Liquid emulsion photography – Abstract paint

Is this shot CGI? Is it actually in water? Is it even paint that’s used? The results from this simple technique can be incredible but how can you make a shot like this work? In this chapter Karl talks you through creating this shot from start to finish and explains how patience, practice and good lighting can be key to making these shots successful and really work.


  1. Hi Karl! Hope you’re doing well. I’m having currently a Karlaton or a Tayloraton with all your videos about product photography, trying stuffs and applying your advices at the same time, and I have so many questions about freezing motion with flash in studio. I’m trying to get a nice splash photo and also some paint in a fish tank as well. But i’ll start just with 2 for now 🙂
    I know that Flash duration freezes motion and not the shutter speed, but why then having a shutter speed at 1/500 ? how do you determine how high/low will be the shutter speed when using flash ? is it just about exposure ?

    Second question… if 1 flash (godox ad200) at 1/128, shutter speed at 1/250 and F11 is not enough to freeze a splash (it’s sharp but not perfect and not like I would expect), do you think that buying a second flash (another ad200 or something more powerful like the QT600ii) would help to freeze more the action ? or will it be just the same issue but brighter ?
    Thank you so much for any advice!

    1. Hi Maxine, if you were in a very dark room (no daylight or lightbulbs) doing high speed flash shots and you had the shutter speed at 1/500th or 1/10th it wouldn’t make any difference because all the shutter speed will be doing is cutting out what we call ambient light, that is light that is already existing (daylight or lightbulbs) If you were in a very bright room then a higher shutter speed would be important, not to freeze your subject but simply to cut out the ‘light pollution’ affecting your shot from the daylight, light bulbs, or even modelling lamps! Your second question depends only on what the fastest flash duration your flashes can achieve which should be written in their specifications.

      1. Oh… I think you just made my day and fixed my problem which I was looking for a solution since few days and no one could answer (why my photos are so dark?). But if on my test shot it’s totally black with the shutter speed at 1/10, my photo will be for sure brighter than if I have the shutter speed at 1/250…am i right ? (considering that the flash is always at the same power 1/128). I will give a new try today, and for sure will invest anyway in a new light soon.
        Thank you so much for your quick reply and all your advices. your videos are gold. I’m so happy to pay this subscription 😀

        1. Hi Maxine, thank you. Yes any slower shutter speed has the potential to let more light in from existing light (not from the flash). If you do not have enough flash light then you need to increase the power of the flash.

  2. Hi Karl,

    Enjoying your videos so far. Just wanted to add a note and say if you want the perfect coloured cloud, use acrylic paint, thinned down with some water then injected into the tank.


    1. Thanks Ryan, also another great one is cows cream with printer ink mixed in. Cool it down in the fridge after mixing and then when ready pour it into water for gorgeous puffy clouds of colour.

  3. Hi Karl,

    I love the end result! really nice colour combo! The flash duration of 1/8000s is it at t0.1 or t0.5?

  4. Hi Karl,

    Awesome shots as always, I particularly liked the Champagne bottle. I was thinking of getting a fish-tank, actually making one myself with some help , for various shots but after having seen your videos I had to reconsider the size of the fish-tank. What dimensions (approximately) is the one you are using? Would you say it is a good size or should i make a smaller/larger one?

  5. just overwhelmed by the preparation and the result. loving how you go through ALL the detail to get the shot; priceless education on patience and preparation. Thank you.

  6. hello sir
    i think its been a long time that you did this video and many more ways are there in industry to do this shot with more control over colour its request to please do this video again with new technique so that we could know how that cloud kind of look we could get with colour which people are doing nowdays.

    1. Hi Raman, this technique is still used another way for different results is to mix double cream with a small amount of printer ink and pour into the tank. Chill the cream first.

  7. Hi Karl, I joined your education course yesterday and loving it. I attempted a similar technique a few months ago using fresh cream and food colouring. It’s a lot thicker than milk and not as messy as paint.

    1. Hi David, that method also works well with printer inks (that you buy in bottles) and mix a little with the cream. Cool the cream in the fridge for better coagulation first. Cheers Karl.

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