Creativity with Mirrors
Ever caught yourself fixing your hair or straightening your shirt, while gazing into any vaguely reflective surface, including car windows and storefront displays? Well, reflective surfaces like mirrors can help you create myriads of illusions. We tell you how.
Create an Illusion
Use reflection cast in mirrors to bring in an element of illusion. Photograph a person or a monument by positioning a mirror in such a manner that the main subject appears in the mirror and the surroundings also become a part of the frame. Using a wide focal length will help you increase the space of the ‘hidden’ element. You could also look out for other objects that possess the characteristics of a mirror to shoot unique illusions, like water, windows, or metal objects. Other than people, you can photograph still life objects, but make sure that they are not dull and flat.
You could also use mirrors to reflect light. Alternatively, a small mirror will help you add a catch light in the eyes for stunning portraits. Place the mirrors such that they face each other and let the light fall on the mirror. Select a strong light source to dramatise the effect of the light reflected onto your subject or object. Additionally, use more than one mirror to bring out an unusual perspective. With many mirrors, you can create multiple reflections. For instance, place three mirrors around a subject to reveal the different sides of the object, or to bounce off light. This technique is commonly used in product photography where all the sides of a particular product need to be shown in one photograph.
Select a Focal Point
When using a mirror in your photographs, you have the option to focus either on the main subject or its reflection. Focusing on the main subject will blur the reflection in the mirror. However, if you choose to focus on the reflected image, it will blur the main subject. This could give a dramatic feel to your image. Use the Aperture Priority mode of your camera and set a low f-number so that a shallow depth of field can be achieved. Alternatively, you can be as creative you like and use a wide angle, or even a fisheye lens depending upon how you wish to photograph the subject.
Apart from reflections, mirrors can fool the eye, create extra space, and make a small place seem even larger. So, if it is a small kitchen, or a congested little room that you want to enhance, just place mirrors strategically and the room will seem larger. To capture the full impact of this created space, remember to include the original room as well as its reflection.
This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Better Photography.Tags: Water, wide angle, aperture priority, windows, illusion, mirror, reflection, reflective, surface, space, hidden element, metal objects, fisheye, fill in light