LOGIN/SIGN UP function is disabled for upgrade and maintenance. It will resume on 22/01/2022 10.30 AM SGT. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials

How to Photograph Water Droplets that Sparkle!

Rainy days usually pose a problem for photography. However, if you are willing to change your perspective a little, you can take pictures only possible in rainy scenes. here is a macro photography technique to help you make your raindrop photos sparkle brightly. (Reported by: Yoriko Yamagishi)

Water droplets shot with the EOS 6D

EOS 6D / EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM/ FL: 100mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/180 sec, EV +1.7)/ ISO 200/ WB: White fluorescent light (B9)
In the midst of the falling rain, use a flash to illuminate raindrops on a spider’s web in order to make them shine brightly like a gemstone.

Read: Using Flash in Macro Photography


Synchronize the flash diagonally from the back

To capture the glimmering water droplets, shoot from the side of the spider’s web, and focus on the droplets at the back. By using the widest aperture on your macro lens, you can lead the viewer’s eyes to the main subject (water droplets) at the centre of the photo by blurring the other droplets at the front and back of the subject. To achieve a sparkling and refreshing look, use an EV+1.7 exposure compensation and the White fluorescent light White Balance setting to increase the blue tint. 

In addition, in order to make the colour of the bokeh circles more of a light blue colour, I added some blue in the using the White Balance Correction function ([WB Shift/Bkt.] on the shooting menu) to give the picture an overall turquoise blue tone. Also, the flash was positioned slightly away and diagonal from the subject to prevent the lighting from becoming too harsh.

For more on White Balance Correction, check out:
How to Render Colours with the White Balance Correction Function


Failed shot: The water droplets will not sparkle without light from a flash

Water droplets (failed shot)

EOS 6D / EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM/ FL: 100mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/2.8, 1/180 sec, EV+1.7)/ ISO 200/ WB: White fluorescent light (B9)
As there is usually not as much light during rainy days, without the light emitted from a flash unit, the radiance from the droplets will be moderate at best.

Here are more ideas and tutorials on photographing water droplets:
Macro Lens Techniques: Brilliantly Capture the Sparkle in a Water Droplet
EOS M5 Shooting Techniques: Macro Photography


Receive the latest update on photography news, tips and tricks.

Be part of the SNAPSHOT Community.

Sign Up Now!

Digital Camera Magazine

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
Published by Impress Corporation

Yoriko Yamagishi

Yoriko Yamagishi

Born in Aichi Prefecture, Yamagishi became a professional photographer after developing an interest in photography during her stay in the U.S. in 1997. She specialises in portrait snaps and close-up nature shots.