Techniques for Photographing Exploding Objects

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Photographing objects as still lifes can be fun. Photographing exploding objects, however, can be even more fun. Conceptual photographer Dan Saelinger does this very thing for his clients. But instead of finding an object and photoshopping it until it looks like it’s exploding, he has created an elaborate setup to photograph objects actually exploding. This includes buying several identical objects, deconstructing them, reconstructing them, and then exploding them. Check out this behind-the-scenes look on how he does it:

Tips for Photographing Your Own Exploding Objects:

  • Buy Several Identical Objects – Chances are you’re not going to get the perfect shot the first time around. You may end up shooting dozens of photographs before you snag the perfect moment.
  • Take It Apart, Then Put It Together – Some object may not explode just how you want them too. Instead of hoping they’ll do what you want, it’s best to take them apart and reassemble them in a less secure manner to ensure a more explosive effect.
  • Be Safe – Even if you’re exploding small things that may not seem harmful, explosions can be unpredictable and you want yourself, your crew, and your gear to be safe (and clean).
  • Preset Your Lighting – Do all of your lighting and background checks before you start photographing your exploding object. This way everything is ready to go and you won’t waste time and materials on unfavorably lit photographs. Dan was using Broncolor lighting equipment.
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Saelinger prefers to use real props and stunts as opposed to creating a his shots in photoshop

Timing is a particularly tricky part in photographing explosions, but there are several light and sound sensitive devices you can invest in for capturing photos at just the right moment.

For Further Training on High Speed Photography:

One of the best-selling photography eBooks on the market covers how to do many photography techniques that produce unusual, eye-catching results (including extensive chapters on high speed photography). It can be found here: Trick Photography and Special Effects

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