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How To Create Stills Of Underwater Bubbles

Most of us know how to shoot organic or non-organic stills, but have you thought of shooting these subjects underwater while creating bubbles?

This month’s 123RF tutorial was inspired by this ingenious idea! Achieving magnificent results is not as hard as you think. Just follow these steps to get started!

Step 1

To create CO2 bubbles, fill your aquarium with 70% of distilled water and 30% of soda water (no sugar). Make sure that the aquarium is free of dirt and has a clean surface.


A well-prepared formulated water will effortlessly create CO2 bubbles, giving the photographer enough time to capture an interesting shot.

Step 2

Next, hook some barrel sinkers onto the subject to prevent it from floating to the surface of the water.

Step 3

It is vital that you follow this simple lighting setup as shown below:


a) Referring to the diagram, every strobe has a role to play in controlling the subject’s prominence and position to ensure that the subject is neither too under or overexposed.

b) The front strobe is known as the key light for the whole subject, as it creates less harsh shadows from the subject. The strobe on the left is a background light which illuminates the blue background.

c) The key of using this light is to ensure that this strobe has a stronger presence amongst the rest to make the subject stand out.

d) You can replace this gel color with other colors that can complement the subject’s natural tone.

Step 4

Create a thin highlight on the subject by attaching the main strobe in a snoot position at the back. This will give the subject more prominence.

Step 5

Next, attach a 100mm macro lens to your DSLR camera to get a sharper, more in-depth shot of the subject.


a) The camera setting  for this tutorial is 1/125 sec with f10.

b) It’s best to rely on manual focusing  when pointing your camera at the subject.

Step 6

Finally, remove dirt or particles on the front, interior surface of the aquarium to produce this final result, as shown below.

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