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Using Reflections in Architectural Photography Compositions

Generally when shooting architecture (especially interiors) we are very careful to avoid reflections of us, our lights etc. on any shiny surfaces present. Glass surfaces, shiny metal objects etc. all need to be double checked for any unwanted reflections. Lighting interiors without light sources being reflected in such objects is a very challenging task.

Using Reflections in Architectural Photography Compositions
Photo by: Luc B

But when it comes to photographing exteriors of buildings reflections can produce some of the most exciting, artistic effects.  They can create brilliant natural effects in photography and also add an extra dimension to architectural images; creative photographers use them as a canvas on which they could paint a tastefully distorted view of the building being photographed.

Since urban environments are lined with a multitude of reflective surfaces, one could easily find a suitable surface to capture a great reflection of the building. Windows, water bodies like ponds, lakes or fountains, wet streets, glossy paint or wind shields of cars, sunglasses, glass of a mirror-finished building adjacent to the one being shot etc. are all surfaces one could use.

reflections in architecture photography
Photo by: Jeff S. PhotoArt

One thing to note when photographing a reflected view of a building which is asymmetric or has a visible signage is that it could appear flipped and this could be a little un-settling to the viewers. When composing your frame which includes a reflected view of the structure in water make sure the water is completely still and the mirrored image is really crisp for best results.

Related Reading

  1. Creative Composition Tips for Architectural Photographers - Framing the Building
  2. Composition Tips for Architectural Photographers - Balancing Colors in an Image
  3. Tips for Photographing the Progress of a Building from Construction Through to Completion
  4. Getting Timing and Exposure Right for Night shots of Buildings
  5. Architectural Photography Composition Tips Expanding the sky area with Rising Shift Movement

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