Have you ever come upon a beautiful reflection and wished that you had your camera with you? Instead of heading home to get the camera, pull out your mobile phone. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get great reflection shots with your iPhone.
Not only will the photos be good, but you can share them right away. And you can print them, too. Photos shot with newer iPhone models can be printed in sizes up to 11×14 or even larger.
Here are some tips to get great reflection shots with your iPhone.
Get down low
Reflections require a reflective surface and one of the best ones is water. While you can shoot down on the reflection in a pond or puddle, you’ll only capture the reflection. Instead, get down low, as close to the water as you can, and shoot. The photo that results is a mirror image of the scene.
To take this photo, I walked out on a low dock. (The photo is a full-sized version of the panorama at the top.) Then, I got down on my knees and leaned over the water, holding the iPhone just above the surface of the water.
Afterward, a man who was standing nearby asked me what I was doing. After I had explained, he said he had thought that I might be praying. I assured him that I was. I was praying that I didn’t drop the iPhone in the pond! 😉
There is a way to get even closer and get great reflection shots with your iPhone. Hold it upside down, with the camera at the bottom. You can even use one of the volume buttons to take the picture if you are shooting in landscape mode (the phone is horizontal). This may feel less awkward.
Get really close
Some reflections are next to you, like a street scene mirrored on a shop window. In that case, placing your iPhone as close as possible to the glass will produce the best result. It’s a good idea to choose your focus point before you take the picture. The iPhone may have trouble deciding what to focus on otherwise.
Smooth water makes a better reflection
You’ll often get a better result if the water is smooth, but if the sunset is spectacular, even choppy water is worth a photo.
Bring your own water
No rain? No problem. Bring along a bottle of water and create your own puddle and reflection. Have you ever tried this when you were out trying to shoot great reflection shots with your iPhone?
The one problem with this solution is that water runs downhill. That means that you’ll need a flat surface or some sort of indent in the surface to hold the water in place and create the puddle.
Shoot through something to add interest
I shot this photo as the sun was setting. Partially hiding the sun behind the grasses helped with the exposure, allowing me to capture the reflection of the clouds on the water.( If I had been shooting with my DSLR, I would have set my aperture to f/11 or so. That way, the sun would have created a starburst against the dark grasses. This is something that a DSLR can do much better than an iPhone!)
Use a dark reflective surface
Dark surfaces reflect better than light ones. You can see the difference in these two photos of a shell. On the left side, I’ve placed the shell on a piece of plexiglass on top of a white surface. By adding a sheet of black poster board under the plexiglass, the reflection on the right is much stronger.
Your iPad will also do the trick!
I took this shot on our second-floor back deck, using my iPad as the dark reflective surface. Give this a try and see how it works for you.
Now it’s your turn
Why not try this out this week on your carved pumpkin?
First of all, find a dark reflective surface to shoot on. To show the light inside the pumpkin, you’ll also need to be in a darker place. But if it’s too dark, you’ll only get a reflection of the openings in the pumpkin. You’ll definitely need to experiment with how much ambient light you need to get a reflection of the whole pumpkin.
You could even add some dry ice and make your pumpkin really spooky! One of the fun aspects of trying to get great reflection shots with your iPhone is using your imagination and creativity.
Some more reading
If you like to shoot with your iPhone, you might enjoy these posts: