Beach Reflections: a Q & A with Dana DiSalvo

March 5, 2018 0 Comments
Today we have some tips on shooting reflections on the beach with the amazingly talented Dana DiSalvo of Dana Nicole Photography!  She lives near a Florida beach, and has many amazing images and lots of practice with shooting on the beach, so I’ve asked her a few questions on how she achieves such amazing reflections!
Q: How did you start shooting for the reflections around you?  (When did you first notice it? Where do you like to shoot them the most?)
A: I grew up in Florida, so I’ve spent my for share of time at the beach.  On our local beach, theres a shallow area right by the shore that gets filled with ocean water at low tide and stays there until the tide gets high again.  It’s a giant reflecting mirror and it’s where I first really started shooting for reflection images.
Q: What is the first step you make sure to do when photographing your reflections?
A: I always make sure that the water is as still as possible before I start shooting for a reflection.  If the water is moving even slightly, it will cause ripples and can ruin the reflection.
Q: Do you set your shots up in any way, shoot spontaneously or wait for an organic moment to press your shutter?
A: A little bit of both!
Q: How do you capture the perspective that you do?  (Standing, kneeling, down to the ground, etc.)
A: I love shooting down really low to the ground to get the full effect of the reflection.  Sometimes, I literally lay on my belly on top of wet sand to get the shot.  It’s messy, but worth it!  Other times, I’ll try to gt as high as I can with a wide angle lens.  It all depends on where I see the reflection enhanced the most.
Q: Do you find some compositions work better than others to include reflections?
A: Yes, I find that shooting lower makes for a really interesting composition.
Q: Which surfaces are the best for capturing reflections?
A: Other than shooting at the beach on the sand, I like to look for big puddles on black top sidewalks or driveways.  I find that the darker the surface, the more the reflection stands out. 
Q: What do you look for in terms of lighting when making an image with reflections?
A: I think the more light, the better!
Q: Where do you find inspiration? Do you ever get bored and want to try something new?
A: My girls and their carefree spirit inspires me.  And yes, I do sometimes find myself in a rut and I itch to try something new!  I recently started shooting through a chandelier crystal for this exact reason.
Q: If you could go back in time and tell yourself some tricks for mastering this faster, what would you say?
A: Playing with your angles and waiting for completely still water are huge factors in capturing reflections!
Q: How important is editing in your process?
A: I think it’s just as important as the shooting process.  I enhance my reflections a lot in LR by increasing clarity, contrast, and sometimes exposure.
Q: What gear do you use for accomplishing this?
A: I typically use wide angle lenses for my reflection images.
Q: What are your typical settings?
A: Well that all depends on the light! Sometimes I shoot them on a bight day and sometimes I shoot them at sunset, so my settings change based on the amount of light I have.  I typically like to keep my f-stop around F2.8 to make sure that my subject and the reflection are both in focus.
Q: Do you have a hashtag for your reflection series?
A: No, but I should!!  Any clever suggestions would be greatly appreciated 😉
Q: What projects are you working on right now?
A: Nothing personal!  Lots and lots of beach sessions for clients!
Q: Is there anything photography related you’d like us to help you promote by mentioning it?
A: Yes!  I’m going to be apart of a community at Hello Storyteller  (IG @hellostoryteller)  It’s an amazing learning community that will be launching soon!  You can go there and leave your email address to receive updates about new content, lessons, podcast episodes and more.
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Thanks to Dana for answering some of my questions!  I loved reading her answers, and now I can’t wait to find a beach and use some of these tips!
You can see more of Dana’s work by visiting her website here and her IG here!

Emily Hamson

I'm a mom of 4 wild boys, who photographs mostly nature (partly because they don't run away or pull faces at me like my boys do). Being behind my camera is my therapy! In 2017 I decided to embark upon a personal photography project to find more creative ways to use my camera, and the CIC was born. I love to learn anything that goes along with photography, but I really love helping others learn new techniques even more!

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