We use scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) to characterize different plasmonic-nanoparticle situations with high spatial and spectral resolution in this comparative study. The near-field enhancement is measured with an aperture probe (Al coated glass fiber) and two CCD spectrometers for simultaneous detection of reflection and transmission. The images of transmission and reflection show a correlation to the topography. We present a new way to access the relative absorption and discuss the results with consideration of artifact influences. Near-field enhancements are deeper understood by imaging isolated particles. This near field will be compared to measurements of random-particle distributions. Therefore, we will show normalized reflection and transmission images of random structures that lay the foundation for an absolute interpretation of near-field images. The normalization considers both the far-field UV/VIS results and a reference image of the substrate. The near-field reflection of nanoparticle arrays shows an enhancement of 25 %. In view of specific applications, particle distributions implemented in two ways: as far-field scatters and as near field enhancing objects.