Fine Art Photography And Water Reflections

Many people ask about my water drop reflection photographs, are they photo manipulations or captured images? They are true captured images and I would like to show you that it is possible to produce this kind of shot with little effort. With some imagination and creativity, you will be ready to take a groundbreaking image in no time!

The Physics Behind Water Drop Reflections

Water drops tend to be spherical, and this is perfect for us because they act like a photographic lens. The only thing you need to do is get close enough with your camera to capture a picture like these examples. A macro lens is perfect for this subject matter. If you do not know about macro photography, the important idea is this: a macro lens acts like a microscope, allowing us to photograph tiny subjects with detail.

You can use extension tubes attached to your macro lens to get closer to the drops, they can be helpful but they are not completely necessary.

A Treasure of Dices And GemsA Treasure Of Dices And Gems – Water Drop Reflections

Creating The Perfect Shoot

The next step to arrange droplets in front of the main subject. If you look close at the “Sunflowers” example, you can notice the difficulties of arranging the branches and drops in a real sunflower field. I made this photograph at home, using the same setup as you can see in diagram above. In fact, my sunflowers field was an image I had taken previously that was displayed in my monitor to serve as the backdrop.

Photography-Water-Drops-Reflection-DiagramWater Drop Reflection Photography Diagram

I put a monitor behind the drops; this allows me to have complete control over the reflection. The image to be reflected does not need to be maximized so you can move it left, right, up, down, make it bigger, smaller, etc. to get the perfect reflection for your photograph.

It is also important to line up the drops and the camera with the monitor. This will allow you to get uniform and perfect reflections on each drop of water.

I hang the drops on a variety of objects, from paperclips to small branches. The objects are up to you; just try finding something suitable for the kind of background you are going to use.

Water Drops Reflections Setup
Water Drop Reflection Setup – Click on it to see it bigger

The other important thing is to play with depth of field. If you increase it, the details of the reflection will be better; however, this will make the background more focused, so you can experiment to get the perfect balance in each case.

The Secret Ingredient: Glycerin

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Getting the drops in the right position or get them to be large enough can be a real nightmare. It is far more complicated that it looks if you have never tried it. Can you do something to make this task easier? The answer is yes.

Glycerin, or glycerol, is a viscous, colorless liquid used in some pharmaceutical products. It can be found in pharmacies, it is cheap and is the perfect asset for our task.

Mix a small quantity of glycerin with the water and you will observe that the water gets sticky and arranging the drops will be much easier than before.

The only think you have to do is mixing a small quantity of glycerin with water, you will observe that the water will get sticky and arranging the drops will be much easier than before. Do not mix a lot of liquid, with a bottom of a glass will be far enough.

To put the drops on place you can use a little brush.

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Learn to use water drops reflections to create ground breaking photograph!

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As I promised, creating this kind of photograph is easier than it looks. The only limitation is your creativity and I am confident that will not be a problem. If we can put a field of sunflowers in drops without worrying about the wind, you can create a reflection of the universe itself with no extra effort.

Practice with different backgrounds; start using sharp subjects with bold colors and you will get stunning results in no time.

7 thoughts on “Fine Art Photography And Water Reflections

  • October 21, 2012 at 02:44

    This makes so much sense! Thankyou for sharing your knowledge. I have been trying to work out how to achieve the photos I want.

    • October 21, 2012 at 23:32

      Thanks for the comment Rose, I’m really glad to being able to help you to create art.

  • April 15, 2013 at 12:52

    Your photos are beautiful! Thanks for the tips on how to create our own!

  • June 3, 2013 at 06:14

    Hi Marc!
    Thank you so much for sharing. I have really been wanting to learn how to do this photography. I had some attempts which I did after a heavy rain when I find a lot of stable water droplets. Now, am excited to try your way. 🙂

  • February 22, 2014 at 03:50

    Omgosh, I have been beating my head against the wall trying to get the perfect droplet.. needless to say that it didn’t pan out for me lol, thank you for the tips & tricks! Cheers~

  • February 5, 2015 at 04:11

    I am trying but i can’t stop de drops!
    How you did that?
    The drops down always and are very small.
    Thank you!

    • February 6, 2016 at 09:55

      You can try to increase the amount of
      glycerin you are using in the mixture; it usually works for me. Besides that, the
      object used to hang the drops is important. Test a few; you will notice
      difference on the size of your drops.


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