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Portrait Photography Tips and Reflections

By pomm79, Dec 23 2016 02:14PM

The Portrait photography, although we may not be aware of it: reflections and reflectivity. Photographers fight reflections all the time—think about glare on a window—but reflectivity can also be a lovely way to bring out color or brilliance in an otherwise dark scene or to create layered images. You can try Working with reflections in black and white, but with color especially, you’ll find that they can be magical.

In this lesson, we’ll discuss something we deal with all the time. Check out the best Nantucket portrait photographer.

The big challenge with photographing a mirror—or multiple mirrors—is keeping the photographer out of the frame.

22 Fundamentals of Photography II

Sometimes all it takes to eliminate a bad reflection is the photographer changing position.

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Lesson Takeaways

Reflections can be good or bad, and as a photographer, you should always be thinking about ways to either use a reflection if it’s working for you or eliminate it if it’s hurting your photos. Often, eliminating a bad reflection is as simple as taking two or three steps in one direction or another or trying a higher or lower angle. Learn more at and

Remember to have fun when you experiment with reflections; they can help you get a different perspective on the world and explore light in ways that you might not normally think about. Try doing one shoot where all you think about is reflactivity. Always go where the light is-especially natural light.

A circular polarizing filter is good for handling reflections and reflectivity. As you spin it, it changes from allowing all available light to come in from any direction to reducing the light to come in from one direction. In other words, it reduces the way that light can come in to the lens.

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When moving positions isn’t an option, a circular polarizing filter will cut down on reflections.

Lesson 5

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Experimenting with Filters

Although there are multitudes of filters available, you may want to use one that is essentially just clear glass—a UV or Skylight filter—to protect your lens. You might also try a graduated neutral-density filter, which is smoked at the top and clear at the bottom. You can use this filter to dampen down the light in an overly bright sky, getting the exposure you want even if you’re not on site at the right time of day or in the right conditions.


Take a walk outside your house or through your town, looking for interesting photo opportunities in window reflections. The windows of office buildings, for example, sometimes offer intriguing broken reflections of the sky or surrounding buildings. Once you’ve played around with shooting some reflections, try shooting the same scene with a polarizing filter to see how it changes the results.


Challenge yourself to shoot an outdoor scene in harsh lighting conditions— in late morning or at midday. First, see if you can take advantage of the shadows by placing your subject in the brightest part of the scene. Then, see if you can defeat the harsh light by using a reflector or an off-camera flash with a diffuser.

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