Water Drop Photography | EVERY STEP from start to print

Hello in this video I’m going to show
you the amazing world of water drop photography I’m going to show you how I
created this amazing piece of art from concept right through to this print….
let’s go!! Hi I’m Adam and welcome to first man photography now before we get
into this, this video is sponsored by Squarespace if you need a domain name a
website or an online store, then make your next move with Squarespace right so
water drop photography what is it exactly well then what I’m talking about
is capturing the moment that water hits the surface bounces back up and creates
that beautiful water drop stem. You then capture it at that moment and that
creates water drop photograph the ones I do use an electronic dropper system that
then create these amazing drop collisions and produce just stunning
unique shapes you put food coloring into the water using color contrast
composition all to make these truly unique and special images it’s one of the
things I’m best known for and today I just wanted to go through a shoot with
you, show how I do it talk about a few things I have done an in-depth tutorial
before for you to watch if you want to give it a try I just wanted to make a water drop
video that I’ve not done for a while and take you through a typical shoot and
then show you a little bit of the post-processing and then the final
print at the end. Okay, let’s get set up and we’ll get on with our shoot. Okay so I’m pretty much set up to shoot
I’ll just go through the setup pretty quickly so firstly is the camera you’ve
pretty much got to have a macro lens I’ve got the Canon 100mm Macro L lens. Canon 5d Mark 4 camera…. it doesn’t really matter what can we use as long as
you can get a macro lens on there and then I have a 2 flash set up and I’m
firing the flashes with a wireless trigger on top here it’s important to
use flash in water drop photography because it’s actually the flash that is
freezing the movement in the water drop because you put the flash on a very low
power flash and it’s that that freezes the motion rather than the shutter speed
of the camera you just set camera shutter speed to the flash sync speed
which in the case of this camera is one two hundredth of a second and then it’s
that fast flash that actually freezes that water drop so I’ve got two flash
sets up the first one in the front here which is my main flash that’s gonna be
lighting up the water drop as it drops from the dropper here into the main
water bath and then I’ve got this second flush which is then lighting up the
background. Aperture wise I generally I’m in the area of f/8 – f/16. I’m at f/11 today
right in the middle with macro you get a pretty narrow depth of field even at
very high aperture numbers. So i’m at f/11 I might go up to f/16 in a bit and then
I’m balancing it out with my ISO which is about 400 ISO at the moment the water
dropper that I have here is called a splash art 2 – it uses this little control
box that plugs into the water dropper and it also fires your camera so the
timing is as accurate as you could possibly be it still takes a lot of
adjustment and a lot of practice to get things just right and get it to work and
it depends on it the liquids that you’re using as well okay so the final thing I
need to do before I start shooting is get my focus and in order to do that all
you do is fire a couple of drops off and I’m going to use this simple pencil just
dropped it in the water bath but I’m gonna use this pencil and just put that
in position where the water drops hit the bath and then I’m gonna focus to get
in exactly the right spot I’m then going to lock it off into
manual focus I can forget about my focus for the rest
of the shoot. So this is absolutely not the case of
just setting up and then firing away because it just doesn’t work there is a
lot of creativity involved we’re talking about slight movement in the flashes
because the way you light it is absolutely key because we’re working on
such a small scale slight adjustment in anything, composition, lighting, the colour
of the liquids, all makes a difference with the water dropper you can control
the size the first drop the gap in between the drops the size of the second
drop and the delay in shooting the camera and it’s about fine control over
these things that are going to get those really nice water drop collisions trust
me though it’s very frustrating at times it doesn’t always do what you want. It
changes depending on the thickness of the liquid as well you need patience and
you need persistence. It does take a lot of practice and a lot of shots to get where
you need to be Okay so the shoot is done I’m pretty
happy with what I’ve got in the camera let’s get over to the computer and
post-process those images I do have the absolute carnage to clear up first though,
look at this…. very messy Okay so here we are into the computer I’ve got myself
some glasses recently…. do you like them? let me know in the comments. Here we have
the final images I have taken about two hundred and seventy images but I have
also already narrowed it down to a few and I’ve put them into a collection
they’re all pretty nice I like all of them I like this one I like the shape of
it first if you look at this bubble here that really really ruins that one so I’m
not gonna be using that one this one I’m struck by this one and just by the size
of that collision I really like that and I also really like this one let’s have a
look at this one that’s a really nice image it’s a very very unique shape what
I don’t like about it is this strip here of light and that’s happened because of
the way I had the flash positioned it low down basically, and if you skip on to
the next one here I’ve just raised the flash up a little bit and it just it
narrows this reflection of the flash down to this tiny little portion here I
think that’s better although I am going to work with this one I’m going to remove
this strip in Photoshop so let’s go into the develop module and you’ve got a lot
of control in post-processing over your water drop shots, particularly with the
color and things like that and I’m actually quite happy with the white
balance but I’ll just show you what massive difference that makes to the
images and you can just make from one shoot you can get lots of different
looking images with different colours but I think we just need to raise the
exposure a little bit and then I’m gonna add in some contrast. Sometimes you don’t
need a lot of contrast in there is that’s not really what the image is
about back at about 30 and then going to reduce the highlights a little bit…. up
the shadows just a touch…… reduce the blacks a little bit so I’ve got a little bit of
black….. I’m going to increase the vibrance quite a bit……Go up on the saturation as well
because the whole thing is about color and then the clarity slider is an
important one just add in some clarity I’m gonna go down to the HSL
quickly and introduce a noise reduction because you want that nice smooth
imaging you don’t want any noise in there and then we will go to the HSL
panel here and I want to just reduce or change the color of the red a little bit
just so it doesn’t look quite as much like blood and that is starting to
look really really good. Okay into Photoshop and I’m just going to create a
new layer and also on the background there and all I’m gonna do is use the
simple tool here which is the magic wand tool select that highlighted
area then I’m gonna grab hold of the stamp tool on the background copy layer
and just drag that to the side just a touch and that will very nicely remove
that reflected area there’s then just a little bit of work to do here if i zoom
in I’m gonna go back up to layer clone stamp and just remove that tiny portion
at the top there I’ll work on that a bit more before the print and then it’s
just a case of going around and adjusting little bits and pieces where
there’s a mistake so here we’ve got another one I’m just gonna try and clone
that out I’ll stamp that out very quickly it’s just about going around the
whole image and tidying it up just a little bit with things like that and
that I mean that’s looking pretty good I might crop it down a little bit as
well into that sort of composition just to get a bit closer to the water drop
get the water drop filling the screen a little bit more save that and then we go
back in to Lightroom. So very quick post-processing there, let’s get that
printed out and we’ll see how the final image looks So here is the final image and just take
a look at this it is absolutely stunning if I can get it out the light there for you. I am very happy with how
this has turned out. All my water drop photographs are for sale on the website
over at www.firstmanphotography.com I would really appreciate it if you took a
look. There are two types. There are ones like this that are either mounted or
fully framed and there’s also amazing 1 meter square metal prints that are a run of 10
the prints are a run of 50 and they’re truly something special once you get
them in hand like this it’s coming up to Christmas it’d be a perfect gift idea if
you wanted to give one to a family member it would help me as well and
support me to keep creating these videos for free and really just appreciate it
though if you took a look check out that tutorial and if you haven’t already
please do subscribe to the channel there’s videos going up every Sunday I
am going to be doing a video on Wednesday this week as well so there’ll
be two videos coming up in the coming week which I’m quite excited about I do
want to go back to doing two videos per week also this video is sponsored by
Squarespace start your free trial today at squarespace.com and go to Squarespace.com/firstman to get 10% off of your first purchase. So I hope you’ve
enjoyed the video leave a comment down below and let me know you think and I’ll
see you on another one very very soon I’m Adam this is first man photography
in the studio….. Out!!!!

100 Replies to “Water Drop Photography | EVERY STEP from start to print”

  1. Great stuff Adam, I found your channel through water drop video, followed you ever since 😀 watched previous videos a couple of times & tried water drop from bag! Nice to see you’ve update this video

  2. No. This is NOT PHOTOGRAPHY. For me, this is JEWELRY MAKING, and you are the MASTER. I am sure I am your biggest fan.
    Your patience and creativity is a motivation Adam.

  3. Thanks Adam, I watched the full video before and enjoyed it, and once again enjoyed this video. it is amazing the different forms you get with every splash.

  4. You focus on the pencil. Do you ever have an issue with the drops hitting the same place every time? I seen the title I though this may be a video on getting reflections of your subject in the water. I have seen some of those that are pretty cool.

  5. Do you have any pictures or samples of.the metal print? I am interested, but I'd like to see what it actually looks like first

  6. I’m in my 60’s and winter photography can be tricky having to adapt with some home stuff when weather up here in Scotland is too bad. So now I’ve ordered SplashArt kit and look foreword to learning new skills. Great videos Adam great ideas

  7. Great video Adam. Fantastic image. it makes my hole in a rubber glove look a bit outdated. really enjoyed that and your Channel. Keep it coming.

  8. I really enjoyed the video, as a user of the equipment you use I find it difficult to get the fine adjustment to get a good image. Could you spend a some time on the how you use the adjustment dials to get your results?

  9. Love your  videos  great advice   and  tutorials  you do  your a good  teacher  like  Paul  G  Johnson   you are two  of the best, and yes there are many more  great bloggers  I also  like.  Tom Heaton, Brendan van/whatever,Gary Gough,  hope I spelt that right , I follow  you all  for the great advice,  although  none  of you  use  the  great  Fuji  X-T2   BUT   one day  you may all  get  enlightenment  LOL.  Tom G  Scotland

  10. Lovely photo, but, I spotted a big school boy error! You forgot to remove the white strip of light in the reflection at the bottom…

  11. Thanks Adam for all the information you have shown. Fantastic photos, I have tried without electronics will little success, will keep trying. Hope you don't mind me being picky, you removed the light of the stem but not off the shadow! Sorry.

  12. I realise that you probably don't have any control over this but, the advert which played directly before your video (sponsored by Squarespace!) started, was for Wix.com 🙁

  13. another great video,love the set-up and the look behind the scenes shots.i did notice a small thing that might help later.in the editing process,you deleted the light from the flash on the "stem" of the water drop.i think you might have missed the same light on the reflection of the "stem" from the water under the drop?

  14. Mate those images are brilliant.  You are a true artist. PS love the glasses 😀 I always comment as i go along. Thanks once again for the mention at the end buddy 🙂

  15. I've been wanting to try this out for years really, just gotta save up for one of them droppers I guess=P
    Glasses are looking sharp by the way!=)

  16. Great tutorial Adam…. may even give it a shot myself at some point. How much is the water drop gear and box etc? Am potentially starting my own photo biz at some point soon and vids from yourself and Mr Heaton really inspire… keep up the great work mate! Maybe a 2019 calendar would be useful in gen some extra £££. Cheers Jase

  17. Long time viewer but not much of a commenter; this is superb Adam. Just been watching a couple of your Macro Videos from a couple of years ago and you have certainly grown in confidence in that time. Keep it up – looking forward to more.

  18. Great vlog Adam. Brilliant studio work on the water droplets. I tried this a month or so ago after recapping on your first vlog, the result was very impressive given the fact that I was just using a plastic bag! Thanks for sharing and great work.

  19. Adam, about to try water droplet photography with a friends electronic dropper, please can tell me if you put the gum in the liquid in the bowl, or dropper or both. Love the images. Best regards

  20. The SplashArt module is a great accessory but only works with a standard Nikon or Canon DSLR. It does not work with a mirrorless camera.

  21. Stunning work Adam, I love your droplet photos, I have tried a couple based on your earlier vlog using super basic kit and got some acceptable beginner results and I think that I will try again sometime in the future. See you next time (by the way your glasses suit you ) Del

  22. Interesting. One point though, and before you start to sell them, you removed the flash highlight in the stem of the water drop but the reflected stem still contains the highlight. Once seen it can't be unseen. I think it need some additional post-processing to address that…….

  23. Hi Adam, another great video, I've had some great success with water drop collisions, but finding it difficult to get the actual collision to focus from front to rear. I'm using a good macro lens, and my setup is very similar to yours, I've tried various F-stops , and the water stem is always in focus. Any suggestions would be appreciated, Keep these videos coming!! Thanks.

  24. Superb! I just bought the SA2 and was experiencing the frustrations that you spoke of, so I'm glad its all part of the process and not just me being rubbish. Question is, do you just add the gum stuff to the water dropper or the bath as well? Thanks again. It was actually your videos that encourage me to buy this.

  25. I noticed you have the 10S Pro Printer. I just wondered if you had any thoughts on how it stacks up against the 100s? I'm getting the hang of this a bit better now that I have watched more your videos! Thanks again!

  26. For anyone out there having trouble using a pen/pencil to focus or just having trouble getting your focal point at all you can try what I did as an alternative. Instead of using a pencil, pen, or similar object to get your focus, cut a piece of string and tape it to the dropper right where the water would be dripping from and let it dangle down into the water and get your focus that way. Nice to have options 🙂 and awesome tutorial!

  27. HOLY WATER DROP BAMAN!!! GREAT JOB! Thank you for making this video. You inspired me to go back and attempt water drop photos again.

  28. Hi Adam brilliant YouTube channel. Thankyou for inspiring us all you are a legend. I have a quick question. I’ve got a Nikon D7200 and I want to get into water drop photography myself but I don’t have flash guns yet. Any recommendations you can give would be great. Cheers mark xxx

  29. “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
    — Aaron Siskind



  30. I hate to be a stick in the mud, but you removed the light stripe on the upper part of the vertical column, but left the stripe on the lower part. I’m watching to learn and appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I’m a bit of a detail junkie and pick up on some of the little things. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and please don’t take this as a slight.

  31. hi , great video by the way, what was your setting in the camera, 1/200 F11, ISO 100 ?, what is the advantage using this method instead the open flash technique ( in the dark ), do you put your flashes in high speed sync


  32. I think I may have to give this a try…..was the flash strip on the vertical portion not removed from the reflection in the water on purpose? now theres a flash strip on the reflection in the water but not on the original.

  33. I'm glad you get some of those sausage shape ones too, I'm spot on at getting those 😓 I love the "toadstool like" ones. Thanks for the tutorial.

  34. Great instructional videos. Watched them all. Curious about whether depth of dish is a factor in height of spout/splash? Also, what do you recommend for the color of the drip tray (clear, white, black,…or)? Keep up the great work!

  35. Am I detecting a paper diffusion screen on his ‘Main’ flash and then subsequently PS’ing some other image…. ummh ..just like food reciepes they always leave something out.

  36. Hi Adam, I’ve watched this video a few times now and it’s awesome! Love the detailed instructions. Would you suggest a screw on macro addition to the lens or extension tubes if a dedicated Macro lens is currently out of the budget? Have you any experience of these options?

  37. Hey Adam,
    I got hooked with Water drop photography the moment I saw it.
    Found your channel when I looked at some Pluto Trigger reviews and you came up in my recommended feed.
    Yesterday my Pluto Trigger and Dropkit arrived. Had two evenings now to tinker around with it. This is the result so far:


    I'm still figuring everything out and will get some Xantham-gum soon in order to get the fluid a little bit more stable. Way to chaotic right now. A few pictures were done with Milk. Looks cool from the consistency. Really really like it. Thanks for the tutorial and your indepth explanations. I learned a ton about shooting it and post-processing.
    Of course it's just easy shots right now. Will get into that in the next couple of weeks as long as the weather is bad.

    PS: Feedback is always appreciated. Feel free to leave feedback at my page.

  38. Can you recreate this with just a simple bag set up for the drips of water..really want to do this sort of shot 🙂

  39. I really enjoyed the video tuition so thank you for that. I did chuckle when the pencil went in!! You have a new subscriber 🙂

  40. I love your instruction But I don't have those stand alone flashes ….I have a question ,,,,,Can you use the in built flash ? I have a canon 700D

  41. Hi Adam!! Can you explain to me how you have your printer settings?? Your image printed just like on you monitor screen with true colors

  42. Hi Adam. Is this kit the best on the market today? i bought the mops splash but its very hard to use and haven't got any good result. what is your recommendation? Thanks

  43. My question is drop size. Are both drops the same size? Do you find a larger drop works better for rebound or smaller? And if the 2 drops are different sizes which one is larger. I have the Pluto trigger and Pluto water dropper. I have only taken a few shots with it so far but like the results. You tips are invaluable!!

  44. First man, your videos are awesome, you inspired me to get into the water drop photography. I-have been shooting some water drops lately, and i got some good results….

  45. I absolutely liked the video. This included not only how to do the droplet pic, but also how to do photo editing. After a stunning result a good framed pic was the glorious end.

  46. Hi Adam, yours are the best water drop videos on YouTube. Have you tried the Miops splash yet? I've got one on the way so I'm hoping it will be good. David.

  47. Thank you for all the info , i'm very new to photography in general and this was great , quick and easy to understand to get up and running fairly quickly and lovely finished piece . nice one and good luck mate.

  48. I thought you had a very familiar accent 😀 great a to have a local and talented Youtuber in an interest in mine

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