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Highly reflective surfaces of various types can be used to capture unusual pictures of people. Mirrors are the most obvious source of reflections but there are many others. Windows, particularly those of modern office buildings, are prime targets for this sort of work. Water and wet roads are also surfaces worth considering.

Model lying on mirrorA simple approach is to seat your subject in front of a mirror and position the camera to include in the frame both the subject and the reflected image. If the camera is visible through the viewfinder it should normally be moved. Bear in mind with all mirror shots that the reflected image is as far behind the mirror as the subject is in front of it. If only the reflection is to be sharp, focus the lens at the distance from the camera to the mirror and back to the subject. When using an autofocus system, focus directly on the reflected image rather than the edge of the mirror. If both the subject and the reflected image are to be in focus, the focused distance must be chosen in conjunction with aperture to achieve the necessary depth of field.

A small mirror held in the subject's hand may be used to frame a reflected image of the face only. The hand and arm of the subject can be included in the frame to lead the eye to the mirror. If only the mirror and the reflection are included, the mirror takes on the appearance of a framed picture.

Water is perhaps the most varied source of reflections. Its surface is easily disturbed and produces fascinating distortions and colours. Always look for reflections when photographing people near water, and remember that it may be necessary to get down low before the full extent of a reflection becomes visible. Refreshingly different images can be captured from the surface of a lake or swimming pool, or even a humble pool of rainwater in the street. A simple shot of a figure on a riverbank can also be transformed simply by lowering the camera to incorporate the inverted image in the water.

Another approach is to walk the streets of your local town during heavy rainfall. Images of pedestrians are reflected from wet pavements and roads, and make good atmospheric subjects. Streetlights and brightly-lit shop windows add further colour and excitement. Choose distinctive silhouettes of couples or individuals and try to isolate them from the crowd. Use a fast ISO setting and carry a plastic bag as protection for your camera.


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