If you have been following my antics lately you will know I have been adding to my food photography portfolio like a madwoman. Last week one of my bucket list beverage photos landed in my lap in the form of a test shoot with food stylist Dana Kapustin. We tackled the splash! While it wasn’t all smooth sailing here is what I learned from our adventures in splash photography!
5 Things I learned about Splash Photography
Get some cool cups
OK yeah maybe that’s obvious but there is a fine line between a cool cup, and a TOO cool cup for a splash photo. Remember we are going to have so much going on we want something that supports the cool shapes our splash photo makes but doesn’t end up competing.
These bad bois came from Ikea (aka my happy place) and were stylish and affordable. Remember sometimes we need backups in food photography and props can add up real fast!
2. Get some different colored liquid for options
This also might fall into the category of OBVS but hey let’s be real, options are great. As you can see we shot one setup with a “milk” color and one with a “coffee”. Having both options let us get the most bang for our splashy buck.
3. “Milk” isn’t always Milk- Food Styling Tricks
Everyone has seen those videos on Facebook about the gross shit people use to make food last forever under hot lights or the endless prodding we sometimes have to do in food photography. Also if you have read my bio (it’s RIVETING!) you know I am not a big fan of this stuff. I take food waste really seriously so I try to make those tricks my last resort, but on this occasion the food stylist felt our real milk was just not milky enough. Even using whole milk she felt it should be more opaque. So we added some heavy cream which almost did the trick, but then there were concerns about the thickness forming nice shapes, so into the mixture went GLUE! Yep, super not drinkable, GLUE! I won’t give away all her tricks but I’d venture to guess this is what helped us get so many interesting splatters. Fortunately for our cow pals only about a glass or two got glued but we made sure to immortalize their work in these cool shots and no doubt the rest went into non-gluey breakfast!
4. Achieving your splash takes practice (and good aim!)
Perspective is a tricky thing. From both of our angles (her above, me at camera) we saw different things when aiming into our glasses. One of us would feel sure they were aimed correctly, the other confident they were totally going to miss. Sometimes we were both wrong and our splash maker (my fav tiny fake icecubes) missed the glass completely. We got a lot of cool splashes out of our day but there were definitely some hilarious fails!
5. Splash Photography is really messy but really fun
I know I know, Captain Obvious is still continuing to sail the seas of DUH but you will not believe how far some of this stuff splashed. There were splashes on our backdrop, splashes on my reflector, splashes all over my studio and obviously splashes on me! In between shots there was a rush to try and catch all the liquid from gliding off the surface onto the floor and because of the aforementioned GLUE this made it a race against time (and even stickier cleanup). For our purposes I didn’t think we needed to reset every shot so we typically did a splash and then another (2) splashes before we cleaned everything up and started from scratch. But hey, there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk!
Well I hope you enjoyed my messy learning experience as I work to bring some more cool food photography to Los Angeles!
Until next time,