Reflections are all around us. Mirrors, glass, polished metal and stone, pools and fountains, even wet pavement can create great reflected light. Even average compositions can be improved with a bit of reflected light. Here are some tips for building a great set of reflection images.
Early Bird: Not only is the light better in the morning, but pools, ponds and lakes are often completely glassy. Set your alarm clock and head out before the breeze picks up.
Break the rules: Here’s a great chance to break the ‘rule-of-thirds’ and shoot with perfect symmetry. Set up your shot with the reflection’s far edge directly in the middle of your frame for a 50/50 split composition.
Weather vane: Look for puddles just after the rain, then get in close and down low. The contrast of reflected sky against the wet ground can be absolutely stunning.
Drought-proof: No water around? Find some glass. Store-fronts, skyscrapers and cafés are great locations for finding reflections. Try shooting from both sides and at angles to get different results and moods.
Perspectives: Sometimes flipping your image upside-down will give a surreal distortion to your final photo. Experiment with different angles while shooting, as well as orientations when editing.
You’re so vain: Find a large mirror and shoot people looking at their own reflections. It’s more discrete than a direct portrait, and you can get some really interesting and funny shots.
Hold the Mayo: Worried about getting your camera wet? If you’re going to be out in the rain, seal your phonecam in a plastic sandwich bag. You can still use the touchscreen, and your images will turn out fine if you keep the plastic up against the lens. Just remember to make sure it’s *clean* first.
News Flash: So the first tip is this: Turn off your flash! You don’t want brightly-lit, flat, colorless monsters and jack-o-lanterns. Try and find other light sources like incandescent and candle light if you can. Flashlights also make excellent ‘ghoul’ lighting when shining from below. Use flash only as a last resort.
Golden Hour: If you’re capturing kids in costume for trick-or-treating, try to have them ready just as the sun is setting. The light at dusk sets a perfect Halloween scene and preserves a lot of the detail you’ll miss later in the dark.
Devilish Details: If you want great costume shots, you’ll want to focus on specific details. Masks, fangs, scars, hats, etc. Get in close and fill the frame. And don’t forget to shoot things like decorations and the candy loot. They don’t move around much and capture the true flavors of Halloween.
Process: If possible, try to document kids (and adults) as they get their costumes prepared. It helps tell the story, and also makes it possible to identify years from now just exactly who was hiding behind that mask.
HDR Spirits: Use a High-Dynamic-Range camera application like TrueHDR or HDR Fusion to capture ghost images. Here’s how: Just hold absolutely still and as the first frame fires, then have your subject walk through as the second frame is taken. Instant ghosts!
Post Processing: Want to turn the spooky volume up? Try editing your pics in an app like LensLight to add effects like a full moon or lightning.
Fall color: Autumn is such an amazing time for rich colors. Capture the entire season in your photo set with a trip to the pumpkin patch or a farmers market. Cloudy days and early/late hours are best for capturing these hues.
Dont forget to download Time Warp Camera for iPhone. It’s the perfect app to share and print your Halloween photos.
Now lets get our spooky on!
Clear skies are nice for picnics, but for great photos give us a big juicy Cumulonimbus cloud to chew on any day. Are there any forms that exhibit such a range of emotion and drama as clouds? Here are some tips for getting better cloud photography:
Brace yourself: You’re shooting something very far away. Don’t ruin the fine details with blur from camera shake.
Exposure: Make sure your exposure is focused on the clouds, not the sky or the foreground. That way you’ll get more contrast and depth in the shapes. To set your exposure and focus, just tap the cloud if you’re using the iPhone camera. If you’re using an app like Camera+ you can split your focus and exposure controls by ‘zooming’ (spreading) your finger and thumb apart while in the camera. It’s a very nice feature.
Horizons: Experiment with skylines and landscapes to give your shots a sense of scale. Birds are also great subjects if they’re flocking nearby. So are trees, particularly in winter when you have exposed branches that have fine detail.
Wait for it: Clouds are always moving and changing shape. What looks boring one moment may change for the better in just minutes. Be patient and see what unfolds next.
Airborne: The next time you’re flying, try for a window seat, preferably away from the wing. Take-off and landing usually have the best angles for composition, but you can get some great shots at altitude, too, depending on the weather.
Those fancy sunglasses propped on your noggin? If they are polarized, you’ve got an awesome lens filter to play with. Just hold the glasses close to your camera and rotate until you’ve caught the sun at 90-degrees. You’ll know when you’re there because the clouds and sky will practically pop off the screen. Grey (neutral) lenses are best, but even if your sunglasses are another tint, you can still get some great shots, albeit a bit warmer in tone.