Water Drops

Water Drops

Recently I was asked how to create photos of water drops like those seen on many PC wallpapers and I remembered that I had actually captured a few images using the technique I’m about to describe. It’s a bit more technical that your average shot but should only take thirty minutes from start to finish. You need:

  • A tripod
  • DSLR or a compact with manual settings
  • On-camera or external flash
  • Remote camera trigger
  • Water, dish and water dropper

Mount your camera on the tripod at approximately 60 degrees to the dish of water. You’ll need to use a a lens that is far enough away from the water so as not to get splashes on the glass. I used a 35mm on a crop format camera. You can probably use a lens as long as 100mm but don’t go too long or part of the image will end up out of focus.

I set my aperture to f13, shutter speed to 1/200th of a second and ISO was 200. You’ll have to experiment with the flash power as well as reducing the ambient light. Once all setup, the next step is to release a drop of water into the dish from above and activate the remote trigger. This is the tricky part and requires looking at each image and then altering the drop height and the timing between water dropper and camera remote.

After about 15 attempts I got this:


Aperture f13, shutter speed 1/200th of a second, ISO 200

Not a bad effort but there were some water drops on the lens and the colour cast was not particularly appealing. Not to worry, I just used the clone tool in Photoshop to remove the drops. The next stage was to add a colour filter:

Image – Adjusments – Photofilter (I then set it to a blue filter).


Blue filter applied in Photoshop

Next time I would use a longer lens to avoid water drops on the lens. I’d also add a reflector to light up the rear side of the image. If I wanted to do a proper job, I would take the flash off the camera and place it to the side of the image with a reflector on the opposite side.

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