How to make beautiful frozen soap bubble photos this winter
It’s hard to conjure up the motivation to go outside and take photos when it’s 10 degrees below zero (so I’m told!). However, there are plenty of interesting and beautiful subjects to explore that won’t take you far away from your warm living room.
In this video, Jens from Another Perspective shows us how easy it is to shoot gorgeous snowflakes inside soap bubbles. The best part is that you don’t need any expensive equipment (apart from a camera and lens).
- Dish soap
- Bubble blower loop (like you get for kids)
- Snow or ice cubes added to the mix to cool it down
- Camera plus 1:1 macro lens
- Light source such as a flashlight, strobe or LED light.
The right mixture is crucial for creating captivating frozen soap bubbles. Start with a mixture of 100 mL of water, 10 mL of dish soap, and 10 mL of glycerin. If the bubbles aren’t freezing, consider adding snow or ice cubes to cool the mixture.
The Freezing Process
When the temperatures drop below -8°C, it’s time to start. Make sure you wrap up warmly (I sound like everyone’s Grandmother right now!). As you blow soap bubbles, you’ll notice small crystals forming immediately as they freeze.
The magic happens in the thin layer of water sandwiched between two layers of soapy water—the middle layer freezes, turning into ice inside the soapy layers.
You can use any light source you want, from sunlight to a flash to a reflector. Experiment with different light sources to create different effects.
Taking the shot
Jens recommends using a bottle cap to place the bubbles on so that you can keep the position the same. Focus manually on the bubble. If you have a higher magnification lens, you can crop in even closer to isolate individual crystals within the bubble. These can create some beautiful abstract images.
Wind can be a problem and will interfere with the formation of the bubbles, so make sure you set up your camera in a sheltered spot.
If you live in a cold enough place, this could be a really fun thing to try. You could even get your kids involved with helping to make the bubbles, and you’ll have a nice stock of icey wintry images that you can use for holiday cards.
I’d try it myself, however, the lowest temperature forecast for December where I live is 19C! I’m going to have to find a walk-in freezer!
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe