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Fragmented and Beautiful

By Liz Ness  ·  January 25th, 2011

Neskowin Beach, Oregon (2010)

It’s interesting how a reflection can change an image, adding color sometimes. There’s something about the reflection and how it distances us from the image, while pulling us in at the same time; something about how the original image can be fragmented in such an organic and natural way. I find these shots compelling, beautiful, and otherworldly all at once. I guess that’s why reflection shots are a favorite.

Maybe it’s why they are my preferred method for taking a self-portrait, too. It’s true! I’ve captured my own image reflecting back from drinking fountains, headlight housing, bumpers, mirrors, water, plane propellers (the props were stationary, by-the-way), sunglasses, and on and on. I think that the reflected self-portraits tell a different story than standard self-portraits, lending a transparency about who is really behind the camera, whose vision is at work, and some aspect of self-reflection at play to the photograph. Anyway, whatever that “something” is, I can’t seem to get enough! If this describes you, too, you may enjoy the following collections. Plus, there are some ideas within the collections that I’m just itching to try:

In addition, here are some tutorials by Corey Barker and Larry Becker that show you how to make your own reflections in Photoshop Elements:

  • Cityscape Water Reflections – Corey shares how to create a water reflection for a night shot of the New York city scape.
  • Water Reflection – Another by Corey, this demonstrates how to create a reflection and how to simulate water, too. Totally cool!
  • Reflection On Product Shots – Such a useful tutorial by Larry. This one shows how to create a reflection for objects (for that “product on a shiny table” look) useful to advertisers and web developers alike!

6 Replies to Fragmented and Beautiful:

  1. James F

    January 25, 2011 at 8:43 am

    The photos attached to the links you list for your viewers provide a big dose of inspiration. Thanks for the article and the food for thought.

    • Liz

      January 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

      You bet! And thank you James for your comment!

      =) Liz

  2. Jack

    January 26, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    What great ideas! I think I am going to try some portraits with reflections. Thanks. Jack

    • Liz

      January 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm


  3. Jennifer

    February 1, 2011 at 9:35 am

    You are right. Some of my favorite photos I have taken include reflections. One was a picture of my daughter with sunglasses and palm trees in the reflection. Another was a picture of my son looking outside of the window on a train ride and capturing the expression on his face was priceless. And of course one of my favorites was taken in the Tetons near Snake River with the reflection of the moutains in the river. Thanks for all the inspiration. It is hard to capture these reflections on camera but when it does happen, it’s amazing.

    • Liz

      February 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

      How cool, Jennifer! Love the added story that happens in a reflection — as you’ve mentioned. I can imagine each of the photographs, too — AWESOME!

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