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Tips for Improving Your Reflections

Whether you want your reflections to look more photorealistic or just more interesting, Photoshop offers quite a variety of options that can help. Following are some of my favorite tricks.

Blurring the Line Between Reality and Imagination

If having a reflection appear as a straight line through an image doesn’t look good, clone elements from around the reflection to make it less obvious:

  1. Add a new layer to the image and drag it on the top of all the other layers.
  2. Select the Clone Stamp tool and make sure that the Sample All Layers checkbox is selected.
  3. Alt-Click an area of the image to sample it, and paint over the horizontal line with the sample to soften the line.

Cloning onto a new layer allows you to edit the cloned area separately from the original image. In fact, you may notice that nothing we’ve done in these steps has affected the original image.

Cropping the Image

Crop the finished image to create a more interesting result. For example:

  • Crop so the line between the original and the reflection is along the top third of the image, to show more of the reflection and less of the original.
  • Crop along the bottom third of the image, so you see just a little of the reflection (see Figure 7).
Figure 7

Figure 7 This image has the reflection line softened by cloning, and it’s cropped so only a little bit of the reflection shows.

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