Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The flowing liquid shot

Ever wonder how they do those flowing liquid shots in ads?

It's a combination of high speed shutter, and the perfect lighting that makes an awesome flowing liquid shot. I myself am so addicted to doing it I spend hours every night just to get that perfect shot.

It's really simple to do. It's almost the same setting as the high speed water splash shot that I discussed here. You basically need about 2 strobes, actually 1 would do, but I prefer the background lit up by an independent strobe. For my shots I use 4.

For these shots I use:

4 strobes, 3 with softboxes, 1 with a shoot through umbrella
a tripod
a macro lens, or a lens that can do closeups
a white background
a waterproof mat
shutter release if you want

I set my camera to a narrow aperture...around f11 or more. This will prevent you from going out of focus when you take a shot of the flowing liquid that moves. Powerful lights are necessary for you to set your aperture to a narrow setting, that's why I use 4. I then set my speed to around 200/sec. My camera has a sync speed of 250/sec maximum to the flash, I use 200 because I want a little bit of room just in case the 250/sec darkens my corners a bit. Better if you have high speed lights...I don't so I'll stick to my 200/sec setting. When I'm in my studio, I always set my camera to ISO 100, the lowest I can go for my camera...heck if I have ISO 50 I would go for that. As you all know, this prevents noise in any shots.

A very good practice when taking these kinds of shots is to estimate where the flow of liquid would go...grab a pen, position the tip where you think the liquid will flow, then use your manual focus to focus on that spot. Make sure that your camera is in a tripod...as it is impossible to do this handheld.

The light are positioned like this...1 overhead light with a softbox, 1 pointed at the background with a softbox, 1 on the left side with a softbox, 1 on the right with an umbrella. Main light would be either on the left or right side. Make sure the background light has enough light to blow out the highlights.

For this, I set my self timer then poured the liquid when it's about time to fire...you can use a shutter release, anything you prefer is fine.

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