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Ah spring, flowers, buds, new growth and puddles. Puddles are my favorite to play in after spring rains or winter snow melts.

How to photograph reflections using puddles

First of all, just be careful. While many cameras today are water — resistant they may or may not be waterproof. Just pay attention to where you are placing your camera near, in or on the water. 

You can choose to lay on the ground, but if it’s just rained and you’re using puddles to create images, it may just be a little wet and muddy for that. Personally, I use my shoe quite often to place my camera on if I can’t use the ground. Holding one end of the camera I put the other end/bottom on my shoe. 

puddle at carnival

For maximum reflection, put your camera lens at the edge of the puddle. Then test different angles, tilting your camera down toward the puddle or slightly up. See what changing the angle does to the reflection and move around until you get the image you want. 

Don’t forget to walk around the puddle as well. See what else you can find in the area that will make a cool reflection photo. 

puddle under the L tracks Chicago

Reflections in puddles add layers and depth

When we use reflections in our images whether they’re in puddles or other objects, it creates more layers and depth to your shot.

In the case of puddles, many times it creates a unique foreground that you wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m quite sure you’ve seen images of the lighthouse in the distance with its reflection in a puddle in the rocky foreground. That just adds another dimension to the image.

puddle reflection of trees Alaska

You’ve also seen those images where someone (the photographer) is standing at the edge of the puddle. Do this, then point your camera straight into the water. It’s a fun image to rotate and creates a bit of an alternative reality feeling. Or, you know, put empty shoes there and flip the image to include the person’s reflection. 

Get family involved

Now is the time to let the kids play. Get out their rain boots and splash around in puddles. There are many options when photographing them playing in the water. From splashing, close-ups of their cute boots in the water with the splashes captured to the joy and laughter on their faces as they play. Have them grab their bikes and ride through the puddle. Set yourself up to capture photos of the bike wheels going through the water.

Jeep reflection in Chicago

Be creative

As always, get creative. Push beyond what you immediately notice. Experiment with subjects, angles and movement. Yes, movement. Drop a pebble in and create waves or motion in the water. Don’t limit yourself to one lens type either. I’ve used anything from my Canon 14-17 mm, 50 mm, 100 mm and my Tamron 100-400 mm lenses. It all works and each will offer its own unique take on the scene.

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