How to Shoot Toys Underwater with Orbeez

One of the challenges of shooting toys underwater is preventing them from floating right to the top.

You can use wires to hold the toys in place or fishing line to anchor them, but those methods can be tedious. In this video, I show one easy and fun way to do it using Orbeez.

If you have kids, you’ve probably seen these in toy stores but if you haven’t, they’re gel beads that grow significantly in water.

If you want to be scientific about it, they are superabsorbent polymers originally created by the USDA in the 60s to help farmers keep their soil hydrated.

In ball form, they’re used as sensory toys, kids science experiments, and material for decorative centerpieces among other things.

In powder form, they’re what’s inside diapers.

I bought a pack for my kid a couple of years ago and he is still mesmerized by them every time I take them out of the drawer to grow some.

A word of warning: DO NOT leave your kid alone with Orbeez! Mine wanted to keep watering them thinking they would grow to the size of a car at some point (spoiler alert: they grow to about the size of a marble) and took a bowl of them to his bathroom sink.

You know what’s coming next, right?

Yup, down the Orbeez went, right down the drain. They clogged up the pipes for days. We left them there hoping they would shrink.

In the end, we called a plumber who gave us a hefty bill.

My husband hates them forever now but I still love Orbeez.

After shooting LEGO minifigures in water with them, I took a few balls to my little tray of moss and shot some beautiful macro photos.

I’m also planning on some crafty stuff like making displays for my minifigs kind of like this:

I’m sure I can think of a few other things to do with Orbeez in my photography but in the meantime, my kid will enjoy them… far away from any plumbing.

Let me know what you think of using Orbeez for photography in the comments!

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