Are these reflections real or Photoshopped?

Started Aug 16, 2014 | Questions thread
richardplondon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,781

These look to me like copied and "flipped" representations only, done up to look vaguely like reflections. Perhaps there were some real reflections in the scene which were considered not mirror-like enough, and replacements faked up in post; but I'm inclined to guess they were simply made up altogether.

Because real reflections show in a different angular perspective, than the direct view does.

For example: say you are standing 50 feet away from a person, and both your eye-point and the subject's face are 5 feet above a mirror surface. You are photographing the person's face straight-on, but photographing the reflection of that as if from a position that is 10 feet lower down (located below, instead of above, the mirror).

You therefore expect to see more of the underside of the model's chin, and less of the top of the model's head, and there'll be more vertical foreshortening, etc. Also the person will be seen very differently against the more distant background - in the reflection the head would be silhouetted higher up, against the sky, instead of being seen positioned in front of the horizon. And so on.

There's no way to turn a direct representation into a reflected representation systematically, by a 2D transform. And whenever you don't see those differential 3D changes of angle in a photo purporting to show a reflection, it looks unnatural and uncanny - however carefully done - the moment your attention is drawn to it.

Of course this kind of slightly disturbing visual effect may have been the photographer's intent here; but if so, it's IMO a rather slick, gimmicky and contrived way to make an impact.

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