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Photographing with Mirrors

Updated on August 5, 2016
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

Used by permission from the author
Used by permission from the author | Source

Always shoot at an angle so as not to capture your own reflection on the mirror's surface. The idea is to show the model and no other outside element that gives away the photographer's position or identity.

Viewers know that there is a photographer, they just don't need to see him in the photos.

Other variations are to use the model's body and the face to be the mirror.

A round mirror works better since it simulates a human head. There are other variations but the idea is to incorporate the mirror and in a way make it become a part of the human body.

Photographers have been using mirrors for a long time. First and foremost because they recognized how much reflected light they could shed on a subject.

In modern times photographers have been using them to create special effects like capturing an image of a long lost time reflected in the mirror and the modern equivalent of the reflected subject, often titled "now and then" A cool project is to use mirrors as if they were part of you or rather as if the mirrors formed part of your anatomy.

For example, using a model and having her hold a mirror from the back while leaving only her legs visible. Very simple yet it creates a funny image that at a quick glance makes it seem as if the mirror had human legs.

There are many creative ideas that you can apply in the making of a photographic project using mirrors, and using them as a human body appendage is not only easy but makes for a fun project.

Depending on what size mirrors you use, you can attach them to your body using duct tape or rope and this will leave your hands free to strike a pose. Other props can be hats and funny shoes as well as many others.

The key is to be creative and remember that not all such pictures have to be comical in nature. You can also use the project to do some serious work such as "reflections on life"

Look for ways of incorporating them in new ways as well as trying ways that you have probably seen in many other photographs such as one featuring a person standing at one end of a large mirror with half the body behind it, raising the hands and legs as if "floating".

The model's body will reflect on the mirror surface that is parallel to her body thus giving the impression that she is doing an impossible feat of dexterity.

Try to crop the edges of any large mirrors which feature wood frames or any type of frames that can serve as too much of a distraction. Mirrors with some frames work well but the frames should not be the attention grabber.

Used by permission from the artist
Used by permission from the artist | Source

Some of the best locations to conduct this challenge are woods, spaces with lots of grass, rivers, deserts and basically any location that allows you to capture elements that surround the model with reflected elements that are the same as what is seen in the overall scene.

One thing you have to look for is to pay attention to the reflected portions.

Whatever is being reflected must make sense; a model sitting on the beach with the photographer facing the ocean is fine but if the reflected image is that of the ocean, it does not make sense.

Your viewers know is an image reflected on a mirror but the photograph must give the illusion that one is looking through the model/mirror.

Doing this assures that your mirror model blends in and appears to be part of the environment, almost as if whatever the mirror covers appears as being invisible.

However the same effect can be achieved in the studio. By choosing a good creative color palette you can make the mirrored model be part of the color scheme.

For example is you painted the wall with stripes and dress your model in a striped suit matching the stripes in the paint design, the reflected image will show the stripes and your model will most certainly blend in.


Would this be an interesting concept for you to try?

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      17 months ago from Miami, Florida

      Lila: thank you. Hope you enjoy your photographic adventure.

    • profile image

      GalaxyRat 

      17 months ago

      Nice! After reading some of the photography articles here on Hubpages, and coming across yours, I have been inspired to try photography. Thank you!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      2 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Glenn Stok: Thanks. Glad it gave you some ideas!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Wow! Photography with mirrors can certainly create strange illusions by having the reflected image blend in with the environment. You explained the methods very well, as there were a number of things I wouldn't have considered. Such as making sure a mirror's frame is not a distraction. I'll have to try this someday soon.

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