top of page
  • Writer's picturestephenriella

Oil and Water Macro Tutorial

Oil and water don't mix which is why this makes for excellent, easy macro photos. The video above gives some tips to get started but I will expand on that in a bit more detail so you can avoid my early errors.

Items needed:

Clear glass or plastic container


Cooking oil

Two light sources, flashlights work, this is pretty flexible

A source of color. This can be colored paper, an iPad with a picture that is very colorful, use your imagination.

Camera or cell phone for taking the images

The setup:

Elevate your container above whatever you are using for color. You don't want to capture the details of the iPad or paper, just the color added to the oil.

If you are using paper make sure you have room to fit one light source under the paper.

Pour the water into the container. I used about one inch of water in a small glass baking dish and that was perfect.

Now add some oil. You don't need much. A tablespoon at most will do. Mix it up so the oil breaks into smaller pieces.

Turn on your lights. One for the color source and I recommend at least one for a side light. The side light will help add some depth to your image.

Set your camera or phone up directly over the top of what you want to shoot. For those that have it, a tripod will make this easier.

For camera users I recommend manual focus and an fstop of no more than 7.1. I used 5.6 in mine but experiment around and see what works best for you. Just make sure you get your focus as crisp as possible.

For those using phones it will take some work but you can focus in on just the oil droplets and crop to get the desired result you are looking for.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out and if you're on Instagram tag me in your photo, I'd love to see what you came up with! Have a great days and stay safe!!

Just search @steve_riella on Instagram


73 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page