How to Improve Your Photographs of Water Drops


From a small, transparent glossy circle to a looking glass that reflects surroundings, water drops fascinate photographers and viewers. We see them captured as stills, clear water, colored from the surroundings and reflective of what's nearby. From macros to telephotos, standard post processing to creative editing, tiny water drops make powerful images.

We'll take a look at several water drop photos for inspiration. Tips for creating your own or taking advantage of nature's creations are included.

How to Create & Photograph Action Water Drops:

It's not expensive to create your own ‘water drop lab. A medicine dropper for the water, a container, a tripod and macro lens (recommended and that is the more costly element) combined with good light will get you started. A remote cable release will also make it easier.

The light source could be from natural or in/off camera flash. For an added zip, add food coloring to the water, or just the water in the dropper for some contrast. Milk is another good liquid source that produces interesting results.

Practice and take a lot of shots using a shallow depth of field (big aperture, small f/stop number)! The bigger the aperture, the faster the shutter speed.

Our options are many. Dishes, trays, bird baths, pools, your own creativity can determine the water source. Consider your angle, a little above the drop or even at eye level.

Applying Minimalist Techniques

A single, small water drop adds a welcoming defined shape when balanced with a dandelion. This lone drop was found in a morning field after sunrise. The dew dissipates quickly as the sun warms the earth.

Many water drops appear on the top of flowers, leaves. Finding drops underneath adds another element of interest.


Black and White

Using black and white adds dramatic dimension. Even if you like the color version, switch to black and white to see the effect. Here's a recent article on how to quickly convert your color photos to black and white.

.The f/10 aperture created more front and back drops in focus.
by Wendy

Punch up the Color

Water and color combined add a bit of drama. Don't be shy with edits. Your image may be naturally rich with color or you can add your own level of intensity in post processing.

Light and Airy

Dew on delicate spider webs give the appearance of floating water drops. Working with darker backgrounds and a shallow depth of field will increase the contrast.

Mixing Patterns & Textures

The non-linear veining on leaves and petals provide a stark contrast with clear, shiny water drops. A single drop becomes the focal point where as multiple drops highlight the subject as in the leaf and flower examples below.

If you missed the dew drops of the morning, you can create your own with a small water bottle. From a distance gently spray your subject. Some have nozzles that can be adjusted to create different sizes of droplets.

Looking Glass

Even though the reflection in the water drop it is a common technique, that doesn't diminish it's impact. Use a water drop that has the reflection of a nearby image. To really see the image up close, some cropping may be needed depending on the lens/camera used.

We don't have to wait for rain, create water drops in a studio, or use a flash. Water drops can be found just about every morning underneath our feet. The morning dew glistened from the early sun. Getting level with the subject (along with getting a little bit wet as I had to lay down on the grass), paid of with a green, glistening perspective.

Water drops and macro lenses make perfect photography partners. Depending on your specific lens and creativity preferences, taking many shots with multiple settings will provide many images to work on in post processing.

About Author

Sheen Watkins is a conservationist, wildlife photographer, instructor, author and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website.

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