High Speed Photography Techniques with a Smartphone Camera

High speed photography is dynamic, captivating, and a lot easier to pull off than you may think. All it takes to get awesome shots that freeze motion is some patience and a smartphone:

Before we get too far, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the best results possible:

  • Supplementary light. The more light there is to work with, the better. Shooting outside on a sunny day will likely work well. If you have access to a studio setting, strobe lights can also improve your shots.
  • Plain background. The busier the surroundings, the more difficult it will be to tell what is being frozen in action. A simple background will force the viewer to hone into whatever your subject happens to be.
  • Slow motion capture. When shooting with an iPhone, there’s a specific method that will often yield the best high-speed results. First, activate your camera’s slow-motion capture. Then, set your camera to the highest frame rate possible. That way, you’ll be able to capture a whole sequence and then go in and choose the best still.

Now, without further ado, let’s go over some of the awesome tricks, courtesy of COOPH!

Color Explosion

high speed smartphone photography

This technique is simple, inexpensive, and incredibly eye catching.

Get your hands on some dyed flour, cornstarch, or similar colored powder. Then, think of a sport or movement that a model can act out on camera. Get a little creative and think of ways you might be able to incorporate the powder into your desired action. From there, it’s just a matter of experimentation and letting the colors fly! When the powder comes in contact with another object, it will spread out in every direction, creating a colorful cloud. With the right timing and a fast camera, it can be an extremely effective way of highlighting the action that you’d like to feature.

Water Works

high speed photography ideas

Water is an excellent tool for those interested in the abstract. With nothing more than a tank, a pump, and a little bit of paint, it’s possible to get fascinating images. When paint is injected into a body of water, it will quickly disperse and, eventually, reach an equilibrium. With high speed photography, you can freeze the process and capture swirls and streaks of color as it dances through the water.

If you’d like to switch things up, high speed photography also works well for capturing splashes midair. No matter how it’s utilized, liquids can be pretty unpredictable; no two high speed photographs will ever be exactly the same.

The Moment of Impact

smartphone photography

The hardest part of this technique may be finding someone willing to sit in as a model! When you’re working with high speed photography, few things make for better subject matter than a collision. It doesn’t really matter what exactly is colliding, although human subjects often yield pretty interesting results. If the object launched into the image breaks or bursts on impact, you’ll end up capturing all of the little pieces as they fly through the air.

Try these ideas out and show us your best shots!

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