Water Drops - Behind the Shot

Water Drops – Behind the Shot


water-drop-photography.jpgOne of the things I love about what is happening over in our forum area is that we’ve got thousands of photographers (there are actually 55,000 registered members now) all experimenting with different styles of photography.

While some are Pros (we have a growing community of them) many are practicing their photography in their spare time using the resources available to them.

As they learn they share what they discover and how they’re achieving their results.

One such example of that this one of our members see his Water Drop Gallery here).

Arlon wrote:

“Water drops have always been a fascination of mine. Awhile back I tried my luck at a few and settled on a way that worked pretty easily for me. Here are a few drops and a self explaining shot of my setup. Takes me about 10 shots for every keeper.”

Arlon also went to the trouble of photographing the setup of these shots and annotating it as follows:


The full thread in our forums (others are sharing their setups too) on this topic is located here. Stop by to share your own experiences.

Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Adam Webb April 29, 2011 12:17 am

    I had a go and had great fun just using a couple of desk lamps and a flash. I used a pipette to make the drops (and to focus on something before the drops were dropped).

    You can see my efforts here: http://shutterclick.co.uk/2011/04/water-drop/

    Hoping to have another go soon!

  • Tova April 4, 2010 07:32 am

    will it still work if I don't have an external flash? should is use a lot of lights in the room or the built-in flash? :)

  • rob brydon February 25, 2010 10:27 pm

    oops seems I posted that commernt and link already...sorry..hehehehheheh

  • Rob Brydon February 25, 2010 10:25 pm

    I got this one last year and it is easily the most admired and best acheived image I've ever taken. The biggest tip. Put a pencil or ice lolly stick at the point of impact with the lense on manual..I had flash bouncing back from a alloy oven tray behind the bowl. A shot I was after since childhood that I can tick off now. Hope you like...cheers..Rob


  • matthew laming February 20, 2010 09:31 pm

    excellent article thanks be interested to see what you think of my photography thanks

  • VesoneXDtv November 16, 2009 03:30 pm

    I definitely retweet'd this, I'm going to try tomorrow and film it...awesome awesome tip, I've wanted to try this for a while, definitely want happy to find this article (can you tell by the amount of times I've repeated myself...)

  • Antwest September 9, 2009 04:53 am

    Thanks so much for the explanation for this awesome assignment! I set up at home and produced some startlingly brilliant (IMHO) results - way better than expected. Used my Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens and a pan filled with water. Drip setup was a plastic shopping packet with a needle hole.

    Also tried dripping milk onto a Teflon coated pan. Luck was with me - the first shot was a dream white crown! The next 15 were stillborn.

    Focus set up is key with the very shallow DOF, so I used a very fine plastic toothpick as my manual focus.
    Worked like a dream!

    Thanks again :)

  • Dan September 3, 2009 11:12 am

    I had a friend in the medical field get me a defective drip bag like you see in the hospital TV shows. It is pretty easy to control the timing between drops.

    For some different effects, try milk instead of water. Let it drip on a piece of glass on a dark colored piece of paper. Only problem is that you have to wipe it dry between drops so it takes longer.


  • Radek August 26, 2009 09:32 pm

    Very nice shot and interesting setup right at the source. Try with a shallow water next time to get a water crown!

  • rob August 17, 2009 09:01 am

    Here is one of mine.


  • sabira August 17, 2009 07:23 am

    Great shots. Thanks for sharing. l will have to try it myself.


  • tjmred August 16, 2009 12:53 pm

    I have always wanted to try this but never could get the water drop slow enough. Now I will try this set up to see if I am able to catch it. Thank you.

  • André Diogo Moecke August 16, 2009 05:08 am

    Great tips.. thanks!

    I`ve tried here, look the results: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrediogo/3823223517/


  • rob August 15, 2009 08:15 pm

    Hi Angie, I think the popsicle stick and nut are used exactly the same way I used a pencil in my comments a few further up. It is very hard to focus on the drop or where it lands in the dish. When you have the drips dripping, place the nut exactly where the drip lands....so it splashes up on everything....now look through the lense (AF OFF) and manually focus on that nut. Now take the popsicle stick and nut away your camera will be focused exactly where the drip is landing. As I say..I used a pencil. This I found the biggest single tip in this shoot. If you move the lense or origin of drip, you best grab that popsicle stick and repeat the process. Thats it...and I have to admit, the whole process was easier than I thought.
    Varying heights of water drip origin will give different splashes and effect. Watch your background too.

  • Angie August 15, 2009 12:42 pm

    Can you explain what you do with the popsicle stick and nut?

  • Gina O August 14, 2009 11:24 pm

    Just tried it out and i got some great shots. Thanks so much for the post!

  • Rich Collins Photography August 14, 2009 12:19 pm

    Terrific tips for an always eye-grabbing shot. Thanks

  • Rob August 14, 2009 09:04 am

    I've just recently done water drops for a mono competition. I had a similiar set up but had the camera on a slight angle. I also found a aluminium oven tray gave an excellent background reflector. Biggest tip? Turn AF OFF. Use the little stick or a pen as I did to place where the drop lands and manually set your focus. Take pen away and you are then assured you have the correct focus. Keep a towel handy...Good luck.

  • J.B. Churchill August 14, 2009 06:07 am

    I've been wanting to try this very thing. This was very useful. Thanks !

  • Sue T August 14, 2009 01:52 am

    Using a P&S creates a few different problems...but it is achievable

  • Subbu August 13, 2009 04:46 pm

    Thanks for a great tip.. my friend had a set-up with Burette (chemical lab) to control and capture those drops

  • Renae DuHaime August 13, 2009 09:38 am

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this! I've been trying to figure out how to set up a water droplet shoot for SUCH a long time--I saw this post, set it up, and got some of the best shots I've ever attempted--THANK YOU again!! :)

  • heyadamhey August 12, 2009 06:46 pm

    Nice one Arlon!
    I was watching Time Warp the other day and they were recording water drops with high speed video. Made me want to do exactly what you've done here.
    I'll definitely make use of your tips.


  • Magly August 11, 2009 01:55 am

    Thanks Arlon! Iloved seeing your set up and what you rigged to "Get the shot". Although still very much a beginner, I appreciate knowing that it takes you about 10 shots to get one good one. That is what keeps me shooting.


  • Sarthak Singhal August 10, 2009 03:42 pm

    The diagram above is a very good explanation of the article itself. Thanks for sharing.

  • Travis Forsyth August 10, 2009 02:05 am

    Great explination! Very simular to what I used for some of my water play shots. I tweeted this on twitter :D