How to Use Reflections for Eye-Popping Portraits (VIDEO)

We’re all looking for a creative boost to shoot unique people pictures, especially those of us who aren’t professional portrait photographers. And when you can pick up a few tricks that are easy to execute, all the better.

In the video below, you’ll see how shooting through or into reflective surfaces can deliver some really fantastic results. Matt Granger is a popular instructor known for simple shooting tips that deliver big results, and in the tutorial below he explains how easy it is to take your portraiture to the next level.

Reflections can often be a problem, which is why we typically ask people to remove their eyeglasses when shooting portraits, or use a polarizing filter when photographing other subjects outdoors. But Granger demonstrates several ways to make reflections your friend, while achieving stunning photos with repeatable results. And you don’t need a professional model to get the job done.

As you’ll see, the there are two main variables to keep in mind when using this technique for people pictures. One is how modifying the angle at which light reflects off a surface will impact your results. Done right, you’ll also be able to eliminate hotspots in a photograph.

Another key is how the proper use of reflections can control depth of field in very interesting ways. Here you can add depth to portraits and separate a subject from the background. Granger also explains how to quickly determine the effective camera-to-subject distance when dealing with reflections, so your portraits are sharply focused.

How you employ Granger’s tips depend upon whether you’re shooting a subject through a reflective surface, or capturing a face that’s reflected off a clear or shiny object. In either case, the technique is easy to accomplish once you know the tricks.

You can find more helpful tips on Granger’s YouTube channel, and be sure to watch another tutorial we posted, demonstrating how to shoot pro-quality portraits without expensive gear.