Zooming in — way in — on tiny droplets of water opens up a whole new world as the camera captures the light and color reflected and refracted by water. Even tiny images within the drops themselves can become the centerpiece of a photograph. The following photos are examples of the beauty dew drops add to the world.
Tip: You don't have to wait for a damp morning to capture dew drop photos. Use a water bottle and mist the flowers, grasses or other objects that you want to photograph with water droplets. You can then also control just how many droplets are featured in your photo.
Tip: To capture dew drops that refract objects, photographers make use of a technique called focus stacking. This means taking several photographs with a slightly different point of focus and then stacking them in post-processing. Here is a tutorial on how to capture images like the one above.
Tip: Use a background that helps set off your water droplets. A solid color, or a blurred background that isn't too complicated, will help your water droplets stand out and keep viewers' attention on the detail within the drops themselves, rather than on what else is going on in the image.
Tip: Think about capturing patterns, designs and textures with your dew drop photos. Droplets on the end of each spruce needle create a fan-like design of little jewels. Selective focus with a shallow depth of field keeps the focus on just a few of the needles and simplifies the photo, while still hinting at the texture from the needles in the background.
Tip: You can magnify the texture of the surface of an object with water droplets, such as with the leaf above. Get creative with how you can use dew drops to amplify the intricate details of an object.
Tip: To get water droplets that are larger, add a little glycerine to your water bottle. The nontoxic substance helps water particles bind together, so instead of just mist, you'll be able to get some larger water drops of the size that allow you to photograph refracted images and other creative compositions.
Tip: A good macro lens and extension tubes are the best way to capture dew drop photos, but don't let a lack of equipment stop you from trying. You can also use a zoom lens. Get your subject close to your lens and zoom all the way in to blur your background. Experiment with creative ideas while you save up for gear specific to macro photography.
Water drops not only add interest to the subject, but can also create beautiful bokeh in the background. (Photo: siriwat wongchana/Shutterstock)
Tip: Always use a tripod when photographing water droplets to ensure you have a nice, sharp image. Camera shake, combined with any breeze or vibration causing the water to tremble, will result in a fuzzy photo. So minimize shake where you can by putting your camera on a tripod. Your photos will be that much more sharp, and that much more amazing.