The first bounce
1 Steady as you go
You’re going to be using a relatively slow shutter speed to blur the movement of the balls, so put your Nikon on a tripod to keep everything steady. Also, plug in a remote release as this will make it easier to time the shot when the balls drop.
2 Light work
Place one light so the front of the scene is lit up. Slightly to the left or right of the camera is great, but you need to light the whole scene to make a lively, vibrant image. If you have another light, place it adjacent to the first (key) light to fill in any shadows.
3 Don’t miss a moment
Don’t miss out by taking shots in single-frame mode. Change to continuous high burst mode and prefocus on your scene (engage autofocus, move the AF point to the centre of the scene, and focus, then turn off the autofocus to maintain the same focus throughout).
4 The bounce test
Put your Nikon in manual mode, set ISO640 and a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. Use an aperture of around f/9 for a decent depth of field. Drop a few balls and take some shots. If the balls are too crisp or blurry, then lower or raise the shutter speed respectively.
5 Drop everything!
Once you’re happy with your settings, it’s time to go for it. Gather your balls in a bucket or box and get ready for the drop. If you move the container back and forth you will get more of a three-dimensional look than if you drop the balls at just one point in front of the camera.
6 Variety bucket
As well as moving the container back and forth and side to side to cover a range of your scene, try to drop the balls from differing heights as well. The balls will move at different velocities depending on the height they’re dropped from, so going for variety is key.