How to Capture a Photo of a Bubble Bursting

bubbleWe can capture some spectacular images by high-speed photography, but it requires a great deal of preparation, precision and patience. There are a few technical challenges to overcome, particularly when it comes to timing, and it’s very much a case of trial and error – but it’s also great fun!

For taking an amazing photograph of a bursting bubble, we’ll use a camera-mounted flashgun and remote shutter release. Once you’ve fix the exposure and timing you can experiment with different backdrops to create a variety of effects.

Location and set-up

Find a suitable location, such as a garden, ceiling window floor or a bathroom, as a fair amount of water will be involved. This provides lots of natural light and some pleasing, natural colors for the backdrop. You’ll need to be able to hang a backdrop and a water balloon in front of it. Leave some space between the bubbles and the window to reduce any reflections or glare that you may get from the glass.

Use Large Bubbles

Larger soap bubbles are easier to burst and will be easier for you to focus on than small bubbles. Larger bubbles stayed in the air long enough to capture them being burst. Smaller wands tended to produce streams of little bubbles which were difficult to burst and cluttered up the final shot. Use kids’ bubble toy set that came with a bubble wand of around 5cm in diameter.

bubblesCamera settings

Place your camera on a tripod and set it to Manual mode. Set a narrow aperture of f/11 to capture a broad depth of field, so that you can get as much of the action as possible in focus. Use a zoom lens when you shooting bubbles. So we can adjust the focal length as necessary to focus and compose the shot while the bubble is in mid-air. Set your shutter speed to 1/200 sec to sync with the flashgun, and keep the ISO at 100 for maximum image quality.

Focus Manually

focusFocus manually on the bubble floating in mid-air and pressed the shutter release button as soon as the bubble was to be burst.

Keep calm and carry on

You may take a few attempts to get the right shot of bubble bursts. Keep patience and don’t give up on the challenge. Get someone to pop the balloon while you fire the shutter. Keep going, your final image will be much more satisfying.


Jisha Thomas

Computer literate since 1988 and internet literate since 1995. Tool maker by qualification and computer professional by choice. Proficient in CAD. Peripheral knowledge of Product Design, Tool Design and Interior Design. Jack of all trades, in short!

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