Liquid Fashion

Discover how to capture stunning paint-splash shots like this one.

This class takes fashion photography and turns it into art.

From a technical point of view, this shoot presents a range of challenges.  You’ll learn exactly how to achieve these stunning results for yourself – if you don’t mind making a mess!

Photographing splash shots like this requires a fast flash duration. If you don’t have fast enough studio lights, speedlights are a great alternative. Karl explains all this and reveals the setup he uses to create the perfect light on both paint and model.

In this class:

  • Lens choices for studio photography
  • Creative photography ideas
  • How to photograph splashes
  • Freezing motion using speedlights
  • Safety precautions when photographing paint (protecting your equipment and model)

If you enjoy this class, take a look at Model Throws Paint and Model Paint Blast.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hello, glad I stumbled across your site. I am interested in doing a paint splash shoot. What I would like to know is, is there a water to paint ratio that you use for the mixture?

  2. Gary Stasiuk

    Karl.. Came back again to watch this and I noticed that the scrims you have in these shots, as opposed to some of the product sessions, are narrower. A few questions.. size on purpose? You don’t seem to be using the full roll size of the Lee. I don’t have access to Lee from my outlets. They sell Savage.. which tends to be one size, 57 inches / 144 cm.. an American product I believe. Why the smaller size scrim (if there was a reason)? I’m curious, approx how many scrims do you have made up? And what sizes are very useful?

    Currently I have only one very large scrim stretched out and I have an ongoing roll. I was thinking about making another and I noticed the size difference.. just curious how many you find very handy.

    1. Hi Gary, these were very old scrims when I was using a different material before I was using the LEE 216. Most of my scrims now are 152cm wide by whatever length I make them but I also have cut a few smaller square ones for more manageable handling on smaller flat things. I’m sure you’ll be OK with the savage at 144cm but if you’re in the USA i’m surprised you’re struggling getting the 152cm LEE as they sell tons of it to the film industry and I’m sure LEE in Burbank or other cinema supply stores would have it. If you’re in the UK then try Robert White photographic.

      1. Gary Stasiuk

        West Coast of Canada, just outside of Vancouver.. At times, i wish I was in a far more metropolitan area like LA. Limited selection at our pro shops. I was just happy I stroll in there and pick some up. I need more so I’ll try tracking other sources. We do have a very active film community. I’ll have to look into where they are sourcing it.

  3. Hi Karl
    Really enjoyed this class. Planning on having a go myself when I can find a studio willing to host!
    I do have one question. My 1200W studio lights can fire a flash duration of 1/4000 or 1/5000 on the lower power settings. And having tested with a fan as you did in another class, I get a good freeze at f7.1 ISO 200. So, if you were to use studio lights if repeating the shoot would you still shoot through scrims or select different modifiers? Many thanks.

    1. Hi Paul, yes definitely it is the modifiers which shape the light to create the mood. Modifiers have no effect on flash duration they will only reduce the amount of light (sometimes increase it if they collimate it).

  4. Bonjour Mr Taylor
    S’il vous plait pouvez vous me dire la nature du liquide que vous utilisez? est ce de la peinture industrielle qui permet de peindre les maisons?. C’est époustouflant j’aimerais réussir cela avec chacune des couleur de l’arc en ciel . Je ne possède qu’un flash cobra (speed light) est ce un problème? cependant j’ai les autres éclairages de studio.

    1. Bonjour, Non, c’est la peinture utilisée par les enfants à l’école, elle est sans danger pour la peau, etc. Elle se présente sous forme liquide et vous pouvez ensuite la diluer si nécessaire.

  5. Karl, i`m from Brazil and i am loving doing these kind of shooting. My clients are requesting me for jobs because of the splashes. Thanks for the classes, you`re a great teacher!

  6. hi karl, is it possible for me to achieve this result using only dedicated flashes CANON 580EX ll?

    1. Hi Marcus, yes absolutely if you have enough of them as they can only be used on lower powers to obtain the fast flash duration. Some of the flashes used in this I think were 580EXs or we’ve used them before on similar things. The only down side is the price of so many flashes and then the reliability of the connection, which is why it can often be cheaper and more reliable to use studio lights.

  7. So as to freeze the mouvement of liquids, is it better for me to use the highest speed of 1/800 s on my hasselblad or the 1/125 on my Fuji GFX ? Ignoring the light speed I need for this kind of picture; but to mask any background lighting. It is an advantage or not ? Thanks for your help. Regards François

    1. Hi Francois, the higher shutter speed is only useful for cutting out the ambient continuous lighting, it is the fast flash duration that freezes stuff please see the first 15 chapters on lighting theory in the portrait section.

    1. Hi Mario, the information on the paint type is in the equipment list on the lower right of the page. Cheers Karl.

  8. Hello Karl – won’t the slow-duration strobe cause blur in the paint despite using the speedlights for freezing the liquid?

      1. Hi Yes that’s correct, I only captured the shot with the speedlites, I simply used the modelling light from the elinchrom studio lights to see what the light would look like, this was explained between 1min 22 and 2mins in the video. The shutter sync speed was also fast enough to not record the modelling lights.

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