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How to Do Popping Balloon Photography

Balloons fascinate everyone including adults. Every child loves playing with balloons but most of the time they get scared when the balloon bursts. But do you know that bursting balloon looks very beautiful and you can take some extraordinary photos when it happened? Let’s find out how we can shoot a bursting balloon at the perfect moment. In this tutorial, I will teach you how to do popping water balloon photography using a sound trigger with your camera.

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

Balloons can be shoot in different ways like you can fill balloons with different color water, take different shots and merge the images in one and make a rainbow or you can put hat or sunglasses on a water-filled balloon and burst it or you can add some talcum powder in a balloon and burst it or you can burst air-filled balloon with an arrow or a dart, possibilities are endless.

MIOPS Smart+ Sound Trigger

Shooting popping balloon is not easy because everything happens in a fraction of seconds and most of the time we miss the change to click it but luckily we have a sound trigger for high speed photography called MIOPS Smart+. High speed photography like this can be very easy using this trigger as it can control your camera and click at the perfect moment.

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

What you need:

First, you’ll need balloons and you’ll need a lot. Buy some packs of medium size balloon. If you want to show only the shape of water and don’t want to show the balloon, use same color balloons as your background so that pieces of balloons merge with the background and you’ll get a clean photo. I used black balloons because I had a black background. If you want to show balloons too, use a different color balloon than your background.

Next, you will need a background. If you have a paper background you can use that otherwise use a piece of cloth. You also need a stand to hang balloons. If you don’t have a stand, tie a long rope from the ceiling and attach balloons to that rope.

To burst the balloons, you’ll need something like a pin or a needle. Tape your pin to a long wire so you can burst from a distance and also paint it with the same color as the background so it won’t show in the picture. It’s better to use the same color thread as the background to hang balloons.

Next, you need a camera, lens and a tripod, it’s advisable to use 50mm to 100mm focal length lens so your camera is far enough from balloons and safe from splashes. You need two flashes and a sound trigger like MIPOS Smart+ to trigger the camera.

At last, you’ll need a room that can be darkened and you are allowed to create lots of mess in that room.

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com


Okay, now it’s time to set up everything. First, you need to fill balloons with water or air and keep them aside. Now place your background paper/cloth on the back side, make sure it’s far from the balloons.

Now set your camera on a tripod with a medium lens so your camera will be far from the balloons and can be safe from water or color splashes. Place two flashes with low power at forty-five degree angle at both sides, the power of flashes should be 1/32 or less and make sure you cover your flashes with plastic bags.

One flash will work as main and other will be work as fill. Power of fill flash should be half of the main flash. So, if your main flash is at 1/32 power, other will be at 1/64.

Camera settings:

Aperture – f/8 – f/11 for deeper depth of field.
Shutter speed – 1/250 or whatever is flash sync speed in your camera.
ISO – 100 or lowest possible according to the light.

Now attach MIOPS Smart trigger to your camera and use it in sound mode. Set Sensitivity to 40-50 percent and delay to 10-15 milliseconds. These settings are not typical, you need to change it according to your requirements. Like for delay, it depends whether you want to capture as soon as the balloon burst, you need to set less time for delay but if you want to show only water shape, you need to set the delay for some more time.

You have two options for using the sound trigger. The first option is to control your camera using this trigger and you’ll be free to burst the balloons. In this case, your camera’s lag time will be important as it will cause a latency to catch the moment.

Another option is that you can set your camera on bulb mode and use the trigger to fire flashes according to the settings. In this case, you need to do two works together. First, open the shutter and then burst the balloon and you may require an assistant.

You can use both methods for high speed balloon photography, it totally depends on you but the second option is recommended to eliminate the latency caused by your camera’s lag time.

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

Work Flow:

When everything is setup properly, all you need to do is tie the balloon on your stand or rope, focus manually and burst it using a pin. MIPOS Smart+ will trigger the camera or fire the flashes on bursting sound. You may miss a few shots when you start but after tweaking the settings of the trigger, you’ll start getting results.

Let’s start popping some balloons and share your pictures with us. We are going to share more high speed photography tutorial like high speed ballistics photography and high speed water photography soon.

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

ALSO READ: 9 Amazing High Speed Photography Ideas You Can Do with a Camera Trigger


MIOPS Smart+ Sound Trigger 

About the Author

Ramakant Sharda is an authoriOS App publisherpassionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.