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Products in Action

Products in Action

To photograph products in action can be a lot of fun, however also require a huge amount of patience. ‘Products in action’ is not really a photographic term; I just love it as it is so descriptive. Usually it is called ‘splash photography’ as there is usually water or some kind of liquid involved. These kinds of photos are the ones you usually seen on billboards or printed advertisements in magazines, and are popular to advertise cold drinks or beer. Most of the time splash photography photos are very expensive as it can be really time consuming to create.

The photo I’m going to describe is again a really simple sample of splash photography. For this photo I poured coloured water into the glasses and put it on a moving surface, surrounded with radio controlled studio lights set on full strength, as light are critical for action shots of this kind. It is also important to set your camera on a fast shutter speed to freeze the action, unless you want to capture motion. For this action photo I decided to use a high speed strobe to freeze the water. With my camera shutter speed set on 1/250 of a second, mounted on a tripod with the remote shutter release in hand to take the shot, I was ready for action…

While moving the surface with the glasses rapidly, I captured the image. Definitely not as simple as it sounds, considering this photo was my fifth attempt, leaving me to clean spilled coloured water off the studio table five times, and also break two glasses in the process. Nevertheless, I consider myself very, very lucky to get the photo only on the fifth attempt, as my timing to take a photo like this one need to be spot on, within a fraction of a second. In the end it was well worth it.

Who said the life of a product photographer is boring? There are plenty of opportunities to play around and have fun.

Every day we see photos of “products in action” in advertisements, without ever thinking of the frustration, the fun and the chaos left behind in the studio to create those images. Sometimes hours of trying and failing are spent to get it right. Inventing and creating set-ups often force you to spend time in the workshop as well, building frames, support systems, water tanks, etc. All the effort, sometimes to take only a single shot.

There was no tampering or editing on this photo. What you see was captured on the camera.

For the enthusiastic photographer:

It is so simple to try splash photography at home. Start with dropping an apple in water or anything small like a grape in a nice glass filled with water, or even coloured water. The shapes and striking effects of the splashed water can create mind-blowing images. The colour of the background you use is quite important. If you use clear water, the water will adopt the colour of the background, or if you use coloured water, a white background is recommended. A large sheet of paper, linen, blanket, or something similar can be used as a background. And yes, your mother or spouse might appreciate it if you do this photoshoot outside.

In the old days, I took ‘products in action’ photos with a film camera, which can become very expensive. Nowadays with digital cameras, it can cost you nothing to take striking images, have a lot of fun, and get heaps of likes on your facebook page.

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