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  • How to Photograph a Mirror

    This is a question that we're regularly faced with at MirrorDeco: how do you photograph a mirror so that it looks nice without capturing either yourself, the camera or something you don't want to be seen in the reflection? So whether you're trying to frame the perfect mirror-selfie, trying to get Instagram-ready shots of your home or photograph a new product you've received in the post, we've got some handy tips.

     

    Copper mirror
    Image: Kelly Copper Frame Rectangular Mirror

    Reflect a plain wall...

    If you're after a minimalist look, place your mirror opposite a plain expanse of wall and photograph it standing slightly to one side. Depending on the size of the mirror and its distance from the opposite wall, you should get an image that looks almost like a blank picture in a frame. Plus, if the reflected surface is plain, then it's a lot easier to Photoshop out any imperfections if necessary.

     

    Gatsby diamond mirror
    Image: Gatsby Diamond Shaped Wall Mirror

    ... or find something worth reflecting

    We love using mirrors to increase the perceived size of a room or to draw attention to your favourite colours or decorations. Your photos will be a lot more fun (and are more likely to get shared) if they are visually interesting. If you're photographing in your own home, gather your favourite items and arrange them at a variety of distances from your mirror. Play around with the angle until you get it just right.

    Lighting angles diagram
    Image: Digital Photography School

    Think about lighting

    We've all been there: you're trying to take a picture of a reflective surface. It looks fine to the naked eye, but as soon as you hold a camera up a bright spot appears. To avoid this, you need to consider where the direct light is coming from. Lightbulbs tend to give off a concentrated source of light, which can result in it being obviously reflected in your mirror. Try to use natural light, or pick up a photographer's softbox light. This will diffuse the light source, avoiding ugly reflective spots.

     

    You should also avoid lighting the mirror from the same angle that you are trying to take the picture from. The laws of optics will tell you that the light rays will just bounce straight back. Instead, as this useful article recommends, you should position your light source at the opposite angle to your camera lens.

     

    Serigraphic large mirror
    Image: Serigraphic Rectangular Wall Mirror in Pewter

    Get experimental

    Even though taking photographs containing mirrors can be tricky, they also offer great opportunities to get creative. Try photographing a mirror in an unexpected place (we went to the seaside!) or think about using a mirror to create a surreal image. Another interesting idea is to put two mirrors opposite each other to create an infinity effect. You can find some other great ways to get creative with mirror photography on this tips page from Canon.

     

    Tilt-shift lens camera
    Image: Wikipedia

    Go technical

    The best way of getting the perfect straight-on photo of a mirror without getting a reflection of the camera is by using a tilt-shift lens. Many experts agree that this is the easiest way of photographing a mirror. This allows you to take the photo from an angle, because it distorts the perspective to make it appear as if it has been taken head-on. Perfect for those tricky shots!

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