A Different Kind of Shoot

We were fortunate enough to be chosen to produce a series of images of bubbles for a pharmaceutical product. Bubbles collapsing, bubbles wafting across landscapes, bubbles at the setting of the sun, bubbles being distorted etc.


It seemed like such a simple idea to start with , but as with all projects required to produce ultimate but effective simplicity, the path to the finished image was  a little longer than at first anticipated.

Which was a good thing.

Along the way we discovered the optimum  speed at which to capture a bursting bubbles strange beauty , how to generate the perfect giant bubble, just where and when the sun sets on the South Downs, and how strangely hikers  can treat you when you set up your camera in the middle of nowhere and proceed to blow bubbles into the distance. Oh, and rather bizarrely, the transparency and flexibility of certain brands of condoms ( We kid you not…. we wanted to see if the surface of inflated condom looked vaguely like the surface of a soap bubble. The research was, let us say, “interesting “. Although possibly not as interesting as two blokes standing in the chemists and deciding which of prophylactics on display would look better in our forthcoming masterpiece ).

Next stop was to scour all the local toy shops for bubbles and bubble machines. Found the best device though in the pound shop, but it cost £2.45. Briefly considered calling trading standards, but really didn’t want to upset the owner of a store that carried such treasures lest we should need to patronise his emporium for further projects.


Having equipped ourselves with all the necessary bubble manipulating kit, we set forth to the great outside for the landscapes, and the great inside for some of the more controlled sections of the shoot.

Because of the vagaries of the weather, we didn’t have the luxury of assistants for the outside  stuff. It was more a case of all available hands on deck as we charmed, persuaded and ultimately begged various family friends,family and bystanders to blow perfect bubbles at exactly the right time and in exactly the right place for us. Remarkably, some are even still talking to us.

In the studio, the idea was to operate in controlled conditions.

Well we thought that was a sound principle.

I suppose that at a stretch, blowing bubbles from the top of a ladder and attempting to get those bubbles to land on various pointy things and the occasional model could be considered  controlled. It was at least marginally more controlled than the hysterical laughter resulting from attempting to predict the trajectory of an air filled gossamer film of soapy water.

Anyways up, got there in the end. And as usual had a thoroughly enjoyable time getting there.


…and the recipe

We used the excellent Canon 5D mk2 . Bubbles are fast slippery little critters We normally shoot using Sinar but as bubbles are fast slippery little critters  we needed that extra bit of mobility. As for lenses, we used mainly standard zooms and the pin sharp Canon 100mm macros. The model for the head shots was Beulah from MOT and hair & makeup was by Carolyn Roper from Teresa Fairminer Associates – Carolyn is also a fantastic body painting artist.


The retouching was carried out using Photoshop, we used a green screen on some of the images to help isolate the bubbles hair etc. using Ultimatt software. Below there is a giff animation of the retouching comp for one of the adverts

click on image to see the composite progression

click on image to see the composite progression

Originally our client wanted shots of the bubble deforming as it burst . We did eventually achieve this after some experiment but unfortunately the brief changed and they were never used, but it was fun getting results like these ( see below ).