Recently, people have had to spend most of their time at home, whether they like it or not. And there is always only a limited amount of things you can do at home. Consequently, social networks, such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube had been flooded with amazing and creative new content every day. Not only that, but people have found ways to perfect their skills and learn new stuff. To combine the two, taking your photography skills to the next level and posting amazing results on the internet might benefit you a lot!
It is very important to look around and take into account everything that we have at hand. With a little creativity, we can take advantage of our surroundings to get the most out of our cameras. This time we are going to pay attention to the mirrors we have at home. No matter what number you have, we are going to give you some tricks on how to photograph a mirror that you can put into practice. By practicing with this object, we can obtain very original results, both for portraits and self-portraits.
In this article, we will go over the tips when it comes to taking pictures with mirrors, and we will give you a few ideas for you to be creative using them in your shots.
Mirrors and Reflections
A mirror is an element that helps us add dimension to our photographs. With a mirror, we can achieve beautiful reflections that can even show an alternative vision to the real image, which will undoubtedly add interest to our photography.
The mirror produces reflections due to the phenomenon of reflection, which occurs when light rays that hit a surface collide with it and deflect, returning to the medium from which they came, forming an angle equal to that of the light. And although there are many surfaces on which we can achieve reflections, this time we want to focus on the mirrors.
Photographing a Mirror
The large mirrors allow us to compose photos by putting many details in the frame, even more so if we use a wide-angle lens. On the other hand, the little ones can be a medium to get all the creativity possible. It may be that you have the mirrors associated with the occasional casual selfie. Do not allow this preconceived idea not to see mirrors as valuable creative tools, especially now that we are spending much more time at home.
Take advantage of distortion
It’s important to take mirror distortion into account before you start experimenting with reflections. The closer you and the subject you are photographing are to the reflecting surface, the smoother the results will be. You can take advantage of the distortion to create images with a fairytale air, like a story or a dream. If you want to achieve this, try and experiment with distortion. On the other hand, it may be that it is not what you are looking for. If not, feel free to experiment further, it can give you unexpected and surprising results.
Use the large mirrors to increase the spaces
A large mirror in a confined space can make space appear much larger than it actually is, such as an elevator. Besides, it also allows you to add more information using the mirror. To hide your camera, don’t place it exactly in front of the mirror. It sounds like a bit of silly advice, but it’s something you can forget when you’re preoccupied with focusing on other parts of the scene. A good position is to place the camera close to the mirror against one corner, taking care that no part of the camera appears in the photograph.
Use small mirrors
Add a smaller-sized mirror to your portrait and watch your creativity soar. The smaller the mirror and its frame, the more it can stand out and add an original touch. Although it can be quite a challenge trying to focus on the subject you want to portray using a small mirror, these complications will be worth it when you check the final result of this type of portrait.
A small mirror usually has a frame that can literally allow you to frame your subject’s face or a small detail that you want to highlight. With a small mirror, you can draw attention to the point you want in your photo and also give your photographs a more creative touch. Some small mirrors that you can work with are hand mirrors, ceiling mirrors, or reflective surfaces of some objects like kitchen utensils.
Use artificial light to enhance the subject
Using a mirror for fashion photography is an original alternative to find different points of view. To enhance the subject you are photographing you can create a lighting scheme with a point of artificial light, some studio flashes to function as front light or fill light. You can also play with color temperatures to get some color trends or others. Everything is a matter of experimenting.
Use manual focus to adjust focus
You may need to take a photo in which there is a complicated background with many objects with a complex pattern. If this is the case, using autofocus can lead you to focus on a different part of the photograph that is not the subject, especially if you are working with a wide aperture such as f/1.4.
To get the focus to the place that interests you, we recommend that you work with manual focus. If you don’t use it regularly, you might find it strange at first, but you sure get the hang of it fast!
Use more than one mirror to create a surreal effect
Surreal photography consists, above all, of mixing worlds, stories, concepts, etc. You will not always need to use a large number of objects or accessories to get a surreal photograph. Use at least two mirrors to focus at different angles. You can frame the subject’s face and at the same time reflect other objects that are around the scene that would not be seen if it were not for the reflection.
Take a self-portrait with your model
Portrait photography often focuses on the person in front of the camera. The photographer is usually invisible. But portrait photography using mirrors is often the exception to this rule, as the photographer can also appear in the photograph. It is a way to give a touch of creativity to your self-portraits, where you can create a larger space in the photo and fill empty spaces.
Reflect the outside in the mirror
Even if we are inside the house, you can still go to a window and place the mirror so that it reflects the world outside. This way you will be putting a part of the street in your interior photography. And when we can leave the house, try to take a mirror and take it to some interesting location, where you can look for an original reflection.
Selfies using mirrors have become wildly popular and are not so interesting anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to create original selfies. Instead of focusing on framing only yourself, try creating an atmosphere around it using objects that are close to the mirror. It doesn’t matter that the objects are not in focus, they will continue to create a special atmosphere.
Create abstract portraits using small mirrors
Abstract portraits are unconventional and very eye-catching. You can take portraits that resemble a painting or that highlight one of the parts of the subject you are photographing. Use a small mirror or prism to experiment with these types of portraits. With a prism, you can get more distorted reflections, and with a small mirror, it will be easier to focus on the subject. You can use either one and experiment.
If a mirror offers us reflections traced to reality, that means that it is a perfect instrument to achieve perfect symmetries. Either in a portrait or some architectural element, knowing how to position ourselves well we will achieve very attractive symmetrical compositions.
And we have several ways of playing with that symmetry, either by placing the subject or element as if coming out from the mirror, which will offer us the most curious forms, or by directly facing it as if it were a clone.
Mirror with the reflection of another face
If you are looking for an image that illustrates what it is like to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”, this game with a mirror is sure to interest you. It is about taking a small mirror that can hide our gaze and reflect that of another person. This way we will see the eyes of one subject in the body and face of the other.
Here we will have to study the position of both the subject and ours very well. Do not try to make them fit perfectly because it will be very complicated, and think that the camera will not be able to be completely frontal to the mirror because otherwise we would be reflected. You will have to take the photo by slightly tilting the mirror or the camera. With a little patience, you will surely get the most original shot.
Tips For Mirror Photography
A mirror is a place where you will probably get the most accurate reflection of all, offering you an image traced to reality. Of course, if our idea is to take photographs with mirrors, we must take into account a few considerations, such as:
Clean it up. It may seem like a no-brainer, but trust me, it doesn’t hurt to remember this point. How many times are we so excited about trying a new kind of photography that we overlook such silly subjects as this? If you do not want your photograph to be damaged because fingerprints or even stains appear on it, it is better to wipe it with a glass cleaner before starting to shoot your photos.
Find the best angle. Sometimes we just want an image of ourselves taking the shot in front of the mirror, but this will not always be the case. What if we want the reflection of another person to come out and we do not appear in it at all? Well, you should study the position in which you place your subject, the mirror, and yourself while taking into account the angle of reflection.
Find and analyze the light. We know that without light there is no photography and that a mirror reflects an image because of it. Therefore, if there is no light in the scene, there will be no photography and consequently no reflection. It may seem absurd, but if there is no speck of light in your scene, there is no use using mirrors in your shot. On the other hand, if we start from the fact that there is light, we must analyze where it comes from. Why?
Have you ever taken a selfie in front of the mirror with the mobile flash activated? If you have, surely you have verified that what we see is how the dirt and the specks of dust that are in it stand out, as well as some flare that the flash itself can produce. This is because the light hits the mirror surface directly from the front. So, if we want this not to happen, it is better that we avoid that the light hits the mirror frontally. Try to make the light bounce off the other surfaces, or hit the main element but not the mirror glass.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Reflections can sometimes deceive us, but my god, how good they can be in our photographs! Now is the time for you to take your camera and dare to try some of the examples that we have given you.
Starting to take portraits with mirrors will allow you to begin to appreciate different perspectives and new styles to add more creativity to your photographs. Any mirror can help take portraits of you to the next level.