How To Shoot The Perfect Shoe Splash

Jul 29, 2015

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years.

How To Shoot The Perfect Shoe Splash

Jul 29, 2015

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years.

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Shoes Splash Feature Image

It’s been over two weeks since I bought a new pair shoes and I still haven’t worn them because I wanted to take one last picture of them. Last week I did a lighting tutorial on how to photograph shoes, on this tutorial we will add some splashes to the shoes and do a step by step tutorial on how do one yourself.

What you need:

  • A Camera (as always)
  • A tripod
  • Speedlights (Some studio strobes will work provided they have a fast enough flash duration, with speedlights, you’re pretty much safe)
  • Wireless flash triggers
  • Poster Paint
  • Cling Wrap (optional unless you want your shoes to get painted really nice. Haha.)

Setup And Lighting

Step 1 – To start of, place your shoe on something stable. I placed mine on a light stand with a hotshoe holder and taped it to the bottom of the shoe. (I know, I should have used gaffer’s tape). As always, we are going to do some photoshop compositing so it’s essential that you put the camera on a sturdy tripod.

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (4)

Step 2 – Add the main light with some diffusion on. You can check this tutorial for some positioning tips. I added an SB600 with a small softbox on the right side of the subject at 1/4 power.

I was shooting with a Fuji Xe-2 and the kit lens at ISO 200, 1/160, f5.

Setup
Here is the setup

Diyphotography Shoes (2)

Step 3 – Add a kicker light or a highlight on the back of the shoe to get some separation from the background. I added a YN-460 II speedlight on the back left of the subject with a black DIY snoot for the highlight.

Setup
Setup

Diyphotography Shoes (3)

Step 4 – Add another fill light or kicker light if needed. I had a little shadow on the left side of the shoes so I added one last speedlight just on the table on the left side of the shoe to fill some light on the shoes.

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (3)
Final Lighting Setup

Diyphotography Shoes (4)

Take a photo of the shoe in its final position and lighting.

Step 5 –  Now, I didn’t want to get my yet-to-be-worn shoes dirty, so I got some cling wrap and wrapped it all around the shoes for protection.

While you are at it, put some nylon on the floor, or get the light stand in a plastic swimming pool.

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (6)

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (5)
TADA!

Step 6 – Put the shoe back into position.

Diyphotography Shoes (1)

Step 7 – Mix water with poster paint. Of course it does not have to be poster paint, but I found the texture and shape of that to be very good for splashes. I used a gold colored poster paint for this project.

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (7)

Step 8 – It’s splashing time! If you have a wireless shutter trigger or a shutter release cable you can do this by yourself. Luckily, I had a (THE!) girlfriend to click the shutter while I did the splashwork.

Diyphotography Shoes Setup (9)
The girlfriend behind the scenes

Below are just some of the sample splashes, all in all I used about 20+ different splashes for the Photoshop composite.

shoes sample 2 shoes sample 1 shoes sample 4 shoes sample 3

In Photoshop

Now for the photoshop part. We will be doing a composite to achieve the final output. You can check out my tutorial on composite product photography here.

Step 1 – Open your final image of the shoe and create a duplicate layer.

Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (4)

Step 2 – Click file -> Automate -> Photomerge, and select all the splash photos (Make sure you uncheck Blend Images Together).

Hide all the layers except your background and its duplicated layer once everything finishes loading.

Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (5) Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (6) Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (7)

Step 3 – Now the first thing you need to do is to clean your background layer. So with the duplicated layer use the clone tool to remove the light stand.

Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (9)

Step 4 – Select one photo and click on the Add Mask button. Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (10)

 Step 5 –  With the black brush brush the splashes that you want in the image. You will see that the parts you paint black disappear.

Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (11)

Step 6 – After select your layer mask and Press Ctrl-i to invert that layer. Only the parts you painted black will show in the image. You can fine tune your image by painting black or white to show or hide that parts. You can also press ctrl-i again to invert the image and see what parts you missed.

Diyphotography Shoes Photoshop (12)Step 7 – Repeat this process on All the layers until you get your final Image.

Below is a GIF on how I combined all the images together.

shoe-splash

Final Result:

Diyphotography Shoes final (1)

Now it’s time to wear the shoes first thing tomorrow morning!

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Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock

Laya Gerlock is a Portrait and Product photographer based in the Philippines. His passion is teaching and sharing his knowledge in Photograpy and has been doing this for 6 years.

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3 responses to “How To Shoot The Perfect Shoe Splash”

  1. ऋषेश्वर डंगोल Avatar
    ऋषेश्वर डंगोल

    thx

  2. Tristan Robitaille Avatar
    Tristan Robitaille

    Again, really nice tutorial!

  3. Maria Hernandez Avatar
    Maria Hernandez

    This is really creative, if it was me I would have done this in a very inefficient way which may come out as a very bad output. This method of splashing the shoe is brilliant as it does not ruin the shoe.