The background you use behind the tray can have a huge effect on the impact of the resulting image. I’ve tried plain, coloured and patterned backgrounds. It is a matter of personal opinion whether a background can detract from the water drop collision itself, but I think in many cases gives it more impact.
Some possibilities are :-
- Plain black or white card
- Single coloured card
- Multiple coloured cards arranged together
- Kitchen foil, crumpled then flattened to give a mottled effect
- Album covers (the old fashioned LPs!) , especially with a coloured pattern
- Book covers.
I usually have the background right up against the back of the tray. This is fine with replaceable backgrounds such as card, but you have to be careful of splashes with albums and books.
You can place the background some distance away from the tray but as I usually bounce the flash from the background this greatly reduces the amount of light being reflected.
If you have an image background and want it out of focus then you will probably need to move it further away if you are using a small aperture (which is usually the case, to get as much of the water drop in focus).
So, here’s some example images and how they were achieved. In some cases I’ve included the background in the final image and in some I’ve positioned the tray and angled the camera so the background isn’t visible, just the splash and reflection.
The possibilities are endless though 😉