Macro Photography with Rain-X

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What is Rain-X and how can you use it to create some interesting images for macro photography?

Rain-X is a glass cleaner that repels water when applied to a glass surface. Most folks use it on their car windshields to bead the water. I use it to create fun images of water droplets that contain refracted image of a flower within.

Macro Photography with Rain-X

Macro Photography with Rain-X

I first tried this technique several years ago and while I like the look of some of the images I still find it to be a bit of a novelty BUT still a lot of fun to play around with on a rainy day. You never know what you’ll come up with!


First of all you will need a rectangular sheet of clear glass, two side supports to hold the glass up off of the floor approximately one foot, spray bottle filled with water, flower/flowers, small vase (you don’t want the vase to show up in your images -so the smaller the better) and camera gear.


The setup is easy; position the supports to hold the glass. I use buckets since they are light weight and inexpensive. Place the glass on top of the buckets, with the buckets on each side of the long edge of the glass. On the clear glass spray the Rain-X and allow it to dry, After the Rain-X dries use a spray bottle filled with tap water and spray water on top of the glass. The water will bead up and create several water drops. Be careful not to spray too much as the water drops will run together forming one giant water drop instead of several small drops. Place the vase approximately 6 inches underneath the center of the glass and put your flower/flowers in the vase. Next put your camera and macro lens on a tripod and set it up so that it is parallel to the glass.

Being parallel to the glass will put all of the drops on the same plane of focus allowing for greater depth of field. I like to use an aperture of f/8 for this type of set-up for macro photography. If you use a wide aperture many of the drops will not be in focus. If you stop down too much then the flower/flowers that you placed under the glass will appear much more in focus and become a distraction. The image of the flower or flowers that you placed below the glass will be refracted by each water droplet.

Feel free to share your own images in the comments below.

About Author Denise Ippolito

Denise Ippolito is a full time award winning professional photographer, workshop leader, and artist living in New Jersey. Denise travels extensively presenting slide lectures and seminars and teaching photography and Photoshop. Her workshops feature a variety of subjects including: avian, flower, landscape and creative photography.
Denise’s love for nature started at an early age; she has always felt very passionate about wildlife. Knowing, that every living being, depends on the human race to conserve and preserve our natural environment. Through her photography she hopes to broaden awareness and inspire others to share her love for our planet and its resources.
In 2017 Denise’s image titled, Snow Globe was selected as the First Place "Winged Life" category winner for the BigPicture: Natural World Photography Competition. Her image of a Moseley's Rockhopper Penguin was selected as the "Birds" Category Winner in the prestigious Nature's Best 2016 Windland Smith Rice International Awards Competition. In 2015 she also won the Category for "Art in Nature" in the Nature's Best 2015 Windland Smith Rice International Awards Competition.
In 2010 and again in 2014, Denise received a Highly Honored award in the prestigious Windland Smith Rice Nature's Best competition. Also in 2014 one of her images was selected as part of the People's Choice Awards Top 50 Images in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. She has also won several PSA (Photographic Society of America) awards. Her images have been published in the Wall Street Journal, magazines and books, sold as greeting cards, calendars and featured in a Sierra Club Documentary. Most recently, Denise appeared in an episode of Xploration Awesome Planet for Fox 5 television.