Water Droplet Photography

When the weather is -20F degrees outside, time to stay indoors and delve into capturing the beauty that is all around us but normally out of reach.
A good friend and excellent Photographer, Michael Stein, came over and we took these photos together. You can find Michael here: Michael Stein Photos

I had just dropped my D600 the night before damaging my lens mount….. Fortunately, Michael’s D800 was more than up to the challenge 🙂

These images of water droplets are simply dripping from a plastic bag suspended over a black pan.
The real trick here is to bounce a flash off a colorful background. The flash reflects your background into the water. The fun part is changing your background to whatever you have on hand.
This background was an tacky tropical shirt:

Here is the background using a photo of a British Flag:

And a few more playing around with the background:



Photo Tips:

  • Use a tripod of course
  • Use ISO 100 to limit noise
  • Use a prime lens to get maximum sharpness. 100mm works well.
  • Set Aperture at the sweet part of your lens (F8 to F11).
  • Set your shutter speed high enough so ambient room light is not effecting your image. We used 1/250 second.
  • Manually focus where the water droplets are hitting the water. Use your finger or a pencil to help you focus.
  • Use just one off camera flash zoomed in to just bounce off your colorful background.
  • Keep your Flash power low. Flash duration is shorter for lower power helping you to freeze motion
  • Angle the Flash so it bounces off the background onto the water, into your camera. The water should get lit only from the light bouncing off your background.
  • Compose your camera so you are just viewing the water surface (no background distractions)
  • An easy to to generate the water drops is to hang a plastic bag full of water above the pan. Then prick a hole in the bottom of the bag with a pin.
  • Experiment with color balance. Try Tungsten setting.


Have fun!

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One Comment

  1. robin January 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm #


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