High-speed photography is one of the coolest photography genres out there. There’s something surreal about the thought of capturing objects that travel at millisecond speed, and movements that our naked eyes can never perceive.
Capturing a balloon popping, water splashing, rocket launching, lightning strikes, and even a bullet cruising through the air are just some of the most popular goals of high-speed photographers.
Another recommended sub-genre of high speed photography is shattered glass or broken glass photography.
What is Broken Glass Photography?
Also known as shattered glass photography, broken glass photography highlights glass-breaking events captured through a high-speed camera setting.
While this is an old sub-genre in high-speed photography, many photographers, both advanced and beginners, continue to innovate and find new and more creative ways to accomplish this mind-blowing photoshoot.
What Makes Broken Glass Photography Appealing?
Shattered glass photography enthusiasts believe there’s beauty in the chaos and unpredictability of glass breaking and shards bursting mid-air. These events also produce unique images that cannot be replicated.
Glass bursting and creating a collage of crystals on images can also be compared to dynamic and unique contemporary abstract art: its composition relies on the circumstances curated by its artist-slash-photographer. The interpretation derived from the final image reflects and reveals how the viewer sees and understands the world.
Aside from using the typical drinking glass, a wine glass filled with red wine, a lightbulb, and a window glass panel as subjects, there’s an emerging broken glass photography type that is making beginner and professional shutterbugs curious about this genre: broken vase photography.
What is Broken Vase Photography?
Broken vase photography is a relatively new type of broken glass photography. If you Google the phrase, it doesn’t have much of an online presence yet, making it an exciting photography type to explore!
If you’re one of those who are curious and eager to try broken vase photography, this article will help you learn the basics and provide some ideas on how to create dramatic, unforgettable, and unique broken vase photography compositions for your portfolio.
Let’s get started!
Getting Started with Broken Vase Photography
Broken vase photography presents a wide spectrum of possibilities! Exploring this type of photography allows you to be creative. It also allows you the opportunity to tell a story through the use of colors, textures, composition, lighting, and materials, among others.
The best way to get started on broken vase photography is to consider these factors below:
Just like any photography session, you have to decide on a theme. What subject do you want to feature? What sort of atmosphere do you want to express and create? What do you want your audience to feel when they see your photo?
Answering these questions can help you arrive at a theme that you and your audience will mostly relate to.
In connection to the theme, you should also decide on the mood that you want to evoke. Are you going for bright, vibrant, and optimistic images? Or do you want to highlight the dramatic and emotional appeal of black and white photography?
The mood will also depend on the images and scenes that you want to capture. Are you going to emphasize the fascinating chaos of shattering glass or ceramic vases? Or are you going to point out the beauty of imperfection as represented by the charming chips and cracks of a broken pot?
Last and the most important factor that will bring the theme and mood together is the composition. How are you going to frame your image? What kind of visual flow do you want to achieve? How are you going to use the colors, lighting, and positioning of the objects to your advantage?
Also part of the composition is making use of props or materials that you can add to enhance the mood that you are trying to evoke. Additionally, the image background, lighting, and angle can further emphasize the perspective that you want to focus on.
Now that we’re done talking about the fundamentals of broken vase photography, let’s go to the most creative photography tips and tricks that you need, either for an indoor or outdoor shoot.
Tips to Create Unique Broken Vase Photography
Keep these tips and tricks for broken vase photography in mind.
1. Keep your background and composition simple.
Remember that the main star of your broken vase photography is your subject, the vase. It’s important to keep your background and props simple to guide the viewer’s eyes to the main focus of the image.
What you need to do first is to start with the subject. Place the vase where you want them in the frame. Next is to bring out your props, and limit them to two or three. Place them around the vase.
Keep in mind that this photoshoot is not about taking a photo of a vase with props or still life images. We’re talking about a glass shattering event. So what does this mean? It means that you have to leave a lot of space, for the splashes and glass shards, between the subject and its surrounding objects.
Seasoned broken vase photographers suggest placing supporting objects in the background. Doing so will add depth to your photo, especially if you are shooting in an indoor studio with a single-colored background.
One interesting piece of advice that we got from a beginner photographer who just started with broken vase photoshoots is to tilt the vase or glass bowl to achieve a dramatic effect.
Lastly, while using background or foreground props to create depth and add a story to the image, you can also ditch all of these and just focus on the vase as your sole and primary subject.
Don’t worry about capturing a plain and boring image. You’ll be surprised how the simplicity of a breaking vase can produce a dynamic, surreally mesmerizing image. Try it and see for yourself!
2. Re-use old ceramic or glass shards for a shoot.
One neat trick that a professional product photographer shared with us is how to add more dynamic elements to your broken vase shot. You can do this by incorporating more flying elements using an old-fashioned technique: using glue and knitting needles.
If you’re shooting a glass vase, for example, and you have extra shards lying around from a previous photo shoot, you can reuse these as flying elements in the air.
It sounds like cheating, but it’s not! This will also allow you to control your composition.
Try to set up a structure where you can attach a thread or a needle to hold the glass or ceramic shards mid-air. You can easily remove the needle from the image during post-processing. Just make sure that they have a good distance from your main subject and that they are within your frame.
This is also a clever way of reusing shattered glass or ceramic pieces, especially if you did not get the shot that you want on your first try.
3. Use a high-speed camera trigger for the real deal!
Now, if you’re against using that convenient technique in broken vase photography, you can experience the real deal using a high-speed camera trigger! No more scripted or pre-composed shots, only the dynamism, unpredictability, and full-blown action of shattering ceramics and glass into hundreds of pieces mid-air.
A high-speed camera trigger also assures you that your only chance to shoot is all worth it. As a powerful device that can turn a regular camera into a piece of high-speed equipment, you can dominate broken vase and broken glass photography in no time!
So how does it work? If you’re using a remote camera trigger like MIOPS SMART+, you’re in luck. This highly intuitive device has the features that you need for a successful high speed broken vase photography, without the tricks and additional apparatus.
MIOPS Smart+ camera trigger has a dedicated Laser Mode and Sound Mode that allows you to detect sound and motion even for objects traveling at split-second speed.
What Do MIOPS Smart+ Laser Mode and Sound Mode Do?
MIOPS Laser Mode
MIOPS’s laser mode is a high-speed trigger mode that can be activated to capture moving objects. The laser mode activates the device’s highly sensitive motion sensor to detect fast-moving objects and trigger your camera to shoot.
MIOPS also allows users to set a delay timer, teaching the camera to only activate the trigger after a specific period once the object breaks the laser. Additionally, users can set a shooting interval, frequency, and other settings that will help ease post-processing.
Aside from shattered glass photography and broken vase photography, the laser mode is also a widely used MIOPS feature for sports photography, wildlife photography, and product photography, to name a few.
MIOPS Sound Mode
MIOPS’s sound mode, just like the laser mode, is also a highly recommended feature that expert broken glass photographers use for a broken vase photo session. What does it do and how is it different from the laser mode?
While laser mood uses a motion sensor to detect movement, the sound mood relies on sound or loud noise to signal the camera to trigger.
The MIOPS Smart+ sound mode relies on loud sound events as stimuli to trigger the shutter to burst. Its highly sensitive sensor is also adjustable according to the decibel level of a loud event. This sound sensor is ideal for shooting loud events like breaking or shattering glass or ceramic vases.
Just like the laser mode, the sound mode also lets you set up a delay timer, image interval, and shooting frequency. This gives photographers the freedom to take as many images as they want, without worrying about missing a shot.
Aside from being able to click the shutter on time and capture the moment and freeze the motion or sound event of a vase breaking, you also have to consider your flash guns and lighting. Let’s talk about it in the section below.
4. Set up your flash units and your lighting.
Your main subject is glass or ceramics of varying colors and textures. Some are matte, some are shiny, while others are opaque and transparent. Imagine how proper lighting can put their unique shapes and forms in the spotlight.
What lighting tips should you remember? For one, broken glass photography and broken vase photography can benefit from a properly positioned backlight. Having a backlight prevents distracting reflections that could affect the quality of your shot. You can use a speed light to achieve that ideal backlight.
Additionally, you’re going to need a fill light. It’s perfect if you have a large diffuser supported by another speed light. It helps you get rid of the unwanted shadows created from the backlight. Illuminating your main subjects also helps your camera’s aperture detect the main focus of the composition.
In some cases, photographers prefer a completely dark studio and just rely on the light created from their flash guns. This option is recommended if you just want to capture the raw simplicity of shattering glass and ceramic while focusing on the sharp and irregularly shaped crystals flying in the air.
So there you have it, we covered the main elements. The last and the most important thing to learn about this photography sub-genre is how you should set up your camera’s settings.
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
Take impossible photos by turning your camera into a high-speed capture device!
5. Camera Settings for Broken Vase Photography
How do you set up your camera settings for a broken vase photoshoot? The popular advice that we got from photographers mastering the same niche is to just treat it like a regular high-speed photography shoot.
The shutter speed, aperture, and exposure values will always depend on the amount of light source that you are projecting to your subject. It will also depend on the composition that you curated for your image.
Since broken vase photography is a high-speed event, the most important setting to focus on is your shutter speed. How fast can your camera trigger the shutter? According to your shutter speed setting, how should you adjust your aperture to make sure that enough light can enter the lens? With your shutter speed and aperture, how do you make sure that your images won’t be underexposed?
Going through these questions will help you come up with the answer.
Mastering Broken Vase Photography Using MIOPS Smart+
If you want to work smart, you can choose MIOPS Smart+ as a camera trigger. Aside from bypassing the need for speed, especially when clicking your camera’s shutter, it can intuitively suggest the most ideal aperture, exposure, and ISO values that can give you the best results.
Now, you’re ready! Hopefully, this article will help you get started on broken vase photography. Good luck and have fun!
Blog Credit: Charm Villalon
Charm is a writer and a visual artist. Her drive to share ideas and stories is evident in her background in communication arts and language studies. Years of professional experience in content creation have given her a broad proficiency with the process of engaging online communities. An appreciation for multiple languages and cultures drives her to seek out experiences and capture these moments through her writing, digital art, and photography.