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One versatile surface that’s very reflective is aluminum foil. Mylar paper is another popular choice for use as a reflective surface. Cut a piece about 18 inches long, and use it smooth or crinkled (when using Mylar, it’s better to create ripples, rather than crinkle this material). Then tape it to a sheet of cardboard, prop it up vertically against a heavy object on a tabletop, and place a colorful object in front of it. Move around the object and shoot a variety of photos—capture the reflection only, then take some pictures that include the actual object as well as the reflection.

Photoshop Elements was used to turn this mirrored image from color to black-and-white.
Reader photo by Tracy Prestridge, Kissimmee, FL

Mirrors render the most true-to-life reflections. When using a mirror, sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between an actual scene or the reflected one in a photograph. When photographing a mirror image, you’ll need to shoot from an angle to avoid getting your own reflection in the frame, unless a self-portrait is your intention. Turn off your camera’s flash, as bright light sources reflected in a mirror create glare.

You can also shoot a portrait in other reflective surfaces, such as the hubcap of your car. Again, unless you’re shooting a self-portrait, position yourself at an angle where you can capture your subject’s reflection, but will avoid getting your own image in the frame.

These sunglass reflections tell us that the subjects are hikers.
Reader photo by Benjamin Jones, Cincinnati, OH

Set your compact camera on its landscape mode to get greater depth of field, or on the close-up mode when working close to your subject. Experiment, shoot lots of pictures, and have fun capturing images in reflective surfaces.

Readers are encouraged to submit photos to our monthly Point & Shoot Homework Assignment feature. Please see the table of contents for the location of the entry coupon, which lists topics and more details.

Adirondack chairs reflected on a wet deck.
Reader photo by Bob Gates, Jamesville, NY

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