- Items Needed
- Water Balloons
- Stand to Hang Water Balloons (a clothesline will work)
- String or heavy-Duty Thread
- Method of Popping Balloon (darts work as well as BBs)
Fill several water balloons (the shot shown took me about 20 balloons to get) and tie a length of string to each below the knot.
Tie balloons to your stand. You can use a background stand, clothesline, or anything else horizontal. Be sure to set this up where you have a safe backstop to the side to stop your popping mechanism. You will also want an uncluttered background.
Set your camera on the tripod and prefocus on the balloons. You will want to use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 of a second to freeze the water and a shallow depth of field (F-stop around 5.6) to blur the background. If you don't have manual control of your camera you can still use the action setting to get some interesting effects.
Have an assistant stand to the side of the balloons for popping. You will be popping the balloons from a 90 degree angle to the camera so that the camera (or photographer) is not hit by the popping mechanism. BB's or darts are an effective way to pop the balloons. Again, PLEASE be safe with this. Anyone not old enough they have their own home should have parental permission and supervision!
You're ready to take a photo. Call out a ready count to your assistant and tell them when to pop a balloon. Don't be disappointed if you miss the shot several times. It takes practice to get your timing right. You have to consider the reaction time of yourself, your assistant, and the speed at which the popping mechanism (dart, BB, etc) travels to the balloon.
- Use manual focus and prefocus on the balloons popping them.
- Use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 of a second to freeze the water in midair.
- Do this project OUTSIDE for safety reasons.
- Don't use your flash. You will likely get nasty reflections off the water and wash out details in the surface texture.
- If you have a way to do so, set up a background behind the balloons to avoid clutter.
- Shoot level with the balloons. If your camera is much above or below the level of the balloons the water ball will not be as dramatic and may look distorted.
- Be aware your method of popping the balloon will affect the water ball shape. If you look closely at the right and left sides of my water ball you will see the entry indention on the right and an extension on the left where the BB is about to leave the balloon.