#2 Create your own DIY studio
You don’t have to sink all of your hard-earned cash into costly props to get great photos. Heidi Westum (500px.com/heiwe) built her own setup on the cheap and achieved amazing results.
“Ever since buying my first macro lens I’ve loved experimenting with different techniques. However, I quickly learned that you don’t need a big studio with expensive equipment to take abstract macro images. In fact, I’ve found that the best kit can come from unexpected places.
“I really enjoy working with oil and water. The colours of the background are reproduced very nicely, but it can be a bit of a challenge to keep the oil drops sharp. This requires a fast shutter speed, as well as a certain distance between the subject and the background.
“To achieve this I use a basket stand from Ikea. I place a plexiglass plate at the top, where I put the oil and water, while I add my desired background colours into one of the baskets below. On the sides of the stand I then attach different lamps with flexible necks that I can bend so that the background is illuminated correctly.
“In the past I’ve tried different types of oil, but I now consistently use Ikea’s white furniture oil. The drops are more viscous than olive oil, so it is easier to find the right focus. I use so many Ikea props that you could almost believe that I’m sponsored by them (although I’m not). They even inspired the colour scheme for this image!”