Strawberry Splash

Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


This image was developed for use with the food photography side of the business and has become quite widely recognised since we started using it a few years ago.

The spoon was clamped to a lightstand out of frame to the left, ensuring there was a stable target for the strawberry. (Note: By strawberry, I suppose I should possibly use the plural rather than singular, as we went through a full pullet).

Let's start with the background, which is a large sheet of diffusion paper suspended by a bar. On the other side of a the paper is a Godox Witstro 360, firing through a standard reflector with a blue gel fitted. The head was carefully (meaning trial and error) set to be on a level with the camera and spoon. As you know, the characteristics of the light from a standard reflector means it's strongest centrally and fades due to fall off around the periphery. The white area the other side of the splash is caused by mild over exposure from the light, which becomes progressively bluer towards the edge of the frame, eventually heading towards the underexposed grey of the corners.

The output was 1/16th

There are two accent lights, one either side. Both are Witstro 360s with their dedicated beauty dishes fitted, complete with grids. Each one are a little further back than the spoon, and slightly higher. Both were firing at 1/16th output.

The main light is a fourth Witstro 360 firing through an 80x80 folding softbox, just to my left, at a similar height to the spoon (you can make out the bottom of the softbox reflected in the underside of the spoon). It was firing at 1/32nd

1/125th sec ISO400 f8

Notice the higher ISO, whilst the Witstros are firing at quite a low level. Why not just up their output?

The Witstros utilise IGBT circuitry, the same found in speedlights etc. As you turn down the power, the light output is physically cut off, reducing both the flash duration and the recycle time.

Standard studio heads are not fitted with IGBT circuitry, and turning down the power actually increases the flash duration, often exhibited by the blurring of hands in children as they tear around the studio! The short flash duration brought about by the IGBT circuitry freezes the motion of the milk.

An advantage to having reduced recycle time meant that I could use high-speed drive and shoot at 10 frames per second, increasing my chances of getting the moment of impact, although you wouldn't have thought so if you had seen the milk and damaged strawberries littering the studio floor by the time we had finished.

Budget Version:

Just use cheap speedlights for the same effect. You may need to increase your ISO further, or move your speedlights nearer.

Worth bearing in mind:

Plastic sheet. A big one!
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
Messages
92
Real Name
Jeff H
As an amateur sitting here reading your tutorial I am amazed that you would take the time to describe your methodology of your work. Your work is fantastic, your descriptions are clearly understood and the efforts you put forth to pass on your knowledge is very much appreciated.

Thank you
 

Ramsey

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
745
Location
Zagreb, Croatia
Thank you for the walkthrough. Two follow-up questions: 1) What is the FL used? 2) What did you use to fire the flashes (as in wired or wireless triggers and if the latter, which ones)?
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
Thank you for the walkthrough. Two follow-up questions: 1) What is the FL used? 2) What did you use to fire the flashes (as in wired or wireless triggers and if the latter, which ones)?
Sorry, Rubbish at abbreviations. FL?
If FL = Flash Light, I used the Godox Witstro AD360 which are available in various re-branded forms including Cheetah Stands etc

The Godox Witstro 360 are triggered by the dedicated transmitter, which allows remote adjustment of the flash power output. An excellent investment if you do a lot of location work.
 

Ramsey

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
745
Location
Zagreb, Croatia
Sorry, Rubbish at abbreviations. FL?
If FL = Flash Light, I used the Godox Witstro AD360 which are available in various re-branded forms including Cheetah Stands etc

The Godox Witstro 360 are triggered by the dedicated transmitter, which allows remote adjustment of the flash power output. An excellent investment if you do a lot of location work.
Sorry, should've made myself more clear. FL= focal length.

Thx
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
Sorry, should've made myself more clear. FL= focal length.

Thx
'T ain't you, Ramsey. It's me and my age :)

I'm far too focused on lighting, I'm afraid :(

My food and product photography tends to be at maximum focal length on either a Nikkor 24-70mm or M.Zuiko 12-40mm
This avoids introducing distortions, and also makes it easier to have the lights as close as I wish without impacting on the frame etc.
 

thenextpage

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
241
I love this shot and setup, thank you for the detailed explanation Michael. Do you recall what the approximate flash duration was for this shot? And if you can say generally, what would be the max flash duration that one would want to achieve in order to capture a crisp splash?
 

thenextpage

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
241
In followup to my question, I'm reading about igbt circuitry and t.5 / t.1 measurements. There is some excellent information on this at the Paul C Buff website. What you've explained is making much more sense to me in light of a better understanding of the relevance of this type of circuitry as it applies in function to freezing motion. The ad360 & ad180 are perfect for this, as is the Einstein E640. It seems that with the Einstein one could achieve nice freezing at lower iso due to the higher power of the unit (640 Ws), but otherwise this unit might have too much power for most other food photography applications. In looking through the Godox lineup, it seems they may be somewhat unique in using igbt for their strobes. The ad600 and ad200 also have fast durations. More reasons to love Godox!

Thanks again for the wonderful food for thought Michael!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
In followup to my question, I'm reading about igbt circuitry and t.5 / t.1 measurements. There is some excellent information on this at the Paul C Buff website. What you've explained is making much more sense to me in light of a better understanding of the relevance of this type of circuitry as it applies in function to freezing motion. The ad360 & ad180 are perfect for this, as is the Einstein E640. It seems that with the Einstein one could achieve nice freezing at lower iso due to the higher power of the unit (640 Ws), but otherwise this unit might have too much power for most other food photography applications. In looking through the Godox lineup, it seems they may be somewhat unique in using igbt for their strobes. The ad600 and ad200 also have fast durations. More reasons to love Godox!

Thanks again for the wonderful food for thought Michael!
One of the things that goes against IGBT based lights, is the shift to blue in the colour balance as the power is turned down.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom