What if there’s a way to create easy illusion photography?
The idea is to take a photo of yourself into a mirror without the camera being visible. How do you create a hidden camera mirror illusion? Well, it takes roughly three shots, and a little bit of Photoshop trickery.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
What Equipment Do You Need?
This photography technique requires minimal equipment to pull off. Let’s see what you need.
A tripod won’t be necessary for mirror photography. You’ll see why as we go through the entire process below.
How to Find the Best Camera Settings
First, you’ll need to put your camera into Manual Mode. Alternatively, you can lock the exposure so that all the photos come out the same.
If you’re not sure what settings to use in manual mode, then start with Aperture Priority.
Set your aperture between f/8 to f/16 to ensure a sharp image for mirror photography. Then take note of the shutter speed your camera automatically selects.
Now go to ‘Manual Mode’ and choose the value you selected in ‘Aperture Priority’. Then, use the same shutter speed your camera chose earlier.
I also recommend using autofocus, so you don’t have to fumble around with the lens.
And that’s it! You’re ready to shoot try some mirror photography awesomeness!
How to Shoot Hidden Camera Mirror Tricks
How do you take a picture in a mirror without seeing the camera? You can’t because it’s impossible. But it’s all about doing the right tricks which we’ll show you below.
- Go in front of the mirror.
- Lift the camera with your right arm and take a photo of your left arm.
- Now do the opposite with your right arm. This step can feel a bit awkward. Make sure you hold the camera properly and have access to the shutter button.
- Finally, place your camera on your chest and take a picture of your face in front of the mirror. Make sure the camera does not show up in your face portrait.
How to Enhance the Results in Post-Processing
First of all, load all your three images and layer them on top of each other in Photoshop.
Take a layer mask to remove half of the top photo (the right arm photo), so that the left arm comes through before. To do this, select the photo at the top layer and select the layer mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Now click on the brush in the tool section and select black as the paint color.
With the layer mask still selected, start painting the area you want to remove. The photo below will then begin to show up.
You then add another photo, which hasn’t got your face blocked by the camera, and if possible, avoiding the top of your chest. I’ve put this layer in the middle of my photo to show you how I’ve used a layer mask.
When you have your face and chest masked how you want it, you move this layer over the top of your body into the right place.
Now you have a self-portrait without the camera showing!
Retouching Your Photo for the Perfect Result
If you’ve been carefully doing the steps, then this mirror photography technique should be relatively easy to complete.
If not, then it’s time to get some Photoshop trickery out. A little bit of clone tool here and there, and a pinch of ‘Content-Aware Fill‘ later, I’m able to make mine come out perfect. A slight crop to remover the overlapping, and I’m done.
Now let’s get into the details of this process:
- First, you’ll need to duplicate your layers and merge them.
- Now use the zoom tool to inspect the image. Pay close attention to the area around the neck and the face.
- Various imperfections in your image may need a specific tool for retouching.
Once you select this tool, all you have to do is go through the messy areas and click on them. Photoshop then automatically fixes and cleans them up for you.
If you want to clean up large imperfections, consider using the patch tool. Select a section, then drag it to the part that you want to copy.
This tool is for filling the gaps you may see in the picture. Once you select it, press Alt + Click to choose an area you want to copy. In most cases, it would be the shirt in the photo.
For large gaps where the clone tool won’t work, then consider using ‘Content-Aware Fill’. First, select the opening, then right-click and select ‘Fill’. Click on ‘Content-Aware’ and hit Okay.
After using content-aware fill, you may need to use the healing brush tool again to clean up the mess.
Thankfully, this photography technique doesn’t require a lot of editing. For the most part, all you need to do is patch up a few areas, and you’re good to go!
Holding the camera in front of the mirror can be a bit challenging. So feel free to do some test shots until you get used to handling your device and taking photos.
But for the most part, you don’t even have to be that meticulous about it. Just make sure the images are sharp, and you can take care of the rest in Photoshop.
It’s a great way to not only create a unique photo but also to help you master photo editing. So go ahead and give it a try!
Hidden camera mirror photography is one of the topics we cover in our creative photography course, Wow Factor Photography. Below is a photo taken by one of our students. If you’d like to learn more, check out the course here.