Story behind the photo - Splashing lime on ice

What do you need to have?

Have your kitchen ready and your kitchen table ready. Select a relatively long and wide glass. Fill the glass half or less with ice cubes and the rest with water. Select a corner with a white background. 

Important: you also need to wear dark color clothes so that the water and ice cubes will have a nice contrasty black edges. Believe me this tip makes all the difference!

How to setup the scene?

Place the glass on the table and try to raise it with the use of some kitchen utensil. Fill the glass with water and ice cubes. Select a white tray to place the glass on. This will reflect the light further. Place your speedlite in front of the tray and face it at the white background. I made use of my 5 in 1 reflector as the background but you can make use of a white wall or hang any white cloth on your kitchen wall. Place the table against the white wall in a way the speedlite is half the distance between the glass and the background.

What gear should you use?

  • A DSLR (it goes without saying)
  • Any lens but preferable a zoom lens
  • A tripod
  • A shutter release (or not if you have an assistant throwing the lime)
  • An off-camera flash (with remote trigger capability) 
  • A nylon bag to cover the flash from water splash
  • A reflector or white cloth as a background

How to take the shot?

Set your camera on a tripod that is at the same level of the glass. Try to focus on the open top of the glass. If you are having difficulties auto focusing, put your finger on the top of the glass and try again. When auto focus succeed, turn your focus mode to manual and your lens stabilizer off.

Have someone throw the lime or ice cube from a relatively higher level hitting the water surface of the open glass to make a splash. If you are on your own, make use of your shutter release cable and while letting go of the lime slice, hit the shutter release button. Timing is crucial and I am sure you won't nail it before 20 + shots.

How to post process it?

  • Import the photo and increase the exposure around the glass to achieve a pure white background. Check your histogram for highlights; everything should be blinking to achieve a pure white background
  • De-saturate the water and the glass to eliminate the color casts on water droplets. Mine were violet for some reason.
  • Apply more saturation and luminosity on the piece of lime and increase sharpness and clarity.
  • Rotate the photo some 20 to 30 degrees to the left or right for a better perspective.

There you go! Enjoy!

Drop the lime on top. Timing is key. Try several times until you nail it. 

Make sure to raise the glass over a kitchen utensil to hide the speedlite. The speedlite should be covered from water spill.

Original selected photo before processing

Final photo after applying adjustments above in Lightroom