How To

Drops on Glass

Button up
Roll 'em
Christmas Confetti
Ambiguity and Consternation
Medicine Drop
Creatively Goofing
Happy Halloween to all
Christmas Erasers
Easter M&M's

I'm always looking for something new and interesting to photograph. Although my 'little people' photographs give me the greatest pleasure, I've really enjoyed capturing these "drops on glass" shots as well. After posting several of them, it was suggested that I write an explanation as to how I achieved the results.

With a little ingenuity and a couple of props, you can create some delightful photographs. All of the photos you see here were taken using corn syrup, and following these steps:

1. Gather the items you want to photograph and place them on a flat surface. I've used marbles, push pins, candy, gum balls, pieces of glass, and fresh flowers.

2. Get a sheet of glass and elevate it over the objects. I use 3 or 4 paperback books if I'm photographing smaller objects. Place the books on either side of the objects, then place the glass over the books.

3. For my flower shots (i.e. Summer Colors Last), I put the flowers in a vase on the floor, and suspended the glass between two chair seats.

3. Using a fairly small object, such as a skewer or a straw, dip the end into the corn syrup, then allow the drops of syrup to fall onto the glass. You can experiment with large drops and small drops, perfectly round drops, or elongated drops. Be creative.

4. Using a macro lens (mine is 60mm), with your camera mounted on a tripod, focus on the drops. I alternate between focusing on one and focusing on many. I also switch between auto focus and manual focus.

5. There are no set rules; bring the camera closer to the drops, move the camera away from the drops. Use flash, don't use flash. The important thing is to experiment and find the look you want to achieve.

That's all there is to it. For me, the most important thing is to have fun.

VOTE: Do you like this story?

Tell a friend about this story!

Tell a friend about this story!

  1. or

Hi there!

thought you might like this story!

—The JPG team

112 responses

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (2 Nov 2009):

    Thank you SO much are brilliant ~ !!! :) voted

  • Kristina Gale

    Kristina Gale gave props (2 Nov 2009):

    Wonderful! Voted

  • J. Harris Blacklist

    J. Harris Blacklist said (2 Nov 2009):

    This is simply stunning interesting work!!! my vote!

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (2 Nov 2009):

    These are outstanding works of art....will have to try it. thank you for sharing!! YES!

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (3 Nov 2009):

    Oh, Susan, this is fabulous. This truly deserves to be published. Wish I could vote more than once.

  • Donna Whitecotton

    Donna Whitecotton gave props (3 Nov 2009):

    Outstanding story...this is so cool....I am so glad you shared the "how to".

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (3 Nov 2009):

    You are very creative!! Voted

  • Joy B

    Joy B gave props (4 Nov 2009):

    This is so creative - I love all the photos!!! Just gorgeous!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (5 Nov 2009):

    Yeah, i had figured it out about the glass, but i thought it was water, Have to have a go at this as I love the results, the buttons is my fav...

  • Anne Worner

    Anne Worner (Deleted) said (5 Nov 2009):

    Yup, I reckon this should be in JPG magazine!! Thanks for all the info on this Susan.

  • Suzanne Arnold

    Suzanne Arnold (Deleted) gave props (5 Nov 2009):

    Great story - so creative and results in wonderful photos! voted!

  • diana

    diana (Deleted) gave props (6 Nov 2009):

    cool!! i wondered how you did those. now... i wonder about using other liquids?!?

  • diana

    diana (Deleted) gave props (6 Nov 2009):

    p.s. the button shot is my fav!

  • Steve Baker

    Steve Baker (Deleted) gave props (8 Nov 2009):

    Voted! As ever, gorgeous work. Nice to see them all in one place.

  • Michael Ball

    Michael Ball gave props (8 Nov 2009):

    Fantastic information and the shots are incredible!! You rock Susan!! Voted!!

  • Dawn Duffield

    Dawn Duffield (Deleted) gave props (8 Nov 2009):

    This is soooooooo RAD!!!!!!! Robert and I still haven't tried it :-(

  • Jerry Pittman

    Jerry Pittman gave props (8 Nov 2009):

    Thanx for sharing your ingenuity with us. With winter fast approaching, a new technique and photo fun indoors. GMV

  • Ron LaFond

    Ron LaFond gave props (8 Nov 2009):

    I'm glad you wrote this story. I really appreciate hearing how you do it. The images are such a joy to look at. Most all of these would make terrific, LARGE, matted and framed images. They are gallery perfect, Susan. It's a "Yeah!" R

  • Oregon Curly

    Oregon Curly (Deleted) gave props (9 Nov 2009):

    Ditto Ron. I tried water, but never thought of corn syrup, perfect. Yes, absolutely publishable. (ps blackberry jam doesn't work at all)

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (9 Nov 2009):

    This is so rad! I can' t wait to try it! Thank you, Susan.

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (9 Nov 2009):

    Oops, voted!

  • Hunaid H

    Hunaid H gave props (9 Nov 2009):


  • Brigitte Lenihan

    Brigitte Lenihan gave props (10 Nov 2009):

    Thanx for sharing this!! Love it.. Would have never guessed corn syrup! I am going to try Honey too!

  • Karen Foto Fiddler

    Karen Foto Fiddler (Deleted) gave props (10 Nov 2009):

    Yes publish this! You do amazing work!

  • Sharon Kearns

    Sharon Kearns said (10 Nov 2009):

    Excellent work!! Now i have to try it!!

  • Brenda

    Brenda said (10 Nov 2009):

    This is incredible and seems so simple. Going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing it with us, and inspiring me.

  • Dawn Hayes

    Dawn Hayes gave props (10 Nov 2009):

    Awesome, I will give a try!!!!

  • Lisa Toboz Schreckengost

    Lisa Toboz Schreckengost said (10 Nov 2009):

    this is great information and well-written too (the photographs are gorgeous!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (11 Nov 2009):

    Thanks for sharing your secrets Susan. This looks like a fun project for a rainy day and your examples are beautiful.

  • Aubrey's Oma

    Aubrey's Oma (Deleted) gave props (11 Nov 2009):

    Thanks Susan!

  • Sandy Tyler

    Sandy Tyler (Deleted) gave props (11 Nov 2009):

    Awesome article, love the photos, got my vote!!

  • Devin Hayes

    Devin Hayes gave props (11 Nov 2009):

    Brilliant. Beautiful.

  • Karen Menyhart

    Karen Menyhart gave props (12 Nov 2009):

    thanks so much for the clever idea! I love trying new things!

  • ♥ Cairenn ♥

    ♥ Cairenn ♥ said (12 Nov 2009):

    !! FAB !!!! FAB !!!! FAB !! Susan! - Thank You for sharing!

  • Brian Meeks

    Brian Meeks gave props (2 Dec 2009):

    I can't wait to give this a try. Wonderful article.

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (10 Jan 2010):

    I'm not sure how I missed this article before. It could have save me wondering and thinking how you did it! Awesome and creative idea, Susan. Thank you for sharing. You got my vote, hope this gets published

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (10 Jan 2010):

    You really go through a lot of work to get these wonderful results...You are living proof that excellent work comes from a productive mind with a well thought out plan... I loved your "How To" information also. I am voting!

  • Mary Brown

    Mary Brown gave props (10 Jan 2010):

    Thank you so much for the instructions on how to take these "joyful" shots. I can't wait to try it! However, I don't think anyone can top your shots! Voted!

  • Ann Reece

    Ann Reece   gave props (10 Jan 2010):

    Thanks for the story about how you do this - I am going to try them sometime : )

  • Ron LaFond

    Ron LaFond gave props (11 Jan 2010):

    Still beautiful. And I'd vote again if I could! R

  • Lesley S

    Lesley S (Deleted) gave props (16 Jan 2010):

    This is so cool - definitely going to try it! Voted!

  • Michaela K.

    Michaela K. gave props (17 Jan 2010):

    beautiful! my vote!

  • Giovanni Mannara'

    Giovanni Mannara' gave props (1 Feb 2010):

    I should "copy and paste" Litz! Voted. Thanks a lot (Won't be easy to find corn syrup in Italy... ;)

  • CK Amstutz

    CK Amstutz gave props (17 Feb 2010):

    Love the way you told how you did it, AND love the photos!!!!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (8 Mar 2010):


  • Zerina Phillip

    Zerina Phillip gave props (11 Mar 2010):

    Excellent essay. Your photos are fantastic.

  • Ketsanee

    Ketsanee (Deleted) gave props (11 Mar 2010):


  • Jamie Nardoni

    Jamie Nardoni (Deleted) gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    This is very cool! You are so creative!!

  • Heidi Morris

    Heidi Morris (Deleted) gave props (12 Mar 2010):

    superb and thank you for sharing xxx


    JOE FAILK gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    Very informative Thanks!!! Fantastic photos Vote

  • je suis moi

    je suis moi gave props (14 Mar 2010):

    What a cool idea. :-) with beautiful results. voted also

  • Dhanny P

    Dhanny P (Deleted) gave props (15 Mar 2010):

    SQUEEEE!!! I wondered how you were doing these. beautiful series. I kinda guessed but didn't realise you posted a link until now.. WOO HOO!! More droplets for me to experiment with..

  • PabloHunny

    PabloHunny gave props (17 Mar 2010):

    thank you so much for this!!!

  • Judy Wanamaker

    Judy Wanamaker (Deleted) gave props (28 Mar 2010):

    A stunning gallery! Great how-to essay, Susan. voted.

  • Maurie A

    Maurie A gave props (28 Mar 2010):

    Fabulous....... who knew... corn syrup :~) Thanks for much for the instructions!!

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (28 Mar 2010):

    Wondering how I missed this before!! Wow, does sound interesting. I will have to try it sometime!!!

  • bam!

    bam! said (28 Mar 2010):

    This is so fascinating - thanks much for sharing.

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (4 Apr 2010):

    Heck y e a h!!!! This is way RAD. dp

  • Renee Cettie

    Renee Cettie gave props (4 Apr 2010):

    hell yeah!! Absolutely gets my vote!!

  • Warren ~Mangione~

    Warren ~Mangione~ gave props (11 Apr 2010):

    Thank you, Susan! Very clearly explained. Voted! I really like this technique.

  • adniloj

    adniloj gave props (11 Apr 2010):

    great how to and such the fun series susan

  • Luke Everett

    Luke Everett gave props (13 Apr 2010):

    Very, very cool!!!! Thanks for sharing.....Great idea!!!!

  • Cindy Griff

    Cindy Griff   said (14 Apr 2010):

    Thankyou very much for sharing your interesting and fun photography idea with us all Susan. I would LOVE to try this one day. But know I will never do as good a job as you have done here.

    I think your artwork is very creative, beautiful and inspirational.

  • John Keating

    John Keating gave props (20 Jun 2010):

    This is great! I am going to try it today, I am going to head to the store to get the corn syrup and I will be ib business. I will post some shots later today! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Chad Suber

    Chad Suber (Deleted) said (21 Jun 2010):

    Love it!

  • Michael Risenhoover

    Michael Risenhoover (Deleted) gave props (21 Jun 2010):

    Awesome instructions, I really like these :-)

  • Juanita Vivas

    Juanita Vivas (Deleted) gave props (26 Jun 2010):

    You are so creative and thanks for the instructions. I may try this one day but until then I will enjoy your photos and continue to be amazed!!

  • Charles

    Charles (Deleted) gave props (27 Jun 2010):

    Great technique for some incredible photographs. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jan Hoffman

    Jan Hoffman gave props (27 Jun 2010):

    This is a great project to try; thanks!

  • Catherine Kurvink

    Catherine Kurvink gave props (29 Jun 2010):

    You are amazing!!!

  • Frank Summers

    Frank Summers   said (5 Jul 2010):

    AMAZING! Glad you shared the "secret"!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (11 Jul 2010):

    OMG Susan,,I had no idea this was so intense lol...fabulous is all I can say thanks so much,,now,,let us all try to repeat it LOL..

  • Sierra Rose

    Sierra Rose said (13 Jul 2010):

    you're a genius!

  • Nabeel Alam

    Nabeel Alam gave props (14 Jul 2010):

    Just read it and I’m definitely going to try it, thank you!

  • Bruce Baker

    Bruce Baker   gave props (18 Jul 2010):

    I always wondered...thanks so much for sharing!

  • Linda Houghton

    Linda Houghton   gave props (25 Jul 2010):

    Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful

  • Shauna Rose

    Shauna Rose gave props (16 Aug 2010):

    my vote!

  • Pilar Coll i Gatells

    Pilar Coll i Gatells said (22 Aug 2010):

    Una explicación muy interesante, será cuestión de probarlo.

    Los resultados son muy golosos. Gracias.

  • Pernilla WÃ¥hlström

    Pernilla Wåhlström said (7 Sep 2010):

    Thank you! I'll have to try it.

  • Denise Sarazin

    Denise Sarazin (Deleted) said (29 Sep 2010):

    Voted. Love this idea.

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes gave props (3 Oct 2010):

    Thank you Susan for sharing your wisdom! I would love to try this technique it does look like a lot of fun, and the photographs are awesome!!! Thanks again!

  • Carol Holmes

    Carol Holmes said (3 Oct 2010):

    of course...**voted** ; )

  • Margan Zajdowicz

    Margan Zajdowicz   gave props (23 Jan 2011):

    Very creative! Voted!

  • Russ Wills

    Russ Wills gave props (8 Feb 2011):

    Great work! voted!

  • Mag TY

    Mag TY gave props (30 Mar 2011):

    Thanks for sharing this! I now know what I can do for days I don't feel too happy with my photographs!! :)

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) said (31 Mar 2011):

    would have never figured this glad that you shared this with us.voted of course!

  • Dana Stanley

    Dana Stanley gave props (19 Apr 2011):

    Kewl! Thx!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (3 May 2011):

    Way to go Susan!!

  • Lynda Jeffers

    Lynda Jeffers gave props (6 May 2011):

    I have always loved the way you have done this...fantastic!!

  • Nadeem Shafi

    Nadeem Shafi gave props (11 May 2011):

    Publish, publish, PUBLISH! Thank you, Susan! :))

  • Simonida Jocic

    Simonida Jocic (Deleted) gave props (15 May 2011):


  • Sean-Michael Gettys

    Sean-Michael Gettys gave props (22 May 2011):

    thank you for the inspiration, and the how to! I will definately have to try this I think it will work with my upcoming mandala series

  • Sean-Michael Gettys

    Sean-Michael Gettys said (22 May 2011):

    btw I voted yeah because this story absolutely deserves to be in JPG Mag, and I voted this story of the week

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (22 May 2011):

    Thank you for the nomination, Sean-Michael!! I truly appreciate it, and love that you were inspired by the photos and story!

  • Joerg Schlagheck

    Joerg Schlagheck gave props (25 May 2011):

    Great story and you have my vote!

  • Jason Platt

    Jason Platt gave props (29 May 2011):

    so good..of course I voted too!

  • Katherine Nak

    Katherine Nak   gave props (29 May 2011):

    Thank you! Very creative!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (1 Jun 2011):

    Thank you for sharing your treasured them all. Voted, again ~ !

  • jan-louise haller

    jan-louise haller gave props (7 Jun 2011):

    Excellent...My vote

  • Jill K

    Jill K gave props (20 Jun 2011):

    Brilliant!!! Love it!!! WOW!

  • Anthony Cronin

    Anthony Cronin gave props (20 Jun 2011):

    Your work is always full of new ways and wonderful ideas... an inspiration .. thank you for sharing this technique ..

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (20 Jun 2011):

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words, and a special thank you to Anthony for the nomination for Story of the Week!!

  • Christy

    Christy gave props (20 Jun 2011):

    Thank You!!! Love your pictures!! :)

  • rajan dhakal

    rajan dhakal said (21 Jun 2011):

    thank you very much

  • linda woods

    linda woods said (21 Jun 2011):

    I don't have a true macro. I have a good Sony DSCH9, it has a macro setting. I have to try this. Hope my Sony will do it. If not...headed to the camera store as soon as I can afford it. Do you have lens recs? I have a Canon.

  • Carol Watson

    Carol Watson gave props (22 Jun 2011):

    Wow! Amazing shots!!! Will have to try it once I get a macro lens! So creative! Possibilities are endless!!!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (20 Dec 2011):

    Just reread, you are amazing !

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (10 Jan 2012):

    what a great creativity my dear friend!!! I wish this should be story of the week nominated by JPG...

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (10 Jan 2012):

    Saroj, thank you so much for nominating my story for Story of the Week! You are a dear and kind friend!!

  • JP Cofield

    JP Cofield said (11 Jan 2012):

    Never woulda guessed corn syrup - awesome!

  • Antje Woolum

    Antje Woolum (Deleted) gave props (14 Jan 2012):

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! Easy to follow instructions... :)

  • Lon Casler Bixby

    Lon Casler Bixby   said (10 Jul 2012):

    Fantastic... Can't wait to try this... Thanks :o)

Want to leave a comment? Log in or sign up!