It’s all done with mirrors!

In essence, photography is all about recording the light reflecting from surfaces.  If nothing was reflected then we wouldn’t be able to record anything of the people we meet, the places we go to, and the things we see. 

In this post I’ll show you how you can get interesting, creative images by using the numerous highly-reflective surfaces in the world around you. 

"Ellis Island reflective floor" by Gale Photography

In this first image, of Ellis Island in New York, I noticed how the shape of the window was reflected in the shiny floor, and that the pattern of the floor tiles mimicked the pattern of the windows.  I was able to use the shiny floor to make the overall photographic composition symmetrical, yet keep the areas of colour off centre. 

"Prague reflections" by Gale Photography

This image, taken in Prague, shows how you can mix the old and the new in one image.  The new office building had partly mirrored windows, so that the older building opposite was nicely reflected in them.  I chose a viewpoint that let me divide up the image into a 3×3 grid, with the sky in the top set of three windows, the roof in the middle set of three, and the front of the building in the bottom set of three.  It’s one way to use the so-called “Rule of Thirds“.  The whole image looks a bit like one of those puzzles that you have to rearrange by sliding the sections around. 

"Lydiard House cabinet" by Gale Photography

One great feature of reflective surfaces is that they can often distort the subject that’s reflected.  Here I’ve used the multiple glass panels of a display cabinet in Lydiard House, Swindon, to make an image that shows a distorted reflection of the window in front of it, and the person passing.  Each panel is set at a slightly different angle, so they each show a slightly different viewpoint, and the old glass is quite wobbly, so the reflection gets broken up. 

Finally, I’ve used a shiny curved surface that was reflecting a common object, to produce an abstract image that’s not really anything to do with the original subjects.  

A Mini reflection by Gale Photography

The shiny curved surface was the highly-polished front wing of a friend’s red Mini (she does look after it very well!), and the common object that was reflected was a fence panel.  

So, you can see that the world is full of surfaces that can help you with your creative photography.  I cover this, and many other things,  in my “The Creative Eye” workshops.  Why not come along to one? 



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