the reflected subjects appear in their normal upright position.
- You can show the front and the (reflected) backside of a subject at the same time, sort of "bending the light" around your subject
- With curved reflectors (like Christmas tree balls) you get a strong warping of the subject
- Capturing the original and the reflected subject in one image creates symmetry
- Or you use the reflective surface simply to project additional (colored, structured) light on your subject. Which seems the least "intrusive" way of using a reflector.

Btw. If you want to find all my blogposts related to the topic of reflections simply click on the label "reflection" under this post or head over to the page "Use Keyword Search!" and click on the respective keyword there.
There you can find further examples of the effects described above.

*does not work when you use a mirror, so mirrors are not as interesting as other reflective surfaces.

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