WIth the help of my old notes (and memory), I will share how I took these fruit splashes and my setup as a guide for anyone who is interested to take fruit splashes.
OBJECTIVETo start off, you will need to have in mind what kind of fruit splashes photographs that you wanted to create. For my case, I wanted a high key photographs i.e. fruit splashes into the water with a completely white background.
EQUIPMENT AND SETUPIn my setup, I've put together all the equipments that I owned as illustrated below:
Background LightI've used both my Bowens strobes on softboxes for the background. As I wanted a very clean white background in my shots, it is very important that the flash power must be at least 1-2 stops higher than the flash output from the main and fill light.
Also to note that the strobes are attached with my Phottix Strato Receiver so that the strobes can be triggered from my camera.
Main LightBoth my Canon Speedlite 580EX II are placed at the side of the fish tank to illuminate the objects and splashes. Their flash power are manually set to 1/128 power given their distance from the object.
As water may splash onto these flashes that are placed beside the tank, I've covered them with a transparent plastic bag to protect them.
Fill LightI used a single Canon Speedlite 430EX II that are placed nearer to my camera instead of the fish tank, with flash power manually set to 1/64 power.
(Note: All my Canon Speedlites are set to slave so that it can be triggered using the Speedlite Transmitter on my camera.)
CameraMy Canon 5D Mark II, attached on a tripod, is placed about 3-4 meter away from the fish tank. The hotshoe on my 5DM2 is attached with Phottix Strato Transmitter, followed by Speedlite Transmitter (ST-E2) - they are required for trigger of the Bowen strobes and Speedlite flashes.
As I do not have an assistant to help me drop the fruits into the water/fish tank, I will require a remote trigger for my 5DM2 so that I can drop the fruits with 1 hand and trigger the photo-taking with the other.
Additionally, I've also attached my 27" iMac to my 5DM2 so that photos taken can be directly displayed on the big screen which is very important for me to look into the details of the taken shot.
LensFor studio shooting, I've always love using my EF70-200mm F/2.8 IS II USM. For my shots, I've used settings of ISO 100, F13 with a shutter speed of 1/200s.
Water LevelAs a guide, the water level in the fish tank should be filled up slightly above the Speedlite flashes that are placed at the side.
Test the SplashOnce the fish tank is filled with water, try out the splash by dropping fruits in the middle of the water. Observe the height that the fruits should be dropped from that can create a splash, and whether the water depth is sufficient to animate the fruit splashes.
If the water level is too low to animate the splashes of the fruits into the fish tank, the water level should be increased and the flashes at the side should be elevated to match the water level (i.e. maybe by placing some solid blocks at the bottom of the flashes).
Manual FocusingOnce the splash test is completed, place a fruit floating in the middle of the fish tank i.e. where the fruit will be dropped. Go to your camera to manual focus on the floating fruit and leave it in the manual focus mode throughout the shooting.
MiscellaneousAlso prepare a window/glass cleaner to clean off excessive water forming on the glass above the water level each time after the fruits have been dropped. If not, there may be additional patches of water in your shot that is not due to the water splash effect.
Also standby some cloths for wiping of excessive water that may splashes out of the fish tank.
THE SHOOTING PROCESSIt was quite a standard procedure that I repeated for 20-30 times in order to get the desired outcome that I wanted:
- Drop the fruits (with one hand) and trigger off the shots (with the other hand).
- Check the outcome of the shot to see if the image is sharp, and the composition of the splash is something that I wanted (i.e. the splashes are "clean" for touch-up during post-processing.
- Stabilize the water, clean the glass above the water level with the glass cleaner and wipe off any excessive water that spills out of the fish tank (if any).
RAW FILE & POST-PROCESSINGThe following shows a cropped sample of the RAW file before any processing. Once you have your desired shot, bring it to Photoshop for touch-up such as cropping, removing unwanted excessive water splashes, adjusting the curves and saturation of your photograph.
HOPE YOU HAVE FUN TRYING OUT YOUR FRUIT SPLASHES.Additional Note: Just google and you will find so many articles on how to take fruit splashes. You may get confused with the different versions of setup and instructions - but remember, all these (including mine) should serve as a guide and your actual setup should be dependent on the equipment you owned and the effects that you wanted to create.
Please visit http://jefzlim.smugmug.com/Studio-Works to see my other studio works.