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Home photography ideas: Whip up a storm with flash and a glass of water!

Watch video: Home photography ideas – whip up a storm using flash!

If you're looking for ideas to shoot without leaving the house, here’s a fun photo project you can try at home that’s sure to leave your friends and family asking how on earth you pulled it off. 

We’re going to show you how to create this head-turning tornado in a wine glass, though any shape of glass will work. You’ll need a large sheet of paper to use as an infinity curve, to give the glass a clean backdrop. We went for a bright blue piece of card, which really helps add a good kick of color to the image – but you could hang a sheet, rug, or anything else you have around the house. 

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Home photography ideas: Whip up a storm with flash and a glass of water!

You will also need glass, a measuring jug and a tripod to put your camera on so that you can lock off the focus. However, the secret weapon for this technique is a milk frother whisk! 

If you don't already have one, you can pick these up on the cheap and they’re ideal for creating the swirling vortex inside your glass – as well as creating delicious frothed milk for your coffee, so they're definitely worth it! Here’s how you can put it all together and take the shot… 

• Stuck at home: 11 photo projects to try indoors during the COVID-19 crisis (opens in new tab)

01 Set up your backdrop

Use some sticky tack to attach your colorful card or paper to the wall and drape it down so that it creates an infinity curve. If you're using a sheet or rug, you can clamp it or drape it from a curtain rail or radiator. 

02 Add your light source

You’ll need to freeze the vortex swirling inside the glass, so a fast shutter speed is essential. If you’re set up near a bright sunny window you may be fine with the natural light, but you can also position a speed light (or two) to the side. 

03 Fill your glass with water

Position your glass on the infinity curve and give it a quick buff with a microfibre cloth to remove any finger prints. When you’re happy with its position, use a measuring jug to carefully pour your water into the clean glass.

04 Focus on the glass

Set up your camera on a tripod and zoom in until the glass is a decent size and the backdrop fills the frame. Then autofocus on the wine glass and switch over to manual focus mode to lock the focus off.

05 Dial in the right settings

If using natural light, select aperture priority and use an aperture of f/8, then tweak the ISO until you can achieve a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec or faster. If you’re using flash, set the power to 1/16 and select manual mode on your camera, with an f/8 aperture, 1/200 sec shutter and ISO100.

06 Give it a spin

Take a test shot to make sure that the lighting looks good. Then set your camera's self-timer mode to around 10 seconds. Trigger the shutter, then place the frother in the glass and switch it on; just before the shutter fires, whip out the whisk!

More photo project ideas:

Stuck at home: 11 fantastic photo projects to try indoors during the COVID-19 crisis (opens in new tab)
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Dan Mold
Technique Editor

The Technique Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, Dan also brings his technical wizardry and editing skills to Digital Camera World. He has been writing about all aspects of photography for over 8 years, having previously served as technical writer and technical editor on Practical Photography magazine, as well as Photoshop editor on Digital Photo


Indeed, Dan is an Adobe-certified Photoshop guru, making him officially a beast at post-processing – so he’s the perfect person to share tips and tricks both in-camera and in post. Able to shoot all genres, Dan provides news, techniques and tutorials on everything from portraits and landscapes to macro and wildlife, helping photographers get the most out of their cameras, lenses, filters, lighting, tripods and, of course, editing software.