How To Suspend Objects For Product Photography

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How to photograph flying food images

Levitating burgers, suspended salads and exploding tea — the craze of flying nutrient images is taking over the food photography market. Just how are these exciting images created?

This flight tea food image required creativity, problem solving and noesis to achieve.

Photographing floating images, whether information technology be food or any other product, tin be difficult. At that place are a number of challenges you’ll need to overcome, including getting the composition and positioning of your items correct (not to mention lighting each different element). In our nutrient photography class ‘Flying Tea Food Shot’, nutrient lensman and stylist Anna Pustynnikova and I show you exactly how to shoot an exploding tea paradigm, just I’ve also summarised some of the most important points for photographing floating items here and so that y’all tin bring your own explosive creations to life.

As with most studio shoots, the flying tea shoot can exist divided into four singled-out stages: pre-visualisation, preparation, lighting and shooting. Each of these stages is crucial if you lot’re to get the best event possible. Below I outline the stages for the flight tea shoot, though you lot’ll also meet these steps replicated in shoots such every bit our ‘Floating Cosmetics Splash Shot’ production photography class.

Chanel product photograph



Create high-end food photography

Acquire how to create this shot from get-go to terminate.

1. Pre-visualisation

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Pre-visualisation is an important function of the photographic process.

Pre-visualisation is one of the most important stages of any shoot. This allows you to programme everything from composition to lighting, likewise identify the challenges you can wait to face and determine how to overcome them.

For this particular shoot, we knew we wanted to have tea exploding out of the loving cup with a milk jug from above pouring milk. To achieve this, we had to think about how nosotros were going to have the ‘exploding’ tea while at the same time the controlled milk cascade. I knew information technology would be a composite shot (although I wanted to keep that to a maximum of only 3 shots), but I still needed to be able to go each chemical element correct. Creating a simple sketch oft helps with the planning as it allows you to more conspicuously visualise the final shot and understand your composition and lighting.

two. Preparation

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Preparing the cup for shooting.

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Styling the shot for shooting.

There was a off-white fleck of grooming required for this shot. Having identified a number of challenges in the pre-visualisation phase, I knew we’d need different solutions for each of them if nosotros were to get the final epitome. You can see all the preparation in the
full class, including how we suspended some items while using pressurised air to levitate other items, and also how we modified our cup and base surface to allow us to capture the rising steam and flying tea.

Perhaps the most important thing when it comes to preparation is creative thinking and problem solving. More often than not, shoots require at least some degree of problem solving and, equally photographers, it’s our job to find solutions to the challenges presented. Instead of feeling defeated and writing the idea off, think about ways to overcome each problem. Get creative and call up outside the box. You lot’d be surprised at what you lot may come up up with!

three. Lighting

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Nutrient photography lighting setup.

The lighting setup for the flying tea was fairly straightforward — I used a three light setup, with 2 softboxes on either side and one lite from above. We were going for a soft, yet three dimensional light, but information technology needed to piece of work with every element of the shot — from the cup, to the milk jug to the flying tea itself. To find the all-time lighting, we fixed the cup and milk jug in position while Anna held the tea in position. From there I experimented with the distance and angle of each of the lights to make sure I got the best result.

4. The shoot

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Capturing the fast moving objects.

In one case the lighting was finalised, the shoot itself had to accept place in different stages. To start, we photographed the steam. To practice this, nosotros simply used a kettle and continued shooting until we felt we had some expert options that could work.

Next, we photographed the milk pour. For this, Anna poured the milk into the jug and nosotros captured information technology as it poured into the loving cup.

The tea explosion took slightly more time and we shot a number of images earlier getting the best results. With Anna controlling the levitation of the tea, I was in charge of getting the shot. To make certain there was no motion mistiness, I used a fast flash duration, and to maximise my chances of getting the timing right I used mirror lock-upward.

Tips for photographing floating objects

This shoot incorporated many of the typical challenges associated with photographing floating objects, including how to suspend items, how to freeze motion and how to become the best lighting.

Chanel product photograph


Floating Cosmetics Splash Shot

Create high-end advertising images

Learn how to create a high-end advertising splash shot of a canteen of Chanel moisturising cream.

Portrait by Tom Oldham

A high-stop advertizement prototype of a bottle of Chanel moisturiser.

Suspending items

Depending on what you’re shooting, in that location are a number of different options for suspending items. Because I like to capture my images every bit naturally every bit possible, I more often than not don’t utilise wires or poles to suspend items. If I’m shooting flight liquid, I prefer to actually throw the liquid. If I’m photographing dramatic pigment splashes with models, my models volition undoubtedly take paint thrown on them. Yes information technology can get messy, but the realistic effect you lot’re guaranteed to get is well worth it.

If I exercise have to fix items in position, acrylic rods are my tool of choice because their transparent material allows for light to get through them, and you’ll see me apply these in a number of our classes. These are lightweight and adequately easy to retouch, which makes them like shooting fish in a barrel to handle and suitable for anything from cosmetics to food items.

Acrylic rods are i of my top ten studio accessories for photography.

Read the full list here

Freezing motion

If you’re suspending items, then you generally don’t take to worry most freezing movement because it’s already stationary. However, if, like me, yous’re photographing fast moving liquids or flight foods, so a fast wink duration is essential. I use broncolor lights for this, but speedlites are a not bad option if you’re working with more than budget kit. In many of our ‘Advertising, Product and Withal Life‘ classes yous’ll encounter how I used a combination of studio lights and speedlites to photograph a number of pigment splash images.

Studio portrait using umbrellas


Understanding wink elapsing

The primal to freezing move

Acquire most wink elapsing and the touch on it can take on your images.

Portrait by Tom Oldham


When it comes to lighting floating objects, I’ve already mentioned that fast flash may come in handy. Simply the other thing to consider is the lighting on your production/subject field. If you lot’re comping together a number of images, it’s imperative that your lighting remains the aforementioned. Brand sure to take your lighting equally fixed as possible once you’ve found a setup that works all-time for the overall shot.

At times, different items in your image may require carve up lighting. That’s when it’s important to remember things like the management of the light, the shadows and hardness or softness. Even the smallest inconsistencies can take a negative impact, so make sure to call back about each function of the shot (this is why pre-visualisation and planning are so important).


Photographing flying objects, although tricky, can be great fun. Keep in heed the above points and yous’ll be well prepared for your next shoot. Think, yous can see the start-to-finish flying tea shoot in our food photography course (or
watch information technology here) to see each of the above points put into practice. There are likewise a number of other courses throughout our
product photography section
that yous may find useful and inspiring. Now, the only trouble left to solve — what thought will y’all try to bring to life?

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To larn more nearly the concepts covered in this commodity, make sure to take a look at some of our photography classes, where you’ll larn everything from production photography styling, to freezing movement with fast flash.


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