Home / News / How to Capture The Best Water Balloon Popping Photo by MIOPS Smart+
miops-smart-balloon-popping

How to Capture The Best Water Balloon Popping Photo by MIOPS Smart+

Have you ever wanted to capture the best high-speed balloon popping portrait photo? If you’re into high-speed photography and thinking of capturing the perfect water balloon photo you’re definitely in the right place. In this article, you’ll find bits and pieces of the background for taking the most impressive ones. 

Capturing a bursting water balloon photo is really fun, especially with children. Even though those little men got a little wet, they had enjoyable moments. You can also take photos of your children’s popping balloon moments and send them to us!

When it comes to capturing “that” very moment it may look pretty easy at first glance but it’s not as simple as just setting your shutter speed to the maximum. But please fear not, Smart+ camera remote and this tutorial is here to guide you. 

Taking high-speed photos by using Smart+ sound mode is simpler than you thought. When you pop the balloon with a sharp object, in many cases a needle, your camera will automatically be activated and begin to capture.

miops-smart-balloon-popping-moment

The Theory Behind High-Speed Portrait Photography

Capturing something very fast is happening in a single frame is the fundamentals/basics of high-speed photography. Simply using the fastest shutter speed possible is the easiest way to take high-speed photos. But the results can be disappointing when you do this. 

Instead of setting your camera to the fast shutter speed, we advise triggering. Triggering your camera takes a fair amount of time and can be a delay between the triggering and the camera’s actual firing. The maximum shutter speed of your camera isn’t that fast. By setting the camera on bulb mode and using a dark room will create the same effect. 

The flash of light is not only much faster to trigger but it can be much faster than the maximum shutter speed on most of the cameras. To freeze the motion as much as possible use the shortest flash duration. As the small, portable flashes have the lower flash power and flash duration, try to use the possible lowest power.

Balloon Popping Photoshoot Setup: 
  • A camera
  • One or two cute portrait model who is willing to get wet
  • A tripod 
  • A flashgun
  • A light stand
  • Sound sensor (e.g. MIOPS Smart+) 
  • Darkened room (if you are making the photoshoot in daylight)
  • Colorful balloons
  • Source of water to fill the balloons
  • Something sharp to pop the balloons
  • A boom stand and invisible thread to hang the balloons
Camera settings:
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D
  • Flash: Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
  • Lens: 55mm
  • Aperture: f/0.4
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter Speed: 0.3sec
  • Tripod: Manfrotto
Smart+ settings:
  • Mode: Sound mode
  • Sensitivity: 97
  • Delay: 100ms
  • Lock: ON
miops-smart-bursting-balloon-scene-1

We used a Canon EOS 6D camera and Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flashgun to take these popping balloon portrait photos. We set the shutter 1/4000th of a second. As the balloon bursting is an instant event. You need to calculate the period of time the camera’s firing and the duration of the event to catch the exact moment. 

Technical Details to Pay Attention

To prevent some technical failures you need to pay attention to a few things listed below: 

  • Set your flash correctly

Shooting in the darkroom means using long exposure and a flash. In the dark, your sensor won’t pick up any light until the flash fires even though the shutter is open.

The duration of the flash is much shorter than the shortest shutter speed. Flash will freeze motions far more accurately when it comes to exposing the sensor. You’ll set the flash speed to the fastest at its lowest power in order to control your exposure duration. 

  • All You Need Is a Pitch Black Room

One of the key elements of success in high-speed photography is being able to shoot in absolute darkness. Any light including stray light will reach the sensor of your camera and may cause a blurry image. It’s not what you want.

miops-smart-bursting-balloon-scene-2
  • Triggering the flash with Smart+ sound mode 

You’ll need a device to trigger the flash when a sound event is detected. As MIOPS, we advise you Smart+ camera trigger. Smart+ comes in handy when the balloon goes pop. The sound sensor of the device detects this and triggers the flash that exposes the sensor.

  • Test Everything Before You Start 

You need to be sure everything is working properly. First check your flash is on and awake and the sound sensor is running smoothly. First, turn off the lights and start your long exposure.

Then, make a loud sound to activate Smart+ with sound mode. A shout or hand clapping will work. Wait until the exposure ends to see the final image. If the image looks so dark, try increasing the ISO rather than boosting up the flash power.

  • Good to Go, Just Take the Photos!

Hang the balloon up filled with water, test the flash, turn off the lights and open the shutter. After opening the shutter, burst the balloon to fire the flash. Wait until the shutter closes. That's it! 

Watch the BTS video:

Now It's Your Turn!

Everything is set now and you’re ready to take the most powerful balloon popping high-speed portrait photos! If you want to share your popping balloon photoshoot experience use the #miopstrigger hashtag for the photos you’ll share on Instagram!