Powder Shoot

Some time back I got to do a powder shoot, something I’ve fancied doing for a while now. This basically involves finding a willing (or crazy) model and covering her in flour. It’s fun 🙂

However, getting good results is something else though, and I got a lot of images that I binned (plus a few good ones!) so I thought I’d provide a few tips that I learnt while doing it just in case someone might find it useful (and I’m nice like that).


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So, my tips for a successful powder shoot are:

Normal plain flour works well (organic not essential. lol). Buy lots of it

Get an assistant (or two)

Make sure the model knows what you will be doing – she will end up covered in it and it will take ages to get out of her hair. It’s also hard work as you will be asking her to do lots of movement the whole shoot so a fit model is essential.

Make sure the MUA (or someone) has eye drops that can be used to clear the models eyes. Despite your best intentions it will go in her eyes and bloodshot is not a good look.

The more space you have to work in the better. If you want lots of dynamic movement and flour being thrown about then it’s tricky to do that in a small space.

Make sure you have a dark background. It’s all about the patterns the flour creates and it doesn’t show up on a light background

Ideally you want three lights – one at each side and one in front. Low key lighting works best and your front light should be low with just enough light to give some detail on the model. The lights on the sides are used to highlight the actual flour. Lights slightly behind also work.

Take some pictures of the model in the lighting setup before you start throwing flour around assess if she looks how you want her to. Remember she will most likely end up moving around a fair bit.

Try coloured gels for added effects

Depending on how you want it to look don’t forget the floor will end up looking a mess so you may want to clean up regularly

Plan your shots. Start out with those needing less flour and work your way up to throwing bowls of the stuff. That way you don’t need to spend ages cleaning it all off the model.

Don’t forget, the model can throw the flour as well as you throwing it at her. Put it on her limbs so as she moves you get flour trails in the air.


You will probably have to practice throwing the flour. It can be tricky getting the right amount where you want it and getting it to break up so it doesn’t hit the model as a big clump

Working out when to press the shutter is a bit trial and error. You need time for the flour to dissipate a little otherwise it doesn’t look very good. I found that using the camera on a tripod and watching what at was happening directly, rather than through the camera, made it easier to see what was going on.

And now, the most important tip of the lot: Find someone else to clean up!! 😀





Model: Faith Obae

Mua: Emily White

Here’s one that didn’t quite work out 🙂

ian mears photography photographer london powder flour shoot faith obae gone wrong

There is a head in there somewhere!



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