Artificial Reflections with Photoshop

Reflections are tricky. It’s easy enough to fool someone by adding a reflection, but if you’re serious about doing it right, you have to study real reflections. The elevation and angle of any shot determines the reflection you would see.

Recently while in Moab for a photo shoot, we were fortunate enough to have some rain that filled numerous puddles in the rocks. The funny thing is that you can walk past the puddles and see nothing but blue, which is the reflection of the sky. The water certainly isn’t blue. It’s not until you lay down on your stomach that you get the real treat. Courthouse Reflection is a rare image for me since it is a traditional photograph, but good for comparison.

oil wind electricity

Reflections are distorted both in perspective and in height. They can be compressed or stretched, once again depending upon the point of reference. Although I strive to create a certain degree of realism in my shots, I’m always more concerned with the artistic element which is apparent in Oil, Wind, Electricity. The only thing real here is the oilrig.


In Alienscape there were numerous elements, the moon, the clouds, lightning, a pyramid with a beam, and a figure, all of which were treated as separate reflections. Some composites are far more complex than they look, and are treated thus because of the elements proximity within the composite.

Boedecker Splash

Boedecker Splash is a favorite sunset, which I have used in several composites. In this particular composite the splash with the circular ripples are added elements that add to the complexity, but also give the image a point of focus. I will add a more in depth tutorial of reflections soon.

  • Share

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *