Visual Content Creation

Raid your pantry to add drama and atmosphere to your next photo using flour

Post by
Chrizelle Monique Sta. Cruz
Raid your pantry to add drama and atmosphere to your next photo using flour

We’ve been raiding our homes to find the perfect photography prop for our next creative shoot and this time we've headed straight to the pantry. You'll be amazed at what you can create with household staples such as flour!

Talented creator Katya Ozler worked her creative magic on this fun project to show us how to create billowing plumes of flour suspended in the air.

Drawing inspiration from Renaissance artist Michaelangelo’s iconic masterpiece The Creation of Adam, Katya wanted to flour to create a textured sky behind her subject.

We’ll run you through Katya’s workflow as she shows us how to achieve an impactful flour cloud using simple materials you should already have on hand in your own home.

Materials used:

Preparing the props

Fake Ice cream

Photographing ice cream before it melts can be a real challenge! A simple solution is to make your own replica that’s made to last on set.

To create fake ice cream, mix cornstarch with hair conditioner until you achieve the right consistency. Once the texture feels right, add food colouring to create your desired colour.

Finish it off by using a scoop to place it on a cone and add any decorations you like on top.

Flour pump

To create your flour cloud you'll need a device to make it float in the air. Luckily this part is easy - you’ll only need a balloon pump and a funnel made from paper glued to the end.

By placing a small amount flour inside your funnel you'll be able to push air through the pump and propel the flour into the air.

Creating the levitation effect

To give your subjects the appearance of hovering in mid-air you'll need to find some creative ways to suspend them. This method uses a series of skewers pegged into a dishwasher rack. You can use any type of rack or stand clamped to your table.

Poke your skewers into the food to secure them and then attach the other end to the stand using a clamp or hold with a magic arm.

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Setting up the equipment and overall scene

After you have arranged all your subjects and props in a pleasing manner (with space for your flour cloud of course!) you'll want to set up your lighting.

To achieve a dramatic effect, set up a continuous light on the front to fill in the shadows and open up some highlights, and position a flash light slightly back to backlight the flour.

For this tutorial, here is the equipment Katya used:

Camera and background

Lights

Pumping up the flour and taking the shot

Now this is where the magic happens! Creating the perfect flour cloud will likely take a few attempts before you master this technique.

Try pushing air through the flour pump in different directions, snapping as you go, until you get your desired results. You can also experiment with adding different elements to your composition. Katya took a separate shot of the setup with her hand in frame to add to the image afterwards in post-production.

Post-processing

Once you've taken a few shots you can review to decide which one you felt had the best effect - or alternatively create a composite image using two or more photos to get the best finish.

The next step is to edit out all of the sticks to leave your subjects looking like they were levitating in mid-air.

For more details on how to use content-aware fill to remove objects check out our post on how to remove unwanted objects from any background in Photoshop.

The final effect

The billowing flour in the background adds a real sense of drama to this image and contrasts the subjects in front so nicely.

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