Macro Photography Tutorial – Abstract reflections in water droplets

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Today we will be sharing a macro photography tutorial on shooting abstract reflections in water droplets. This is a fun macro photography idea and we hope that it will be a fairly easy tutorial for you to try at home. This simple project will require you to be creative!

Macro Photography Tutorial Steps - Abstract Reflections in Water Droplets

Inspired by the new Superman Movie – Abstract Reflections in Water Droplets

Macro Photography Equipment Required

  • Camera + Lens (We used a macro lens)
  • Tripod

Other Equipment Required

  • Coffee table with glass top *
  • Lighting / Table lamp
  • A glass of water
  • A material / cloth / paper with some nice patterns on it as background (We were somewhat inspired by the new ‘Superman’ movie so we looked around for something that related to ‘Superman’. We eventually found a very very old Superman T-Shirt that was laying around in the house.)
  • RainX & cloth (Click to find out¬†WHAT IS RAINX? This is what you commonly use on your car windscreens to repel water)
  • Water dropper pipette / eye dropper

* If you do not have a glass top coffee table, you can remove the piece of glass from a photo frame. Each corner of the piece of glass will need to be propped up with books/cans/anything you can find. You could try stacking 2 cans on each corner.

Macro Photography Tutorial Steps – Abstract Reflections in Water Droplets

Abstract Water Droplets Setup

Abstract Water Droplets Setup (Sorry a little dark!)

  1. Clean the glass on the coffee table and wipe dry OR
  2. If you are using the piece of glass from a photo frame, clean the glass and then prop each corner of the glass piece with a few books or cans
  3. Place your background under the glass top of the coffee table / piece of glass. This will act as the background for your photos. Remember that you will need to place your background image upside down. When the image is reflected by the water droplets, it will always be inverted. So for our superman background, we placed him upside down. Once reflected into the water droplets, he will be the right way up.
  4. Place the lighting / table lamp under the glass top of the coffee table / propped up piece of glass. Turn on the light. This is should now light up the background material that you have selected
  5. Setup tripod close to the top of the glass top.
  6. Mount camera onto the tripod and check that you can see the selected background
  7. If RainX is not applied, your water droplets will not bead.

    Step 7) If RainX is not applied onto your glass, your water droplets will not bead. It will look like a pool of water!

    Apply some RainX onto a piece of cloth or paper towel and apply it onto the glass on the table top. (This is a step that you should not miss as this will help to make your water bead which in turn helps you to get great looking water droplets and great reflections. Here is an example of how it will look like if you did not apply RainX. You can see that the water is not beading at all and it looks like a pool of water instead.)

  8. Use the dropper pipette / eye dropper and suck some water from your glass of water.
  9. Drop the water droplets onto the coffee table glass (in whatever pattern you choose). Try creating different droplet sizes for fun!
  10. By now, you should be able to see the reflection in your water droplets. You may need to adjust your background material to ensure that the reflection is positioned correctly. Remember you may also have to adjust how far (height) your background is from the coffee table glass.
  11. All you have to do now is to aim and shoot on your camera. As always, ensure you take the photo with a remote or a timer to reduce camera shake.

Macro Photography Tips & Techniques – Abstract Reflections in Water Droplets

  1. Remember that you can be as creative as you want with this project. If you want your background to be more in focus, choose a small aperture setting (eg. f/22). If you don’t want the background to be as defined or in focus use a larger aperture (f2.8). As always try all the different aperture settings. Playing around with different aperture settings here will help you learn about depth of field!
  2. If the water droplets look too mundane, try adding a mist of water over your glass by using a spray bottle. It adds a nice effect to the photo!
  3. Remember that RainX is the key to the water beading! If you don’t have RainX laying around in your house, you can easily buy one from Amazon

Hopefully you enjoyed this macro photography tutorial on abstract reflections in water droplets. Please show us some of your own water droplet photos!

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