Do you want to have great fun and make a complete mes of your studio?

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To shoot with flour and other powders you have to be prepared to make a real mess of studio. Expect the powder to travel much further than you think, into all the corners of the space - no matter how big it is!

Get all your equipment covered, or it will get into all the nooks and crannies and you'll never get it out.

You can use different kinds of powder. Regular flour is an obvious starting point. This gives quite a good cloud effect, though you will always get larger lumps in it (I suppose you could sieve it).

Milk powder is good; it has a heavier weight to it and a sort of gritty look to it that flour doesn't have.

Talcum powder or baby powder is probably my favourite. It has a soft delicate flow to it and doesn't really form lumps.

Of course you can mix powders together to get the best of both worlds. In these shots I've used a combination of flour and talcum powder. Flour gives a bit of heft and weight so that it can be thrown around and the talcum powder gives the looser "cloudier" look.

Incidentally, you can drop powders in front of a fan for an instant smoke effect. A regular smoke machine will fill your studio with smoke so you have a limited shooting time. Powder "smoke" instead pretty much falls to the floor straight away so doesn't fog out your studio.

Just like smoke the powders need a good back light to make them show up well.

In the first shot Kirsty is holding powder in her hands, as she spins she releases the powder. Although you will be fascinated by the powder flow, check the expression on the face is good too.

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The second image has the model holding powder in her hands, but we have also left a layer of powder along her arms.

So as she flings her arms upwards we get both the release from the hands but also a trail from the whole arm - giving the "wings" effect.

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In our last image the arms have been liberally covered in powder then the model spins releasing the powder.

Controlling the spin is important. Firstly setup the final position, then track the model back to a start position - which may be an awkward shape. Apply the powder then get the model to swing back to the first position again.

The swing has to be very fast and the model has to stop the swing very quickly. This makes the powder really flare out.


key points

Wrap everything well before starting. You could of course shoot outside at night.

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