With photographers dealing with client cancellations, now is the perfect time to learn a new skill. Play with your photography! I recommend a session or two with water droplet photography. It can be a blast! But it doesn’t come without its share of frustration at times. Here are some tricks to get you going.

I’ll share my water droplet photography process and some ideas to help get you some memorable images with as little pain as possible. If you haven’t already read my step-by-step tutorial about getting started with water droplet photography, be sure to check out part one and two.

How can you take your water droplet photography to the next level? Below I’ll review and refine the setup and capture process.

Proper toolset

Water droplet images can be made using little gear. I’ve seen some nice images made by dripping water from a washcloth. That said, I believe your level of crazy goes down with a solid set of tools. Even with the proper tools, you will spend some time to get some solid keepers.

The set for creating the water droplet splashes in these posts.

My base water droplet kit

I use a Pluto Trigger and the Pluto Valve. The Trigger can be used in a myriad of ways. For this purpose, the Trigger controls the droplets timing through the valve, opens the camera lens and fires the flashes. When you order your Pluto Trigger, be sure to include the cable that works for your camera. Other trigger and valve systems are out there as well.

Extra pizazz and color can be pushed in the backgrounds used, post processing and color gels placed over your flash heads.

You need a camera that has a remote port and can be set in manual mode. I recommend a macro lens, but extension tubes can get you close to your splashes as well. I’m currently using a Lumix G9 with the Panasonic 45mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Other stuff to have

Camera gear

  • Smartphone to control the Pluto trigger
  • Tripod or other way to steady your camera
  • At least one flash you can set in manual mode; multiple flashes are preferable to me. I use between 3-5 flashes. Shown above are the Godox AD200 flashes.
  • Remote trigger and receiver(s) for flash
  • Scrim from the inside of a five way reflector
  • Small stands or mini tripods so your flashes can be supported
  • Lens cloth (lenses can get water spots)

Creative accessories

  • Gels for adding color to your flashes
  • Colored background paper. Pieces of Savage paper cut from rolls will work as will construction paper from a craft store.
  • Bowl, plate, cup or other container to catch your splashes
  • Tray to catch the overflow of water
  • Towels, paper towels and to wipe up spills
  • Xanthan gum for thickening the water, resulting in longer lasting drops and more dramatic splashes.
  • Cheesecloth or cloth for straining
  • Measuring cup
  • Water or other liquid. Some have used milk and/or almond milk for a thicker liquid.
  • Food coloring if wanted
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Notebook

Now that we have all the pieces in place we’ll set up how to use them in the next post. Stay tuned!

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob