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We talked about freezing action, particularly splashes, in the past and how such shots can contribute to your commercial or stock portfolio. But let's get a little deeper into things and see exactly how this technique works.
Apart from the setup and to moving objects you're gong to photograph, you will need a tripod for your camera and a flash mounted on a light stand. Why a flash? Why can't you just set the ISO to 3200 and use a shutter speed that's fast enough to freeze the motion?
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Well, there at least two reasons for that. Number one is image quality, and ISO 3200 won't give it to you. Number two is light. You want the light in this type of shot to be a little more out of the ordinary and ambient light certainly won't do it.
So how do you use flash for freezing action? The important thing is to know your limitations. You're not going to be able to shoot at 1/800th of a second with a flash. You can only do it as fast as the camera's flash sync speed goes. In most cameras it's either 1/200th or 1/250th.
After that, you're going to have to find the right settings to overpower the ambient light. In other words, you want the pictures taken with the flash turned off to be completely dark. Then, you're going to have to experiment with different settings. One important thing to note about using flash like this is that the higher the power output will be, the loner the flash beam will be cast. The lower the power on the flash, the shorter the time the flash will fire.
With that said, it's a game of trial and error. Try to stay at a lower ISO speed for getting maximum image quality and keep that aperture open in the range of f/8-f/11.
Here's a thorough demonstration with photographer Gavin Hoey in this video made by Adorama TV.