Ever wanted to know how to make spectaculair photo’s of (water)drops? It’s less difficult than you might expect. This article will describe how to make those photo’s yourself.

Update: You might want to look at my DIY waterdrop device

You need some tools and equipment to get started:

  • dSLR (a compact camera is more difficult due to the shutter lag);
  • off camera flash like i.e. a SB-26;
  • some way to trigger the off camera flash device, i.e. a Cactus wireless flash trigger;
  • a tripod to mount your camera on;
  • preferably a remote trigger solution;
  • piece of background paper, this will determine the color and details in the drops;
  • something to hold the water;
  • something that can drop a drop of water so now and then.

Now you are ready to go.

The easiest way is to fill your sink with water and turn on the faucet just a little bit so a drop of water falls every couple of seconds into the sink. Put the piece of paper of other background material behind the scene and use your flash to light the paper (not the water itself).
Set your flash on manual with about 1/16 power which creates a very short lighting pulse to freeze the drop movement. Setup your camera on a sufficient aperture. The darker the environment, the lower (low F-number) your setting can be to create a limited depth of field. Probably it’s best to start practising using F16 to create relatively large depth of field and you can keep some light in the room to see what you are doing. The shutterspeed can be the fastest that your flash allows, usually about 1/160 – 1/200. After takin a picture, check your camera display to see if the lighting is okay. You can control this by changing aperture and/or the flash power.

I assume you already understood to mount the camera on the tripod and point it to the area where the waterdrop hits the water surface ;-).

The trickiest part of all is to get a sharp focus on the drop. A trick is to use a pen or pencil and hold that about 1 cm above the area where the drops fall. Then manual focus on the pen, you should then have a perfect focus on the waterdrops.

The flash I used is capable to fire multiple shots at 1/16 power, so I can use the continuous shooting mode on the camera and take multiple shots. Probably the drops fall at about a regular time interval so you can quess when to push the shutter, take a couple of shots and be amazed by how easy you get nice pictures!

By using different background colors you can control the color and details in the image.

Preferably you use a real macro lens, but using a close-up lens which you can mount on a normal lens, can do the trick too. Just experiment with it to see which lens does the trick. Those close-up lenskits can be found for a little more than 10 dollar on Ebay.

A nice video from Gavin Hoey who explains it very nicely:

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Next steps:

Replace the water with another liquid like milk, coffee, beer and so on. Probably there won’t flow beer or coffee from your faucet, so you have to replace the faucet by using a little bag and pinch a minor hole in it.

By experimenting with the speed the drops fall, you can create other effects like collisions. (The second drop falls into the splash of the first drop and creates a nice effect.)

Use google and find more articles and examples on water drop photography.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]