Did you know that even if you don’t think your work is an inspiration to others, that it really is? When I asked Meredith if I could ask her about her reflections, she was completely unsure of why I would ask her. Luckily though, I was able to persuade her to answer some questions for us! She is a very talented photographer, and you can see her beautiful IG feed here. We recently took a film class together, and you can find her films here–I promise, you’ll love how sweet and tender they are!
Now, on to the Q&A!
Q: How did you start shooting for the reflections around you?
A: I was inspired by the reflections that I have seen on instagram of so many of my talented friends! I am inspired by beach images with water reflections, but only visit a beach a few times in the summer. So many talented people inspire me to do them inside, also. They really are to credit for wanting capture some reflections of my son!
Q: When did you first notice the reflections you find in your home?
A: I noticed them in the windows first.
Q: Where do you like to shoot them the most?
A: I looked back on my images, and the majority are in windows, and I will shoot from either the side or the top down.
Q: What is the first step you make sure to do when photographing your reflections?
A: I check with my eyes first, if I see one then I will try with my camera to capture it.
Q: Do you set your shots up in any way, shoot spontaneously or wait for an organic moment to press your shutter?
A: Both! All of the window ones are organic moments because my son is always taking his cars to the window to play, he also likes looking outside and checking for cars that drive by, he even looks for sunrise and sunset too! The sink bath was set up specifically for attempting reflections.
Q: How do you like to capture the perspective that you do? (Standing, kneeling, down to the ground, etc.)
A: I will try anything! When i shoot up high, i grab a stool or an ottoman and get my lens as close to the reflective surface as I can. When I shoot from the side I will move around to find the right perspective, while pretty much keeping my camera lens close to the window while still maintaining the reflection. I have small width windows in my house, and they all have lines in them, so I do the best I can with what I’ve got!
Q: Do you find some compositions work better than others to include reflections?
A: I think this can be playful! Sometimes the reflection looks amazing centered, and other times it is interesting to position your subject to the left or right third to capture more of the view outside.
Q: Which surfaces are the best for capturing reflections?
A: I think this depends. Windows and/or sliding doors work extremely well; also stone countertops, wood floors, most glass surfaces (coffee tables, electric cooktops that are NOT hot) and the obvious one (mirrors)! I personally feel that darker countertops provide much better reflections, but you can also achieve a reflection on a lighter color top by covering it with water. I also have tried using an iPad for reflection (below). I haven’t had a good opportunity to use a prism, but I know that is also a great tool for creating really interesting reflections as well.
Q: Where do you find inspiration? Do you ever get bored and want to try something new?
A: I find a TON of inspiration from social media. Online communities like instagram, clickin moms and facebook groups (CIC, P52 Clicks, Lookslikefilm, dear photographer, hello storyteller) have given me so many incredible ideas to try. I do get bored and I seriously struggle with originality! I have lots of random items laying around that I pick up and play with when I get bored. I also get new CM breakouts when I am bored!
Q: If you could go back in time and tell yourself some tricks for mastering this faster, what would you say?
A: I would say to just open your eyes and look around. If you see light bouncing off of a surface, get close and explore it. Do you see a reflection? Would it make an interesting photo? If the answers to these questions are yes, then go for it!
Q: How important is editing in your process?
A: Editing is pretty important for me because I like to play with colors and manipulate tones (not always successfully!). Like most photographers, my goal is to get it exposed, composed and focused properly in camera. I am also realistic because I have a toddler who moves constantly and my settings are not always perfect when he moves to a new spot with new light. I like to use tools like Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance the images so that they appear on screen like they did in my mind. Sometimes my images are bright and other times they are moody. I try to keep it true to the moment. The image I included from above on the window was kind of a darker time of day. The sun was behind the trees already and the tone was cool. I decided to keep it that way instead of warm it up too much.
Q: What gear do you use for accomplishing this?
A: My main gear is my Nikon D750 and Sigma ART 35mm. I have an 85mm but haven’t been able to use that focal length for indoor reflections. I also just got an iphone X a few days ago, below are a couple of shots taken with that phone over this weekend at a restaurant. I spotted a cool reflection of my son’s face while he was looking at boats in the marina and jumped up to catch it before he moved on to the next thing. It was the only camera I had with me, so I made the best of it!
Q: What are your typical settings?
A: I like to shoot around f/2.2 and try to keep my shutter speed around 1/250 sec for a moving toddler. With those needs, I will adjust my ISO accordingly. if he is still, i can get away with a lower SS and that helps my ISO.
Q: What projects are you working on right now?
A: I am struggling to keep up with my projects and goals because I have a sales job where I am connected to customers 24/7 with my phone/e-mail and it has to be a priority since it pays the bills! I had intended to do the P52 clicks project, P52 radness get in the frame project and a monthly video with my DSLR. I haven’t succeeded with getting in the frame weekly, but I think I have been keeping up with the others so far, even if I might get them done late!
Thanks for indulging me, Meredith! It’s always so fun to hear the process of other photographers!