When April showers start to pour, that doesn’t mean your photography has to stop. There are plenty of projects you can shoot at home – so we’re going to take a look at getting started with water drop photography. A simple home set-up can yield some fascinating and unusual results, with each frame unique. And most importantly, it’s a lot of fun!
Think about the equipment you need for water drop photography
You can get started with a relatively minimal set up. You will need a DSLR or CSC that you can control manually (some compact cameras may also allow you to do this). You’ll also need at least one flashgun which you can use off-camera. You can use pretty much any lens you like, but a macro lens will generally produce the best results.
Sort your setup
There’s no single definitive way to set up your shot, but a good starting place is to position your camera on a tripod just in front of whatever is going to catch your water. Place the flashgun to the side on a stand. You will need something to create the water drops: a simple medicine dropper or pipette is useful for dropping small amounts into the water to create the splash.
Experiment with backgrounds
The background of your photo can be as simple or as experimental as you like. You can get interesting results with just a plain piece of card, but you may also want to consider other surfaces and textures, such as reflective card.
To achieve different effects, try dropping different liquids – each of which is likely to have a different drop shape. Also think about using food colouring to colour your water for a fun look.
Different depths of liquid will produce different drop shapes too. Try using a flat dish, then move to something that’s taller and thinner, and note the difference.
Think about props
For a “lifestyle” type shot, you could try dropping a sugar cube into a cup of coffee and capturing the resulting splash. Or you could try dropping a piece of fruit into a glass of bubbly. The technique is the same no matter what you use – so let your imagination run wild!
Camera settings for water drop photography
As a general rule, you’ll be using narrow apertures (f/11 – f/16), quick shutter speeds (1/125, 1/250) and low ISO (100 – 400) for the best effects. Tweak the settings as you go along to get different effects as you see what is (and isn’t) working.
Try experimenting with the white balance setting too for different colour tones. If you’re using a DSLR, set the mirror lock-up feature to reduce camera shake, and use either a timer delay setting or a remote release – or your camera’s built-in Wifi controls – to avoid touching the camera.
When it comes to the flash, it pays to experiment again. Try changing the distance between the flash and the water, upping the flash’s power, or changing the angle of the flash.
How to focus for water drop photography
Since you need to focus on a subject that isn’t actually there yet, a way around it is to focus on something in the same place your water drop should appear. You can use any small object that you might have to hand, such as a pen or a straw. Place the object in the path of the water drop, focus, and then switch to manual focusing to lock the focus.
… or make things simple with 4K Photo
One of the best features found on Panasonic’s range of Lumix compact system cameras is 4K Photo. This is perfect for water drop photography as it allows you to extract stills from 4K video, giving you 30 frames per second to choose from – and you won’t need a flash either to get you started with. All of Panasonic’s current models, including the entry-level GX800, the mid-range G7 and the top-of-the line GH5 offer this exciting functionality.
Let us know how you get on with this fun indoor project and share your shots with us! Find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – we’d love to see your results!