How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop

July 11, 2013

in Before & After, Dana Suggs, Photography Creative Team, Photography Tutorials, Photoshop

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

For this week’s photo editing tutorial in our Before & After series, Dana Suggs (a member of our I Heart Faces Creative Team) is teaching us how to create a reflection in a photo using Photoshop.

Don’t you hate it when you try something NEW and it doesn’t work?  For me, it seems to mostly happen in my cooking (I hate cooking, for the record), but sometimes, I’ll have this beautifully laid out plan and new idea only to try and it fails miserably.   THIS was one of those such plans.


The idea was found on Pinterest (thank you, Cindy!) and my small group of fantastic photography-friends wanted to recreate it.  So we set up our Low-Key Lighting studio and went to work!  We used a large black back drop and stand and a large piece of plexiglass to create the reflection.

Yeah, that didn’t work.

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

So, after the fact, I was really bummed and determined to figure this out and make it work.  (On further inspection, I believe the Pinterest photo was done in Photoshop too.  😉  I’m so smart.)

I pulled the edited photo into Photoshop and went to work.  I created a new document first (File > New…) using the dimensions I knew I would need beforehand.  (Yours will differ depending on the size and ratio you are wanting for print.)  I also knew I would need a black background for this project, so I made the background black.  I chose to use a resolution 300 because it would be better for my print.

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

After I had my new document open, I went back to my edited photo and made a loose selection around my ballerina with my lasso tool.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since both backgrounds are black.

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

I then copied the selection of the ballerina. (Edit>copy)

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

Then pasted it onto my new document. (Edit>paste)

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop

Now that I have my ballerina onto my new document, I can move it around anywhere I want and make it as big or as small on the document as I’d like.  (To do this, make sure you are on the layer with your ballerina selection.  Then using your keyboard, type and hold CTRL ALT  and T.)

Now I have roughly the same photo I had before:  beautiful ballerina on a black background.  But what I want is the reflection which was the entire purpose of the photo to begin with!  So….here is the magic:  go back to your EDIT drop down menu, and hit paste again.  Now, you have 2 layers of the same photo. (You may have to resize that one as well to match the size of your first layer.)  While you are on the SECOND layer you just created, you are going to type and hold CTRL+ALT and T again to transform this layer.  With the handy little box open, hover over one of the corners and a little shift arrow pops up.  This will allow you to rotate your photo……UPSIDE DOWN!  (Genius huh?)

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

Now that your photo is upside down, type and hold CTRL +ALT and T one more time for your transform box to open.  Your photo may be upside down, but she is facing the wrong way!  Hold that middle dot on the side and slide it to the left, crossing over your image.  You are literally flipping it over to face the direction you want it to face.  Just watch to make sure you make the mirrored image match in size and shape.

You now have a mirror image of subject.  This is where the ART of your creativity comes into play:  you can adjust that mirror layer however you desire.  In my play, I chose to adjust the opacity.  In the original Pinterest photo, they chose to blur the image.  It all depends on your vision for the photo.

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

And here is the finished image:

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

Let’s see the comparison again side-by-side:

I Heart Faces - How to Create a Reflection in Photoshop via

So the point to all of this is:  1.)  always be willing to try new things and learn new skills….which is probably what brought you to I Heart Faces in the first place. And 2.) if your vision for what you had in mind does not turn out, experiment and try new ideas to make them happen!  Keep trying!


Dana Suggs - I Heart Faces Photography Conference SpeakerDana Suggs is an on-location photographer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, specializing in Children and Seniors photography.  She was happy to hang up her “professional photographer” hat to become the new mom to 3 beautiful children through foster care and adoption.  Together, her and her husband have 6 children.  She believes that her insides are filled with sparkles and glitter and that’s why it’s a little chunkier than everyone else.  HA!  You can find her on her Photography website, Facebook Fanpage (she LOVES stalkers Likers) and, of course, she is a PROUD member of our Creative Team for I Heart Faces!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina November 24, 2015

I love your ability to make fun of yourself at the same time. It makes learning fun when you’re not constantly worried about looking silly 😉


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Iris January 23, 2014

Thank you, Dana! That´s great! Best wishes from Germany, Iris


Rachel July 12, 2013

Always amazing Dana! Really transformed that photo!


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