Easy Speed Photography Guide-Techniques and Ideas


High speed photography demands lot of patience and time. It is an advanced branch of photography which deals with capturing images that are impossible to view with normal camera and human eyes. Here is a  tutorial on high speed water drop photography!

How to get started in High Speed Photography

This speed photography is the science of capturing shots that are unable to detect with normal eyes. What are the materials needed to start with?. Nikon300 is a digital SLR camera and Olympus E-20 N is an excellent fixed lens digital SLR camera. If you need further information to buy an SLR camera, you may check this SLR camera buying guide. Next you require a lens and an external flash. If you have a tripod, it is much helpful (but it is not a necessity).

  • Settings for high speed photography:

 It may be confusing for a beginner to set the flash. I suggest it is better to set the Flash to Manual Mode and after that you just keep the power to its lowest setting may be (1/64). This would help to easily freeze the action with a very smooth burst of light. Now you can set the camera to Av mode.  Select an F-stop value (medium F-stop value (5.0 or so) is preferred. If you select a higher value for F-stop, depth of focus will be made bigger and hence becomes difficult to achieve results.

  • Shooting pattern

You do not need a pretty looking setup to try this photography technique. Align your SLR camera close to your subject under consideration by using a tripod (it is easy if you have a tripod or else it is okay).  Try to keep the subject parallel to the camera lens so that it will be in correct focus. Since you are using reduced flash power, make sure that you are close to the subject.

If your subject is water drops, open up water to a small stream and then focus on that stream. If you find it hard, try manually focusing on the droplets until it seems to be small.  It is a good practice to take some test shots so that you can understand the focus level and lighting.

speed photography technique
Photo by Mike Murphy

To change the brightness of the image, just make small adjustments in the F-stop, or increase the ISO value. It can be quite hard to get a perfect shot. The best idea is to shoot in a rapid fire fashion so that you will get closer shots. Most of the shots will have nothing remarkable in them, but you may be lucky enough to get some great shots.  Keep shooting, by changing focus and illumination. Hope you are confident to experiment with speed photography.

You can practice speed photography with different styles and objects.The below shown photograph is a perfect example for water drop splash photography.

 Breichigh-speed-photographyCheck out this video and understand how to capture a water drop in slow motion. This is a real camera shot  at 4000 fps. It is nearly impossible to create such effect with any software available today.

 Coffee SplashHope you got an idea about capturing high speed photographs using water drops. This is all about creativity and patience. Sometime you may have to try several shots to get a perfect one. It should be done in a dark room because the exposure time will be defined by the flash.

Water drop speed photography by Vladimir Nefedov

Vladimir Nefedov is known for his amazing speed photography techniques. Using some digital imaging  software, the resulting images are often then polished up(only the shadows and background are manipulated).  The actual shape of the fluid is left untouched.

water drop photography

speed photography vladimir nefedov
water drop photo

speed photography

splash technique photography

For additional information on “High speed photography”, check my “Art of High Speed Photography” article.


  1. that is a big step, since digital SLRs are peicrd from $800 up. have you tried using SLRs before? if you have no previous experince try borrowing non digital SLRs from friends and see how it goes. its important that you have a feel for it first before buying one. i guess this wont matter if you have the budget for it.Most brands have starter units for the newbies. Canon and Ricoh are good buys for starters. The high-end ones are those from Nikon and Minolta.Get the almost discontinued models or get one from ebay or the second hand market for starters. Also try to get one that uses compact flash(CF) memory cars as they are cheaper. Invest on at least a 512mb CF card.Cheers