Introducing the Digital Photography For Moms Free Reflection Action for Photoshop Elements or Photoshop.  This action runs in PSE 4, 5, 6 & 7 on Vista and XP, and probably works on Macs also.  It also works in Photoshop CS4 and probably other versions as well.

I use this reflection action to add a dreamy tone to my pictures.  However, it will work equally as well for product shots – think Ebay, Etsi or your own web store.  You could also add a mask to isolate the reflection to a mirror, pond or other smooth-surfaced body of water.

It takes a bit of work on the user’s part, so I’ve written detailed instructions below.  Post a comment on this post if you need more help, or send me an email via the Contact form.

Here is the end result:



  • Follow these instructions for installing actions in Photoshop Elements.
  • Open the picture that you’d like to add a reflection to.  Flatten the image and make sure that the only layer is named “Background.”
  • Select the Eyedropper tool from your Toolbox and click on a predominate color from the bottom of your picture to be used as the background of the reflection.
  • Check that this color is the foreground color by looking at the bottom of your toolbox.  You can always change this color later if it doesn’t look right.reflection-select-color-copy2
  • Run the action by double clicking on the action thumbnail in the Effects Palette.
  • After the 2nd message, you will need to drag the upside down layer, which is the basis for your reflection, to the location where you would like it to appear.  This usually works best just under the right side up picture – either with a little space between the two, or so that they are just touching.  Hold down the shift key while you drag so that the two images won’t un-align.  When you get close, release the shift key and the mouse and use your arrow keys to nudge the reflection until the location is right.  Press the green check mark when you are finished.reflection-placement-copy
  • When the Fill Layer Dialogue box opens, make sure that “Foreground Color” is selected in the Use field.
  • After the last message, select the Gradient tool from the Toolbox.  Double click the gradient image at the top left corner of your screen to select  a black to white gradient, then click Linear Gradient, which is the first of the gradient types just to the right.gradient-tool-copy
  • Click and drag the gradient while holding down the shift key to keep it straight.  Start at the bottom of the reflection and release at the top of the reflection.
  • For the last step, adjust the opacities of the Reflection and Background layers to taste.  You can change the color of the background layer by clicking on the layer to activate it, selecting a new color, and going to Edit/Fill Layer/Use Foreground color.  Black or white might be nice choices here too.

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