Flying Tea Food Shoot

In this food photography class Karl and Anna create a flying tea image using a little ingenuity, combined with creativity and knowledge.

You’ll see exactly how they created this explosive image as they walk you through each stage of the planning, preparation and lighting. You’ll learn about problem solving and creative thinking, how to control lighting and why fast flash duration is a must when photographing flying objects.

Course objectives:

  • Learn how to photograph flying food shots
  • See how to use pre-visualisation as part of your planning
  • Demonstrate lighting setups for food photography
  • How to suspend items for photography
  • How to freeze motion using flash

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.


Have you ever had a creative concept for an image but not known how to bring it to life? This is exactly what Karl and Anna found when they set out to create this flying food shot. The answer? Ingenuity and creativity.

Food photography setup and preparation

Photography often requires creativity and problem solving to realise your creative ideas.

Their vision was to create an image of a cup with rose bud tea and sugar cubes exploding out of it and a floating milk jug above, pouring milk. Guided by Karl’s pre-visualisation, the pair were able to identify a number of challenges that they’d have to overcome to get the final result. These included:

  • Create a realistic explosion of rose bud tea,
  • Include sugar cubes to add depth to explosion,
  • Create floating milk jug with pouring milk, and
  • A lighting setup suitable for the cup, milk jug and exploding objects
Flying food shoot

Freezing the fast moving rosebud tea was just one of the challenges Karl and Anna had to overcome.

Together they overcame each of these problems through a combination of DIY, acrylic rods and fast flash duration. The setup, although it looks complicated, required only four lights with simple modifiers. In the end, this shoot proved that it is possible to bring any creative idea to life — all you need is careful planning and the right knowledge.

Flying tea photograph

The final flying tea image.

Comments

  1. Karl

    I only have two Godox light SK300ii, I need a third one for the globe of light in the background and create this beautiful gradient.

    what kind of light or what minimum power requirement should I need to do recreate this gradient of light for backgrounds in general ?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Maria Angelica

    1. Hi Maria, I wouldn’t buy anything less than 300J and you’ll need an approximate 70 degree reflector (usually the standard one)

  2. Very interesting, specially the preparation before the shoot the concept or idea behind the shoot, I love the action (milk pouring , roses flying, sugar cubes..etc) in the photo as well as the delicate touch of the roses and the turkish delight suits next to the cup.

    I was wondering why you chose to blow the roses from the cup instead of throwing them from the top.

    thanks

    Congrats Anna & Karl.

    1. Hi Maria, the natural shape created by them coming out of the cup is much better than them falling. Also shooting them falling would have needed lots of shots to choose and comp from.

  3. As others noted, I really appreciated seeing this from conception to execution. And I’m eager to see the post-processing as well. Thanks for always being instructive and inspirational, Karl.

    I’m morphing from an enthusiast to paid photographer (not nearly a professional yet), with just a couple finished projects so far. I’m grateful to have come across your work, and especially your educational material. I’m keen to try my hand and some more involved projects like this.

  4. Just when you think you have everything you could possibly need, I have to go shopping for a scuba rig!

    Awesome work!

    1. Hi John, if you are interested in that then just so you know your best option would be a smaller more manageable 3L bottle (often used as a back up bottle in diving) and then a connector called a whip. Cheers Karl.

  5. hello, i haven’t seen the video yet, but i wanted to know , how you guys created that illustration of this shot? was that made before the shot or after it, cause it also has lighting effect in it , Thank you so much in advance…. love what you do

    1. Hi, this is something called Pre-visualisation and it’s covered in a lot of our courses. The process of creating the shot is all about solving problems first and figuring out how you are going to make that shot a reality, this is best done by sketching things out to work out your lighting and composition and the position of your objects. And yes the drawing was produced first.

    1. Hi Gaelle, a Stanley one but to be honest I’ve never looked for a special one? I’ve only ever grabbed what’s on the shelf at the DIY store.

  6. Amazing – love how you put these projects together. I read somewhere you used to work with Elinchrom strobes, which is what we have. How do you think their slower flash duration would work on the rosebuds?

    1. Hi Neil, you’d have to check their t0.1 durations. Keep in mind though that you don’t always need to freeze everything, sometimes a little motion blur can actually add to the shot. I actually added some motion blur to three of the buds in photoshop as they all looked too static together.

      1. Thanks Karl,

        Elinchrom quote these at 1/5260 seconds but that of course is at T0.5

        Still feel like giving this a go, particularly as I have a full scuba tank sitting around that needs emptying!

  7. Awesome! Will you please tell me where I can learn about flash duration. I’m not sure if that’s different than shutter speed. I use Paul Buff lights. I don’t believe that’s an option. I can only change intensity of the strobe and model lamp. Additionally, I have watched the technical videos. I do understand aperture and shutter changes in relation to stops but I seem to have missed ISO. When you increase the ISO from 100 to 200, it’s a 1 stop increase? Thank you. This school is changing my work. Oh, and I rented a X1DII last week. AMAZING qualitative shift from my Canon 5D Mark IV.

    1. djl… I have several Paul Buff lights as well. If you have the Einsteins you can get up to 1/13,500 sec. (t.1). They have lots of duration information on their website.

      1. Thanks John! I just want to clarify, the “flash duration” has to do with a setting on the light, not the shutter speed, correct? And I’ll check their website! Also, do you know the answer to the ISO question? Appreciate it!!

          1. I just found that last night! Thanks for your patience. I somehow missed one of the initial sections. Thank you Karl!

        1. djl…

          Yes, “flash duration” has to do with the capabilities of and setting on the light, not the shutter speed. Karl addresses this is great detail throughout several of his videos on this site. I am sure either he or his staff will chime in with a more concise reply when they get time.

          Yes changing ISO from 100 to 200 equals 1-Stop difference?

          1. AWESOME! I REALLY appreciate the reply. Hmm, not sure how I missed the flash duration. I’ll start reviewing. Thanks again!

  8. NICE .. NICE Setup . , But this workshop need really professional gear such as lighting in good time duration , and more things , we need one workshop for who dont have such these level of pro.

    1. Hi Mohafattal, at some point on any photoshoot or anything you need to have the right tools for the job. A dentist, a carpenter, a plumber etc none of them will be able to do their job properly. But there are different level of tools if you think about what you really need. For example in this shoot I was using the very best broncolor lighting but I could have also been using Siros lighting or even Godox lighting but to do this particular job I would have at least needed lighting with a fast flash duration otherwise it would not have been possible to freeze the action in the same way, although it could have still been a pleasing shot. If you watch some of my earlier paint splash product shoots you will see that some of those I managed to achieve with just speed-lites.

  9. Woooowwww!!!! What a show!! I loved the whole thing. The editing made it easier to watch and follow (well done Ben).
    The final shot is superb.

    Cheers from Buenos Aires.

    Jorge.

  10. Quite brilliant! From Anna’s concept to Karl’s rig and lighting design; Tim’s hole cutting expertise (and always his camerawork) and with everyone else chipping in working to make a stunning shot. As I say. Quite brilliant!

  11. That was just out standing set up . lots of info and the final shot was great
    thanks so much to you and your team very well done
    looking forward to photoshop section

Leave a Comment