Wall Art Shells: Psychedelic Vibes

In this still life photography class, you’ll discover how to turn a simple object like a scallop shell into an eye-catching piece of psychedelic art, perfect for hanging on your wall.

You’ll discover how to use coloured gels (in conjunction with grids) to create interesting visual effects, plus how to use focus stacking to ensure pin-sharpness where you need it.

You’ll also see Karl try a polarising filter on his camera and use some basic sheet metal as a reflector.

The end result is a striking, colourful image you can easily recreate at home.

Be sure to watch Wall Art Shells: Psychedelic Vibes | Post-Production to see how Karl polished up this shot in Photoshop.

If you enjoy this class, you might like to check out Wall Art Shells: Imitating Golden Hour in the Studio and Still Life Stones With Coloured Gels.

In this class:

  • Lighting techniques for still life photography
  • Product photography with coloured gels
  • Focus stacking in product photography
  • Four-light setups for product photography
  • How to use a polarising filter

© Karl Taylor

Questions? Please post them below.


  1. Stephan Jarvis

    Hi Karl. Nice class. I couldn’t catch why you dropped the shutter speed at the end, though.

    1. Hi Stephan, thank you. Could you point me to the time in the video please and I’ll check for you.

        1. Hi Stephan, at first I think I was thinking that by maybe having a bit of movement on the reflected light it could enhance the background effect but then also having re-watched some of the video it may have been that as I was already at f16 and the lights were on a high power that I couldn’t get much more exposure out of the lights as the gels take up a lot of power so using the modelling lights on a long exposure would give me the increased exposure along with the flash. In retrospect though if this was the case as I was now only shooting the background I could have changed the aperture to f8 and refocused to the floor but I probably felt it wasn’t worth doing when using the modelling lights to give me the extra exposure would do it.

          1. Stephan Jarvis

            Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation!

  2. Masausuki

    Hi Karl, thank you very much for your response.
    That’s also interesting way to tackle. But I meant replacing the black card to a white card instead, and shine your blue light into it and bounce back the colour to the shell. Then we don’t change the angle of the global light and may cancel the reflection of the glass at the same time.
    I think that the size of the light source from the subject’s perspective is probably not much different from the ceiling floating panel.
    I was very curious, because of I’m planning to do something similar near future;)

    1. Hi Masa, the disadvantage of that way would be that the lens hole would show up as a black circle reflection in the glass because the surrounding area would be lighter.

      1. Masausuki

        Thank you very much for your kind reply Karl.
        I will be trying multiple different ways during my testing. Even I’d like to try flossing the object instead of putting on glass. Will see how it goes.
        Again thank you very much for the great show!

  3. Masausuki

    Very interesting shot, I enjoyed watching.
    I was wondering what about having the ceiling blue light shine on the white panels instead of having the black panels around your lens? It may cancel the reflection and keep the blue light at the same time?

    1. Hi Masa, I’m afraid you’ll have to give me a reminder as to what time in this video as I filmed this some time ago and can’t quite remember the problem I encountered. Was it to do with the reflection of my camera in the glass?

      1. Masausuki

        Hi Karl, Thank you very much for your reply.
        Oops. My bad, it was around “12:50” when Georgie was suggesting with the black panel.
        Regarding the problem of the loss of light from the ceiling due to the elimination of glass reflections.
        I hope my question is clear.

        1. Hi Masa, thanks for the time. Yes having reviewed it I think it could have been adjusted. The black panel from Georgie obviously worked in removing the camera reflection but it removed our blue global illumination which was important to create the blue in the shadows. Therefore it should have been possible to keep the black above as the direct reflection in the glass but then add 4 white vertical panels closer to the set to box it in and then add blue global illumination to those to create the blue fill in the shell these white panels would have been outside the angle of reflection of the glass. The only unknown is how different the global fill would have looked because none of it would have been coming directly down which was the best angle for the grooves in the shell.

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