Photographing Pigments Can Kill Your Vacuum + Tip On Shooting Flour

A few years back we were first introduced to Benjamin von Wong with a creative flour and dancers shoot. We thought it was quite Epic back then. How little did we know :)

If cleaning up after a flour session seems like a crappy job, how about the mess after doing a session with colored pigments.

Photographing Pigments Can Kill Your Vacuum

Ben took a visit to Place Cliché to collaborate on a high end pigment based shoot. The results are exploding with color and creativity. Video and some tips after the jump

Backed up by a strong creative team, a Hasselblad H4D-31 medium format camera and a Profoto Pro 7Bs with three heads here was a lot to explore.

Photographing Pigments Can Kill Your Vacuum

Photographing Pigments Can Kill Your Vacuum

Photographing Pigments Can Kill Your Vacuum

With flour being kind of a specialty with Ben, I asked him for a few tips about using powder as a creative tool:

  • Tossing powder with our hands turned out to be the best method for getting a nice impact. It had just the right mix of randomness, speed and pattern
  • For a nice spread, we used a dustpan… it creates the more smokey texture you see on some of the shots
  • Impacts are what give that particle feeling, or else things become very smokey. IT takes a bit of practice, but try and time your shot to the micro second right after the powder hits the model. By the time you get it right everything will already be a big mess.
  • This is a really crucial one: Don’t mix pigments and water, everything becomes extremely colorful!
  • As far as lighting goes, Light your pigments from the side to make it pop! Lighting from the front makes the entire image look flat and uninteresting while lighting from the back means that your subject will be unlit!

Two quick fun trivia items, if you were wondering: The slo-mo effect in the video was done with a Nikon D800 and the Twixtor After Effects plugin. And it took over 2 hours to clean up the space post shooting (yet to be more true to reality, “Cleanup took weeks… ! Those pigments just keep appearing every which way!”)

For lighting diagrams and a more detailed account of the shot, visit Ben’s blog.

  • JDaniel

    what kind of flour did you use?

    • Benjamin Von Wong

      flour? in the flour shots we used normal ordinary everyday flour? lol!

      • JDaniel

        lol,well i meant powder :)

  • Lippy

    The model and crew had to inhale that stuff. Can’t be too healthy.

  • Xystren

    Another safety thing to remember is, especially with flour and other fine particulates is they it can be extremely flammable. Make sure you don’t have any open flame or equipment that possibly may arc/spark. And smoking on set would also not be a good idea.

    Otherwise, the visuals and photography look absolutely impressively stunning!!

  • Louise J. Fortier

    The photography is quite stunning. Flour does create an extraordinary effects to the pictures.