There are many ways to make a pho­to unusu­al. For exam­ple, with the help of gel col­or fil­ters, smoke machines, fil­ter over­lays already dur­ing pro­cess­ing in Pho­to­shop. One of the most pop­u­lar and inter­est­ing areas is shoot­ing in motion (peo­ple, ani­mals, objects). How to stop time and shoot pho­tos in motion with inter­est­ing spe­cial effects, told in this arti­cle.

Frozen water, pow­der, milk, fab­ric — all this will help to make a mag­i­cal and inter­est­ing pic­ture. Pho­to: fi.pinterest.com

A bit of the­o­ry
Light sen­si­tiv­i­ty
How to pho­to­graph water in motion
Option 1. Liq­uid in glass­es
Option 2. Por­trait with tint­ed water or paint
Option 3. Pho­to of “ink” in water
Option 4. “Ink” and a flower
Food shoot­ing with spe­cial effects
Pow­der and flour — an unusu­al decor for shoot­ing
Option 1. Brush­es
Option 2. Por­trait in pow­der

A bit of theory


It should be as short as pos­si­ble. This is dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent cam­eras. Some may have 1/4000 of a sec­ond, oth­ers may have 1/8000 of a sec­ond. The main thing is to keep it short. This will cap­ture fast move­ment.

The indi­ca­tor also depends on what exact­ly you are shoot­ing. For exam­ple, thick vis­cous hon­ey drips slow­ly. It is not nec­es­sary for him to choose the short­est pos­si­ble indi­ca­tor. But the light pow­der scat­ters instant­ly. It is extreme­ly impor­tant for her to choose the max­i­mum of the avail­able val­ues.

Light sensitivity

Freez­ing move­ment is eas­i­est when there is enough light. At dusk, this is also pos­si­ble, but for this you have to con­trive. And if there is not as much light as we would like, it is impor­tant to pay atten­tion to the light sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the cam­era. So that the frame does not turn out to be too dark at a short shut­ter speed, it is bet­ter to increase the ISO. It is dif­fi­cult to give exact para­me­ters, as they depend on the con­di­tions in which the shoot­ing is car­ried out.


It is bet­ter to use not auto­mat­ic focus, but man­u­al. This way you can choose the focus area in advance and not rely on luck.

How to photograph water in motion

Option 1. Liquid in glasses

Need to pre­pare:

  • table;
  • Pho­to back­ground;
  • con­tain­er with water or oth­er drink;
  • soft­box, which will give soft light­ing with­out unnec­es­sary glare.


  • set a glass with tint­ed or clean water / milk on the table;
  • place a col­ored back­ground at the table;
  • set the cam­era on a tri­pod so that it is at a lev­el slight­ly above the table;
  • a soft­box (and if the glass is elon­gat­ed, then a strip­box) can be placed to the right or left, but not exact­ly to the side of the glass. And a lit­tle fur­ther. It will beau­ti­ful­ly illu­mi­nate the glass and the rays of soft light will pass through the liq­uid.

How to get beau­ti­ful splash­es:

  • hang a glass on a rack by a fish­ing line and gen­tly swing it, spin it, low­er it sharply — you get a wave that ris­es up (and / or splash­es out to the sides);
  • if there is no fish­ing line, you can move the glass with your hands, drop it from a height of 5–10 cm. If your hands get into the frame, then they can be cut out.

Advice: use glass­es and glass­es made of trans­par­ent plas­tic, unbreak­able, nec­es­sar­i­ly rubbed to a shine. Oth­er­wise, you will have to retouch a lot.

By swing­ing the glass, you can get beau­ti­ful effects. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Pho­to Extrem­ist

Good deci­sion - spot­light the back­ground. To do this, you can use a flash with or with­out a gel col­or fil­ter.

Advice: use the remote con­trol when shoot­ing liq­uids in glass­es to avoid run­ning between the cam­era and the stage.

To get a beau­ti­ful wave in a glass, you can throw a small object on top — a slice of lemon, an olive, arti­fi­cial ice. So you will get not only a beau­ti­ful, three-dimen­sion­al wave, but also be able to pho­to­graph indi­vid­ual drops of water. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Cam­era Club Live

Option 2. Portrait with tinted water or paint

Jor­dan Miller, a par­tic­i­pant in the 20th sea­son of the show “Amer­i­ca’s Next Top Mod­el”, starred in a spec­tac­u­lar pho­to shoot “Paint Splat­ter” already in 2013. But the pop­u­lar­i­ty of such a pho­to­elec­tric effect has not sub­sided so far.

It is bet­ter to choose such light­ing equip­ment that can be placed high­er: umbrel­las, octo- and soft­box­es. Reflec­tors, strip box­es (very long) are not the best option, they are easy to get dirty.

You can choose any light­ing scheme. For exam­ple, with 3 light sources. The main thing is to have a draw­ing and fill­ing light. You can also addi­tion­al­ly direct the flash to the back­ground or back of the mod­el (high­light with a col­or fil­ter).

It is bet­ter to pour col­ored water or paint into a con­tain­er of 1–1.5 liters. And direct­ly from the con­tain­er to splash in the direc­tion of the mod­el. The clos­er you stand to it, the stronger the wave will be. If you stand far away, you will be able to pho­to­graph indi­vid­ual splash­es of water / paint. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Karl Otto Kris­tiansen


  • it is bet­ter to tint water with food col­or­ing so as not to be afraid of get­ting into the mouth, and so that there are no grains left in the water (as, for exam­ple, from pow­der paint);
  • if you are only using paint to coat the mod­el, choose the water-based option. It is con­sid­ered the most harm­less — odor­less, non-tox­ic, wipes off eas­i­er than acrylic and oth­ers;
  • when shoot­ing with paint, be sure to cov­er the walls in the stu­dio with oil­cloth, give assis­tants dis­pos­able pro­tec­tive suits;
  • so that the mod­el does not slip, put it on a rub­ber mat with holes — so that the paint has room to leak.

For a more dense col­or, you can use the trick that we described in the arti­cle about shoot­ing in the bath­room. If you don’t want to splash paint on the mod­el, mix water, milk and dye (which is suit­able for water). Milk will make the col­or more mut­ed, but the shade will become denser.

And you can sim­ply pour milk over the mod­el. Pho­to: img.fonwall.ru

Option 3. Photo of “ink” in water

In this method, we will show an imi­ta­tion of ink in water. But pre­pare:

  • very clean aquar­i­um (any lit­tle thing will be vis­i­ble) with clear water. Size does­n’t mat­ter. Water must be poured so that 2–3 cm remains to the top — oth­er­wise it will over­flow;
  • light­ing. Any scheme will do;
  • paints.

All you have to do is drop a large blob of paint into the water and film how it will form intri­cate pat­terns.

It is bet­ter to use 1–4 col­ors. If there are a lot of them, they will mix into a dirty col­or. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Dig­i­tal Cam­era World

“Ink” is best:

  • imi­tate with acrylics. Oth­er paint will either sink heav­i­ly with­out a beau­ti­ful effect (oil) or quick­ly dis­solve (water­col­or);
  • draw with a pipette and low­er a large drop into the water. You can also draw with a syringe with a nee­dle. But it’s not worth it with a brush or hand. There will be ugly chaot­ic drops;
  • low­er into the water with lit­tle effort. If you just put a drop on the sur­face, then there will be no beau­ti­ful effect, the paint will sim­ply grad­u­al­ly mix with water.
An exam­ple of using mul­ti­ple col­ors. In this case, the paint was inject­ed from a syringe with a nee­dle. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Macro Room

Option 4. “Ink” and a flower

An unusu­al inter­pre­ta­tion of a pre­vi­ous idea. A task:

  • fill the aquar­i­um with water;
  • after that, low­er the flower into the water. If you do the oppo­site, there is a high­er chance that the petals will take over. The flower should be with a strong strong trunk. At the bot­tom of the aquar­i­um, it can be glued to water­proof dou­ble-sided tape or plas­ticine;
  • lead the paint to the area around the petals;
  • cap­ture the way it oozes through them.
With a flower, a mag­i­cal pic­ture is obtained. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Macro Room

Advice: flash syncs come in handy if you’re using more than one light source and want to cre­ate com­plex light­ing.

Read also:

Shoot­ing flow­ers as a train­er for a pho­tog­ra­ph­er: 6 tricks for pump­ing skills

Food shooting with special effects

Flour, starch, cocoa, pow­dered sug­ar — all this can be used for a pho­to. We already talked about shoot­ing food ear­li­er in the blog. This is an inter­est­ing direc­tion with its own sub­tleties and pecu­liar­i­ties. What are these spe­cial effects for? To attract the view­er.

Bulk prod­ucts are fre­quent dec­o­ra­tive ele­ments. They are scat­tered around desserts, bread. This way you can show dif­fer­ent things: the nat­u­ral­ness of the prod­uct (it’s made from this flour in which it lies), increase the attrac­tive­ness of the dish, cap­ture the moment of prepa­ra­tion (for exam­ple, when cocoa is sprin­kled on top of cakes as a final touch).

Usu­al­ly 2 tech­niques are used:

  • sprin­kle some­thing on top through a sieve (the size depends on the desired inten­si­ty and the size of the prod­uct itself);
  • thrown from above into the loose mix­ture.
Exam­ple — bread was thrown from a height of 40–50 cm into flour. The light in this case is locat­ed on both sides of the sub­ject. One on his lev­el. The sec­ond one is a lit­tle high­er. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel COOPH

Tip: it is bet­ter to take the dish cold so that pow­dered sug­ar, flour or starch do not stick to it or melt.

Powder and flour — an unusual decor for shooting

Option 1. Brushes

A good idea for a beau­ty blog and for those who just want to prac­tice their cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy. You will need good loose shad­ows or col­ored pow­der. They can be mixed with blush or oth­er loose cos­met­ic base — so the prod­uct will turn out more. You can take loose face paint­ing (the main thing is not to tram­ple it into the brush with your fin­gers — it quick­ly crum­ple), Holi paints.

What do you need:

- set one brush with the fluffy side up (on a tri­pod, with a clip — what­ev­er) and sprin­kle it with plen­ty of shad­ows;

- set the cam­era on a tri­pod clear­ly oppo­site the brush;

- choose the right back­ground. The scat­tered col­ored dust on black looks espe­cial­ly impres­sive.

Shake off the pow­der, shad­ows can be done in dif­fer­ent ways. For exam­ple, put anoth­er brush on the rack from above and release it. The upper brush will swing, hit the low­er one and shake off the pow­der.

An exam­ple where the brush on the top stand beats the brush that stands with the shad­ows below. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel COOPH

What about light? You can place a soft­box on the right and a flash on the left. Or install on both sides of the strip box. It all depends on your capa­bil­i­ties. Almost any com­bi­na­tion is allowed.

The eas­i­est way to shake off the pow­der is to light­ly push the tip of the brush with your fin­gers. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel novi­jan san­jaya pho­tog­ra­phy

Option 2. Portrait in powder

Pow­der por­traits are very pop­u­lar among ath­letes. It is asso­ci­at­ed with talc, dili­gence, hard train­ing. For such pho­tos you should not take:

  • acrylic pow­der or talc itself — can cause aller­gies, get into the res­pi­ra­to­ry tract and cause suf­fo­ca­tion;
  • pow­dered sug­ar — sticky, melts.

A good choice is flour, white (the­atri­cal) pow­der and holi paints.

Pow­der can be:

  • type with a large brush (an assis­tant does this) and wave towards the mod­el;
  • imme­di­ate­ly pour on the hands, hair, not the sup­port­ing leg of the mod­el — so that dur­ing the stroke the pow­der scat­ters in dif­fer­ent direc­tions;
  • sprin­kle a lit­tle in front of a small fan. But it is impor­tant that the air flow is not very strong. Oth­er­wise, the pow­der will sim­ply crum­ple.
The coach pours flour on the ath­lete’s hands in order to get a spec­tac­u­lar shot after the wave. Illus­tra­tion: YouTube chan­nel Patrick Luke

But pow­der is used not only for pho­to shoots of ath­letes. It can diver­si­fy any shoot­ing.

An exam­ple is how you can use pow­der in a pho­to shoot. Illus­tra­tion: Youtube chan­nel hotog­ra­phy cours­es and work­shops

We hope that our tips will help you freeze motion in the frame and replen­ish your port­fo­lio with new, unusu­al shots.


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