How To Shoot A Water Splash With A Spectacular Bokeh

I am always keeping a close eye on Corrie White’s work. She seems to always have a new trick up her sleeve.

How To Shoot A Water Splash With A Spectacular Bokeh

A few days ago I saw Corrie White’s amazing splash with bokeh photograph and was drawn to it. I asked Corrie how she took the image and she was kind enough to walk DIYP readers through it. If you want the more basic stuff, visit Corrie’s Comprehensive Water Drop Photography Guide

The background for the bokeh in some of my water drop pictures is achieved by the light from the flash guns bouncing off the points on aluminum foil.

General Setup & Lighting

I use a sheet of foil about 38 cm. (15″) and carefully crumple this into a very loose ball. I then flatten it out taking care not to lose the many points on the foil. This is then placed behind my 43 cm.(17″) long water tray which will be about 30 cm. (12″) behind the splash itself. I have two Canon Speedlite 580EX‘s on either side of the tray just a few inches away from the crumpled foil sheet.

How To Shoot A Water Splash With A Spectacular Bokeh

My Canon Speedlite 430EX is placed in front of the tray to light the splash as well as the foil. On the two flash guns close to the foil I tape four strips of colored gels on each to get the various colors on the bokeh.

For some I may use a colored gel on the flash in front of the tray, but this may interfere with the effects of the food dye I use in the splash itself. There is quite a bit of tweaking with the colored gel strips to get the colors to blend well and also to get even light on the foil. In post edit I will do a bit of color enhancing to get everything balanced as well as I can.

Camera Settings

  • Exposure 0.5 seconds which is the time I need for the whole process of the splash to take place.
  • Aperture – usually 8 or 10. I don’t usually go below 8 because I lose too much depth of field. I make sure that the front of the drop is in best focus for these. Higher than 10 is okay, but then you lose your light and the bokeh is quite a bit smaller. You can also place the foil sheet further back to get larger bokeh dots, but then again, you lose the light.
  • ISO – 100 – 200 is good.
  • Flash Exposure is usually 1/32 for an aperture of 10, but I bring it down to 1/64 for an aperture of 8.

Optional Post

How To Shoot A Water Splash With A Spectacular Bokeh

I also did a zoom effect on one which I was quite proud of. I selected the drop, inverted the selection and did a motion blur on the bokeh background. It took a long time to fix the drop, however, because the blur effect also took some of the drop

We want More Corrie!

This is not the first time Corrie is featured on the blog, She wrote two great tutorials: The first is the Comprehensive Water Drop Photography Guide which is one of the most popular posts on the blog, and the second one is a guide on How To Shoot A Liquid Flow. Besides, she dome some crazy things with stop motion and colored gels.

About The Author

Corrie White is a photographer based in Ontario, Canada. She shoots breath taking water drops and other water inspired photographs. You can watch her art on her Flickr stream, on her site, or follow her on Facebook.