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.
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!