bolle di sapone macrofotografia

Photographing soap bubbles: How to do it and which equipment to use

Taking Macro pictures of soap bubbles can lead to truly unexpected and surprising results. The tools needed to give it a try for yourself are not that many:

  • A pre-prepared jar of soap bubble liquid; alternatively, water and liquid soap or shampoo
  • A support for soap bubbles
  • One or more light sources, such as a lamp
  • A camera equipped with Macro lens, or with the 77mm or 58mm Close-Up NiSi lens
  • A sturdy tripod and preferably a Macro head like the NiSi Macro Focusing Rail

The soap bubble liquid

Concerning the liquid to be used to make the bubbles, you should try a few different ratios of water and soap, there isn’t a fixed rule to follow. If you’d like bubbles that last more, we recommend you use distilled water and glycerine. For example, you could try these amounts for a more effective solution:

  • 5 ml of glycerine (about a teaspoon)
  • 30 ml of liquid dish soap (about two teaspoons)
  • 120ml of water (about half a glass, but you’re going to want to measure 120 gr/ml to be more accurate)

You should be able to find glycerine at the pharmacy, or in a few well-stocked supermarkets. Or, you could buy a soap bubbles solution, one of those made for children, directly; that way, you’ll also have a plastic support at your disposal.

You can also use a big enough plastic lid as a support for your bubbles, like one that might be used for a jar of jam or Nutella, for instance. You can pierce the closed side of the lid, and after having positioned the soap on the open side (you can dip the lid inside a basin containing the soap solution) you can blow through the opening (you can help yourself with a straw) and create a bubble. As soon as the bubble is “stable” you can put the lid on a flat surface and try to photograph it.

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Prepare a small studio

If you are truly motivated, you can prepare a small studio, isolating the subject (the bubbles) by using coloured or black/white cardboard as a backdrop, to obtain a uniform background.

Prepare the lights too, if you have any studio lights available, place them in such a way that they can illuminate the scene well from different angles. If you have a normal lamp or other non-specialised equipment, you can also point the only direct light on the bubble, so that it may reflect inside the lens, usually that is the best way to obtain a highlight effect.

Remember that light is important to get specific effects, therefore we advise you to play around with the light positioning a lot, and to try out different positions and reflection effects.

Positioning the camera

It is very important to position the camera on a support (tripod) and to use a Macro lens, on an over 70mm telephoto lens together with the 77mm Close-Up Macro NiSi lens, otherwise, the Close-Up 58mm lens is available for a focal length starting from 24/35mm. These are very high-quality lenses, thanks to the exclusive use of two apochromatic lenses, Nano Coating and the exclusive NiSi optical glass.

Make sure you are in the focalisation area (for the 77mm close-up, that would be between about 20 to 40cm with many lenses, for the 58mm close-up, between about 90 and 22cm; but make sure to run some tests!). To optimise the depth of field, we recommend you to close the aperture, even f/16 or more, there is no need to worry about diffraction in this case.

Photographing the soap bubbles!

Finally, you can photograph soap bubbles; remember, it won’t be easy to start with, but that is the fun part. Moreover, to obtain bright colours you can both try to increase the contrast and saturation in post-production, or to add a few drops of food colouring.

We would like to leave you with a demo video showcasing what you can obtain photographing soap bubbles with NiSi Macro products.

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