Get Surreal With
Oil and Water Photos

Have you ever tried to mix oil and water? Fortunately it just doesn’t work.

“Wait,” you say. “Why is this fortunate?”

Well because, otherwise you wouldn’t get such fantastic-looking effects when you try to combine the two!

And once you get close (like macro close) then oil and water’s aversion to mingling will result in some seriously surreal photographs.

Excited yet? Good! ‘Cause we’re here to walk you through the five easy steps it takes to create these magical macro shots.

Simple Steps for Oil and Water Magic

Why It’s Cool:

beforeThere’s a good chance you’ll be able to skip a trip to the store and find all the ingredients needed for this project right under your roof.

But even cooler than that? How easy these out-of-this-world photos are to accomplish! After a simple set up you’ll be left with some truly gorgeous creations.

(You’re gonna want to brag afterwards, and we don’t blame you!)

The Ingredients:

  • Cooking oilbefore
  • Water
  • Desk lamp
  • Clear glass plate or bowl
  • Sheet of glass or plastic from picture frame
  • Colored construction paper
  • Macro lens (or lens adapter)
  • Two chairs

Step 1: Make A Bridge

before

Place your chairs so they’re facing each other, leaving a space between them. Lay the picture frame glass/plastic across the gap. Set your glassware on top.

This setup will make more sense once you mosey on down to steps two and three!

Step 2: Set Up Your Backdrop

before

Put your construction paper on the floor directly beneath the glassware. This is what’s gonna give your photo a fun, vibrant backdrop.

Layer multiple colors on top of each other for a cool rainbow design. Or choose your favorite two colors for a two-tone effect.

Step 3: Shine Your Light

before

Place your desk lamp (or flashlight!) on the floor and aim it towards your construction paper.

This not only brightens up your backdrop, but the light will also bounce off the paper and light up the underside of your dish.

Step 4: Pour It In

before

Pour some water into your dish (make sure it doesn’t overflow if you’re using a plate!).

Then slowly pour a little bit of oil on top of the water. You can gently manipulate the size and placement of the bubbles with your finger or a toothpick.

Step 5: Snap Away!

before

Now you’re ready for the really fun part.

Since thesse shots look best when done super duper close, we recommend turning your cam to its macro setting or slapping a macro lens onto your phone.

Shoot from above, then try slightly different angles. Use fast shutter speeds to keep blur at bay, and steady your shot with a tripod. Pour in more oil and mix up the bubbles.

Experiment and above all else: have fun!

Taking it further