Taking impressive abstract photographs of water drops is not that difficult and produces an original effect. Find out in this tutorial how to achieve this using a macro lens.
Certain disciplines require specific tools, this is particularly the case for macro photography. As the name suggests, it requires a macro lens, that is, a lens with a reproduction ratio of at least 1:1.
And if certain lenses are not strictly speaking macro optics which do not reach the 1:1 ratio, they can definitely be used. Let us mention at random the RF 35mm f/1.8 macro IS STM and Lumix S 24-105mm F4 Macro OIS , respectively from Canon and Panasonic. They both benefit from a 1:2 ratio.
A macro lens, a camera and a tripod
The camera does not require any particular technology, quite the contrary! However, certain aiming assistance systems can be useful, such as magnifying glass mode or focus peaking – the sharp part of the photo is highlighted when focusing. Also note that a high definition of the sensor makes it easy to crop the image to highlight certain details of the photo without loss of quality.
In macro photography, the depth of field is very small and makes focusing difficult. The use of a tripod is therefore practically essential. It will also allow you to photograph with a long exposure time to capture enough light.
Glass and waterproofing
After talking about photographic equipment, let’s talk a little about the subject: the drop of water. Simply sprinkled on any surface, water tends to clump together in uninteresting puddles rather than dispersing into very round and aesthetic drops. To achieve the desired effect, you must use a hydrophobic product which will “tighten” the water in the form of bubbles. Examples include Baranne type waterproofing products for shoes and Rain-X type waterproofing products . As is often the case, you have to do some experimentation to find the best solution. Indeed, the nature of the hydrophobic product used and its quantity changes the shape and appearance of the water drops.
While a smooth surface does the trick, we recommend using transparent glass to achieve many effects. The glass is smooth, easy to clean and relatively difficult to scratch. On the other hand, it is relatively fragile. While it is possible to buy cut glass from a DIY store, we ordered a photo frame which has the advantage of being able to be reused for its initial use. In addition, the edges are beveled and avoid the risk of injury.
A spray bottle, water and some resourcefulness
To spray the water on the surface to be photographed, we recommend using a spray bottle to generate a very fine mist which will deposit countless even drops on the glass.
The most motivated will equip themselves with colored backgrounds, clips, trestles, flashes or reflectors. The possibilities are numerous and allow you to multiply the effects. But rest assured, it is entirely possible to obtain an excellent result without equipping yourself with the full range of the perfect photographer!
As we mentioned in our article on indoor photography with natural light, it is important to position yourself well in relation to a window to obtain sufficient lighting. In our case, we used two emptied drawers as supports for the glass. Without a garden or garage, we take the images in the kitchen of a Parisian apartment. It is therefore necessary to protect the surfaces to avoid spraying the areas with waterproofing.
Even if the result is sometimes excellent out of the box, it can always be improved in post-production (correct small defects, revive colors, adjust exposure, crop the image, etc.) using software cataloging or retouching. You can even play with contrasts, highlights and lowlights to refine the images.