Liquid Photography With David Lund

Liquid specialist and former Visual Education student David Lund joins Karl in studio for an exciting episode somewhat different from (and far more messy than) previous live workshops.

Working closely with Karl, David brings his liquid expertise and unusual gadgets to the studio, showing exactly what can be achieved when using creative solutions to control water. Together Karl and David show you a number of different techniques, each of which produces completely unique results. Using water, colored gels and David’s creative contraptions, it’s a show you don’t want to miss.

In this class:

  • Controlling and manipulating liquids
  • Problem solving and creative solutions
  • Using colored gels for creative effect
  • Photographing using trigger devices
  • Photographing different objects in water
  • The advantages of shooting in mirror lock-up mode

To find out more about David and his career, watch his live talk show or read our blog post ‘Designer to photographer – David Lund’.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. I heard David’s name in some videos by Karl and checked out his website before to see his work, but had no idea who the man behind the camera was. What a pleasant surprise it was to see what a likeable personality David has!

  2. Great demo Karl! Curious about dropping heavier objects in the water, like a bottle. I assume it would hit the bottom and maybe, possibly, damage the glass? Does David or yourself use a pad or foam inside the bottom of the tank to prevent this?


        1. Hi Philip, I’ll have to measure it to check when I’m back in the studio but I’m away until the 17th.

          1. Hi Philip, yes you were correct it is 40cm x 40cm.

  3. Gary Stasiuk

    Another question: Soft gradient behind .. got it.. side lights.. hard lights. Makes sense.. Would you ever, or have you ever used a softbox for the side light? Or perhaps a para..? although I don’t happen to have one. Is it all about edge and rim light?

    1. Hi Gary, a Para makes an excellent side or rim light on models and fashion but not on glossy products because of the reflected image.

  4. Gary Stasiuk

    Is there a limit to how far an angle you can shoot from low front with a tank.. so the perspective in the camera is only below water and the top of the image is the surface of the water from below .. say 45 degrees from front and low?

    1. Hi Gary, I’ve not tested this but at a certain angle that becomes to acute you will have distortion from refraction through the glass and an increase in the colour of the glass potentially and a general lack of clarity. At what angle that would be would depend on the material and the thickness.

  5. Hi Karl,

    Sorry I didn’t know where to place this question, but I know that it did appear on one of your shows with David Lund so thought here might be a good spot.

    This is about pricing, and how to price to include changes.

    I understand that you, and other photographers such as David Lund, work with agencies that deals with these. But do you have any advice on how to charge clients to include changes that are needed after the photoshoot, for us that deals with clients directly? Or maybe you have some advice from your earlier days of doing this?

    I have just figured out the pricing side of things, however I seem to have encountered some clients that would come back to me asking for changes (some do and some don’t). They would have the mood board originally, and they would agree to the style of the images, and then they seem to “change their minds” and come back with last minute changes.

    I usually provide an up-front quote for all cost (except props/perishables), and I’m figuring out how/when to include “changes” into this.

    Just wondering if you could shred some light and provide some advice on how to deal with these? Of course if it’s something where I’m at fault, I would make the changes.


    1. Hi Maxine, the pricing is always based on the precise brief supplied and the quotation created for that brief. This is why in advertising photography the brief and requirements (shot list) are nailed down very precisely to avoid changes, it needs to be made clear in your contracts that any deviation from the brief may incur additional work, props etc that will require extra charges. As long as you have that firm brief and agreed price then a client can’t argue that there wasn’t changes from the original quotation. Kind regards Karl.

      1. Hi Karl, the brief I usually have are more “mood boards” than anything, and not a precise drawing/stretch that the client provides as you have shown in some of your courses/talks. The projects I do for clients are usually multiple images (for website/packaging/social media, not advertising), with the style taken off the mood boards and props are agreed on, and I guess the final images are usually subject to interpretation. The only time I have heard of anyone speaking of changes is David Lund’s talk about his shell project, as in how he was glad he charged what he charged as the client came back with a lot of changes (that was included in the quote). So I was just probing for some inside into how this would be priced. 🙂 Thanks for the explanation on this Karl. Thanks, Maxine

  6. I’m having trouble sourcing a decent acrylic tank locally. Does anyone know of options that can be purchased online? Or are these tanks usually custom made?

    1. Hi Jidoe, they are usually custom made, most water proof tanks are glass which if you get the optical clear glass ones are fine from aquariums. Sign service companies should be able to make you a custom size acrylic one.

      1. Hi DanyDeluxe, which second part are you referring to? The interview with David has only the interview part.

  7. Hi Karl,

    Another great workshop! Just tried my first tank shoot and I noticed some reflections in the front of the fish tank. Curious how I can minimize this from happening? The reflection was in the front of the tank, facing the camera.

      1. Hi Karl, I hope you’re fine. I have the same problem: the tank reflects my camera. I read your answer, but I was wondering why you didn’t need to use a dark room of black cloth. Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

  8. Hi Karl,
    By any chance, can you recall what colour code were the big Lee-Filters blue gel sheets used for the background?
    Hopefully you can find something in the archives.
    All the best and thanks,

  9. I am not sure if this was mentioned but the water cannon David uses is a laminar flow nozzle.

    They are not the easiest thing to build, although there are a few companies I know of in China who can make spotless ones for around 100-150USD including internal lighting.

    Davide Bortolami

    1. Hi Davide,

      I hope this reaches you, been quite a while since you posted you advice regarding purchasing Laminar flows. Your right they are very time time consuming and tricky to make. Be really interested to get your links for the companies that you say manufacture these.

      Very best,

  10. Karl, David are you guys not afraid of giving away these photography secrets and creating more competition against yourself ?

    I guess I would like to know your thought process?
    I know some photographers have a hide all my information type mentality.

    I been in software development for 25 years, I teach, tutor, but some other veterans that I know do not like to help the young guys or people taking up the trade.

    Thanks man !

    1. Hi Jared, no I’m not really concerned at the end of the day I’m confident in my experience and ability, it still takes people time to refine the skills through practise and of course many people won’t get as far as actually ‘doing’ but they enjoy just understanding the process.

  11. Really like these shows. So much info on a very complicated subject.

    I am submitting one of my tank shots for the October Photo Competition.


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