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A Guide to Creative Water Photography

Water is a very common subject in photography. From capturing dramatic waves to minute water droplets, there are many creative ways to photograph water that can result in an astounding image. For most of these techniques, you do not need a lot of equipment. All you need is patience and a little bit of luck!

Water Droplets

Water droplets are an interesting subject to try and capture. When photographed up close, they look phenomenally out of this world. To get started, simply find a dropper such as a medicine pipette and a container filled with a liquid of your choice. The higher you position your dropper, the bigger the impact of the drop looks.

For a sturdy shot, mount your camera on a tripod. For the best results, use a macro lens such as the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G or the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED. Macro lenses allow you to get up close and capture intricate details of the water’s texture. By using different shutter speeds and apertures, you’ll be able to achieve different results.

You may also like to experiment with food dyes and other liquids such as milk for different colours and shapes.

Water Drop Refraction

Another creative way to photograph your subject is by experimenting with water drop refraction photography. You can achieve this effect by placing your subject behind a drop of water. A macro lens with a reproduction ratio of 1:1 is recommended so that you’ll be able to capture life sized images of your subject.

Switch to Aperture-priority mode and use an aperture from f/8 to f/10 to achieve a wider depth of field so the focus covers the whole water droplet.

For a dreamy effect, try using a wide aperture such as f/2.8 to create a bokeh in your background.

Try adding sugar to your water or use glycerine as this prevents the water droplet from slipping off the surface easily.


Don’t let the rain dampen your mood! Use the water puddles as a source of reflection for your images. As puddles are generally shallow, they are more likely to be still and have a smooth appearance. Photographing puddles is a great and simple way to achieve breath-taking reflection shots.

Look for a puddle that is without any twigs or dirt as these might obstruct the reflection. Once you’ve found a suitable puddle, and positioned your camera as close to the surface of the water as possible, frame your subject and shoot away. To prevent your camera from getting in direct contact with the water, place your hand under your camera to ensure that your camera stays above the water’s surface.

When photographing liquid, keep in mind that water and your equipment do not get along well. Always ensure that your camera and lens are well protected from getting wet.