Three must-know techniques for shooting a water reflection
Find the best light
Use low-angled sun to capture warmly lit reflections in the cooler tones of shaded water. Avoid bright overhead sun. Use early morning mist to add interest. On overcast days, eliminate the sky and its reflection from the picture by framing tightly.
Compose your shot
For a perfectly symmetrical reflection, break the rules and place the horizon bang in the middle of the frame. Alternatively, place the horizon on the upper or lower third to emphasise different parts of the picture. Focusing on a rippled reflection will create an abstract image.
Set your exposure
Using spot metering mode, take an exposure reading from a middle-toned area of the reflection. Set this exposure in manual, or lock the exposure. Use an ND grad filter to balance the exposure. Set an aperture of f/11 or f/16 to maximize depth of field, then focus on the water.
How to shoot a panoramic water reflection
When shooting landscape reflections, the image format ratio of 3:2 doesn’t always suit the subject. A panoramic format of around 3:1 can work much better. Simply crop your image in Photoshop.
Alternatively, stitch a series of frames together for a high-resolution panorama. Use a tripod and shoot successive frames with a 30% overlap.
Set the exposure in manual mode and focus manually for consistency. Use stitching software to form the composite panoramic.
Leading lines: photography’s most underrated composition device
10 tips for better coastal landscapes
10 quick landscape photography tips
Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings to use)