A couple of weeks ago I took the plunge (so to speak) and finally had a proper go at water splash photography. It was quite a bit more successful than I expected but there were still plenty of lessons to learn and ideas which sprang out of my experimentation.
Shortly after those first fledgeling attempts I went back with what I had learned, and had another go.
Although I had originally softened the backlighting provided by an off-camera flash, the light was still quite focused producing a cross of bright light in the previous images. To combat this I added a shoot-through umbrella as a second layer of diffusion to ensure the light hitting the white diffusion panel backdrop was pre-softened.
I also found that the images were still a little more flat than I had hoped despite the backlighting illuminating the droplets. To help with this I added a second radio-triggered flash positioned in front and off to the side a bit. This, I hoped, would add extra catch-lights to the droplets as well as the ripples. Being straight out of the flash and without any diffusion, the light would be harsh and directional – exactly what we want to add definition and clarity.
Yeah, not bad! Definitely an improvement.
I experimented with different coloured gel panels over either (or both) of the speedlites to add a bit of colour to the pictures.
Within Photoshop, I smoothed out distracting imperfections in the background and foreground elements. The back diffusion panel was a little uneven and the glass bowl gradually build up a collection of overspill droplets. This did nothing for the image so I mostly removed them.
As well as trying out more techniques for creating splashes with water, I also tried dropping small glass stones into the water which created A much more extreme and dramatic effect.
Adding some colour to the water as well as the light really brought the shots alive.
So much fun – definitely to be continued…