Adding Dew Drops to Enhance Macro Nature Photography

Here is a secret weapon to add to your camera bag. It’s another simple tip that can take your nature photos to a whole new level!

how to photograph macro dew drops

Photo by Susanne Nilsson; ISO 125, f/2.8, 1/125-second exposure.

Flower photography is what got a lot of us interested in photography in the first place. Even if flower photography wasn’t part of you getting bitten by the photo bug, and you have no interest in them at all, they’re a very good subject to practice on and learn to master your photo equipment.

Have you noticed that with most stunning flower photos, they are covered with dew drops?

The same with spider webs. In fact, in this case, dew drops are an essential element of the shot. They shimmer, sparkle, and reflect, and they really make your photo come to life! In fact, without dew drops, a spider web photo is fairly boring.

Here is a secret… the dew drops are rarely—if ever—real.

The photographer’s secret weapon that should always be in your camera bag is a small spray bottle of water.

This way, no matter what time of day you’re shooting and no matter if there is dew or not, just give the flower a few spritzes and voila! You have a dew covered flower.

macro droplet photo techniques

Photo by Roger Smith; f/8.0, 1/60-second exposure.

That’s how the pros do it, they are not searching out flowers and spider webs with natural dew drops!

Here is another tip. Sometimes with a spray bottle, we don’t get “dew drops” that are big enough to read well in the photo. Do you want the dew drops to be a bit bigger?

Try adding some glycerin to the water. It will help the water molecules bond together and make bigger “dew drops.” By the way, if you get thirsty, don’t drink the water and glycerin mix. Hydrate in some other way.

Adding glycerin and making the drops larger is almost essential if you want to get one of those close-up shots of a single dew drop reflecting the flowers behind it. Theese types of photos have better than average chance of doing well in photo contests.

best macro droplet photo tips

Photo by Reuben Degiorgio; ISO 400, f/32.0, 3-second exposure.

Make today the day you commit to being the kind of photographer you dreamed of being when you first got into photography. You can do it—it’s not that hard. Add a glycerin-water bottle to your camera bag so it’s always available, and use flowers and spider webs as practice subjects. Who knows, that next photo contest winner could be you!

About the Author:
Dan Eitreim writes for He has been a professional photographer in Southern California for over 20 years. His philosophy is that learning photography is easy if you know a few tried and true strategies.

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12 responses to “Adding Dew Drops to Enhance Macro Nature Photography”

  1. Becky Enders says:

    How much glycerin:water do you use?
    Nice article. Thanks

  2. AA Bell says:

    What a brilliant trick for photos of flowers and spider webs!! And so easy!! ….

    Also gives me a great idea for my next murder mystery!

  3. DJ says:

    I’ve checked online to see where to buy glycerin. I found out where, but also found that there are also several types to choose from such as pure, vegetable, etc. So, which type is best and what is the formula for mixing with water (how many parts glycerin to how many parts water)?

  4. Tim says:

    A tiny bit of natural dish wash soap in your spray can provide glycerin and color spectrum appeal.
    it is also an organic, Earth friendly method to encourage pest (like Aphids) to find another spot

  5. AA Bell says:

    Thanks Tim!
    I’d been wondering about that too.

  6. Love the use of dew drops, amazing stuff! Definitely has inspired me to take some shots like that.

  7. Seamus says:

    Adding Glycerin or soap to the water not only deters afids etc., but will also make the spider (that painstakingly built the beautiful web you are now turning into your next masterpiece) move and build elsewhere. I know, I have made that mistake. I now only use water on webs. Remember, as photographers of wildlife and Nature, take only photographs, leave only footprints.

  8. Bruce says:

    Interesting point about chasing the spider away from its own web because of the use of Glycerin. I suppose you could “rinse” away the Glycerin by having a second water-only spray bottle to use gently after your photo shoot is done.

    I have found that a glycerin-to-water ratio of 1 to 3 is about right. Making a higher concentration will make the water drop even rounder-some might say a little less natural looking.

    For real extreme close-ups I’ve used a dropper for exact placement of a single drop to get some cool macro photos. In any case it’s a lot of fun to play around with different methods to find the one that works best in your situation.

  9. Misty Dawn says:

    As a nature photographer whose niche is dew drop photography (legitimate/REAL dew drops), I wondered how some people were getting these perfect dew drop bubbles, located in just the perfect place to fully refract a flower. Now I know. I won’t use this technique, because part of the whole enjoyment for me is finding and capturing the true dew of the morning. However, it’s interesting to learn how people are ‘creating’ their own dew.

  10. Paul Brace says:

    hi guys, thank you for allowing me into your Macro World, hopefully I will be posting shots in due course.

  11. Nicolaas says:

    How much glycerin do you add to the water?

  12. AM says:

    Where have people found tiny spray bottles that dont leak ?

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