Shooting Challenge: Color Splash

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A black backdrop. A splash of color. It's a visual that just pops. And you know what? It's super easy to pull off on your own. (Seriously! Push yourself! Try this!)


The Challenge

Capture a splash of color. It can be liquid. It can be powder. It can hit a subject or just fly through the air.

The Technique

I was inspired by the work of Andrew McGibbon—specifically his collection Super Colour. I was curious how he created the shots. And what he said was that the powders/paint shots weren't that hard to create.

"We had one light source (a profoto beauty dish) a black background and then my assistant simply chucked paint at the side of the girls head - presto!"

(Note: to avoid trial and error, know that his shots were taken at f8, 1/200. That f-stop will vary by your light and lens, but you'll want to set your shutter speed to around 1/200 if you want to duplicate the exact mix of blur and definition.)


Now, you may not own that expensive piece of lighting equipment, but any bright, soft, evenly dispersed light will do. (Light kits are pretty cheap to build, especially as you only need a single light rather than a bunch.) And as for the paints/colored powders, no extra color gels are required. Also, if you don't own a black backdrop, you can always try a white sheet/wall instead...just be clean about it.

The Example

Our lead image is from Andrew McGibbon's collection. Again, don't be afraid to try other approaches—miniatures, still life, anything. If you have enough color in motion, whatever you do will be interesting.


The Rules

0. No watermarks. They're so ugly.
1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a native resolution sized shot in email.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, April 29th at 10AM Eastern to with "Splash" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameSplash.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameSplashWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!



My friend earned some crapton of $ doing something that most spam filters or admins would eventually catch, you should try it at [insert dumb-ass url here]. Really. can y'all not moderate for these damn things? or write some bayesian filter or something? or is this not a tech blog?