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Choosing The Right Splash Images

Lesson 18 from: Capturing Food in Motion

Steve Hansen

Choosing The Right Splash Images

Lesson 18 from: Capturing Food in Motion

Steve Hansen

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Lesson Info

18. Choosing The Right Splash Images

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of the lesson is capturing food in motion and choosing the right splash images for post-production.


  1. What is the purpose of retouching during the shoot?

    The purpose of retouching during the shoot is to show the client the files they will be selecting as finals and to create a quick mock-up for the client to see where the components of the final image will go.

  2. How do the instructor and Jack work together in Photoshop?

    The instructor and Jack have different Photoshop techniques, with the instructor relying on Jack's proficiency in different tools. They work together because their styles complement each other.

  3. How do they organize their images in Photoshop?

    They organize their images by creating layers, starting with the baseplate (empty shot), followed by the hero image, and then additional images that will be blended in.

  4. Why is it important to get the exposure right in camera?

    It is important to get the exposure right in camera because making extreme adjustments in post-production can lead to discrepancies in exposure among images.

  5. What is the plan for combining the selected images in Photoshop?

    The plan is to use the upper-right image as the hero image, flip the upper-middle image to create continuity, and attach it to the right. They will also add the lower-left splash image, but it might need to be adjusted in terms of placement.

  6. What file format do they use for exporting the images from Capture One to Photoshop?

    They export the images as 8-bit TIFF files for post-production in Photoshop.

Lesson Info

Choosing The Right Splash Images

So now we're going to be doing the post-production for our splash image and our crash image. We're gonna start with the splash image. And I kinda wanna go over how this happens in real life on a real set. So this doesn't happen, Jack will be doing a little bit of retouching during the shoot, he'll be in charge of showing the clients files that they're gonna select as far as finals go. Then he will assemble the finals that we need to create the mock-up or the actual final, but he'll do a quick mock-up for the client as to where the pieces of the components are gonna go. We almost always shoot in pieces, even in this splash image, I don't know if we can be locked on, we are locked on to the computer right on the monitor, okay. So in this image, it's almost there, but we're gonna take it all the way, and that's just a matter of taking the pieces that we know we want to composite and blending them in. Now Jack and I have very different Photoshop techniques, to say the least, he's very prof...

icient in a lot of the different tools, and I have a good mastery of a lot of different tools, but it takes me much longer and I'm much more about sort of these broad brush strokes, I don't do a lot of cut-outs unless I have to, and I can, but I'm a little bit slower on it. So Jack is really the guy I go to, and I turn into sort of the backseat Photoshopper, I'm really obnoxious like that. I'll actually just back off a little bit in my chair and I'll just look over his shoulder (audience laughs) and I just kinda go, yeah, yeah, no. (laughs) So and I can do all this, I just happen to be slower. You can't be a master of everything. And Photoshop's one of those things where you can learn all your life and never quite truly master it. So I'm good at what I'm good at, but it's limited. So we tend to work together 'cause our styles complement one another. So I'm gonna have Jack go through and kinda select, we're gonna look at these images, and we're just gonna go through like we do in real life. We're gonna go through and select each image that we want to have in the composite. We're gonna look for the baseplate, which is the empty shot with nothing in it, and then we're gonna go and we're gonna look at the image that captures the essence of what we're trying to capture in one shot. And then we're gonna go through and look for pieces in other images that we can add to the composite. So as far as, right now let's go and select. So, here's our baseplate, and while we were shooting, I made sure to color tag everything as we went. So we've got, you know our baseplate image is we actually took two, but the second one here we took partway through, it gets us, it's a little better on the lighting, but we've got all of these splashes on the background, so it ends up not really being usable. So we've got this, little dark, we'll just go in and turn it up and now because we had tweaked the lighting partway through, now this matches what our new lighting ended up being. So we've got our baseplate here. Yeah, we'll have to tweak that again, because it's important that, one of the reasons I used some of the nicer strobes is that the exposure and color temperature of the flash is consistent at these shorter flash durations, whereas some of the cheaper flashes go all over the place. And so when you composite, so we have the luxury of the bron color stuff, which gives you really usable layers, but we'll have to go, you know when every time you adjust a backplate or have to adjust any of the images in the exposure, we'll have to go back and probably do a curve or something to get it back to where we want. So now we've got that figured out and now we can look through all of our, sort of our primary images. While we were shooting, we would mark out, yeah I like something in this one. And now we've got these and can figure out from that and from the retouch notes we put together as we were going that sort of say the base image we liked while shooting I tagged as yellow and everything else that I liked that we might want to use was tagged as red. So now that we're back into retouch mode, we can easily look at this and see what it is on here that we're gonna wanna work with. So here's the unique thing about this. When we get done, there's gonna be an image that we're gonna create in my mind for a client, but to be honest, if you wanna select that one there, and get it large, this is the one that's going in my portfolio, I already know it. I'm just gonna, I'm basically gonna turn this into a panoramic image and be done. I'll do retouching, I'll do color correction. This is the one I like, I think it's really cool. But this isn't where we're going. It doesn't have enough splash for the commercial aspect that we're going for. It doesn't have a lot of, I love an S curve in an image and it doesn't have as much drama, but as a panoramic image, this is really neat. So this will be one of the shots. I'm actually gonna let you know now, beyond this lime, I'm not going to be taking anything from this image. Right, so I just retagged that image as blue, so that I know, you know, we're not going to be pulling from it except maybe the lime if we need it, but that Steve, when he comes back to these shots later, knows okay, this one's blue, that means it's a great portfolio shot. Yeah, and so the lime, basically what I'm looking for when I'm working with additional images that are not the hero image, I want separation of things. That's why I threw everything out and tried to separate it in that final shot, I want things that aren't touching each other so I can cut them out. When there's a huge clump like this, you can't extract elements as well, 'cause they're always being affected by their neighboring things. So you want to be aware of that when you're shooting for extras, this is basically a worthless plate to me, except for portfolio work. So we're gonna start with the baseplate. Let's look at this one right here. What do we think we can get from that? Probably not a whole lot, right, 'cause we're looking for that. So yeah, we've got other images that are coming out of the pot that we liked more for that part, and since this basically comes out of the pot and straight out of frame, there's maybe not so much that we can get from it. Now if you look at this, the reason I liked this as an additional, I would love to move this to the right, but if you try and cut this out, you'll be doing it for weeks. There are methods, especially when you have a gray background to kinda drop that out, but there isn't a lot of contrast going on here where the edge is obviously defined, so you're gonna have some work ahead if you actually wanna cut this out and move it and have it be believable, it's really gonna be difficult. So this isn't as useful to us, except for maybe some of the drips on the upper right, I might keep it around for that, if you think it. Right, yeah. So let's keep it around for those drips on the right hand side. Just a quick clarification for folks who might be new, you were tethering to Capture One, are you still in Capture One? Yeah, we tethered to Capture One, we like it. Occasionally I will take those images, if I'm on my own, and I will bring them into Lightroom 'cause I love the editing features, I'm used to that in Lightroom, the color is, I love the way that Capture One handles color. I don't, I tend to work a lot faster in a more meaningful, in a quicker way 'cause you can export to Photoshop, bring them back in really easily. You can do a similar thing with Capture One and Jack'll show you how to do that. We're using Capture One, and then we're gonna go into Photoshop and then back into, we're gonna create final, deliverable files through Photoshop. Thank you. Yeah. So yeah we'll circle, we'll circle it. So we'll remember that 84 is one that we may want to pull the top right splash from. And when we get into Photoshop, these are all gonna be layers, and so we're gonna organize the layers by the background with nothing in it, and then above that we're gonna have the hero image, and then everything above that is gonna be, you know, Jack might work in a different way, but typically I put everything above that will be the additional files that I'm gonna blend in in some manner. You can put 'em below, but you just have to have some level of organization. You can put them into folders in your files. How many of you are pretty experienced in Photoshop? What's your experience level? How many of you know, have done anything in Photoshop, and at least have a basic? So we're all kinda there, we're all getting there. I think people have come a long way in general, just of their use of Photoshop and an understanding of it, it's a really crucial tool that we use. So let's keep that, and then we'll go. So this was the one during the shoot that you said that we like for This is our hero, yeah. Our hero, yeah. I like this one 'cause I like everything about it from the pot to the middle of the frame, everything beyond the middle of the frame I want to start to work on a little bit and add stuff to, and I think we have the material to do that. So let's go, let's select that as our hero, for sure. So then this is another one. That one's nice except for that lobster, that lobster's just so bizarre. (chuckles) Now go back between the two, 'cause it's important to see these side by side so you can just flip back and forth really fast and get people sick. This doesn't have, if you do that, you'll see it doesn't have much more to offer. When you select a new image to overlay, it has to have something to offer. This one is really nice too, and it doesn't have as much to offer, so I feel like I wouldn't, we already have splashes that we have of them they were left. I would keep this, I would actually import this, but I wouldn't make it a priority. And you can actually organize, if you're really into organization you can organize your file by importance or by something or by liquid splashes. When you're working alone, you already know, you just kinda know as you're shooting what you're gonna do while you're shooting so you can just go in and do it. But we're gonna start with this image. We're gonna bring the splash in. So let's go through every image that we took that's of value and we'll see if we wanna. Here's this one. We're not gonna keep that, nothing. This is why you have to shoot so many pieces, 'cause a lot of your splashes will start to look similar and they'll overlay identically. So that one again is pretty much upper left. Let's take this and we'll flip it to show people that you could potentially do that. So we'll use this one, we'll flip it and see if it works. So then, you know, we've got this one, I think is the other one that we haven't really looked at. Is this the one that I like the splash of it? Yeah, yeah. We'll bring that in. So we've got this with our individual pieces. That's going no matter what. Which we drop in, yeah. And then we've got these additional splashes. That's going, we'll take those two. Not that one, it's too, it's going down too much. Right, cool, so yeah, so we've sorta figured out here what we'll be combining all eight of these images in some form or another and building off of this one. Here's something that I noticed. It's really important to get your exposure and everything right on the money to begin with, because I tend to not make this is especially true in Lightroom, I'm not sure about Capture One, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but when you do any color correction besides just white balance, when you start to go in and change the exposure to any level, especially in the extremes, they start to not match up at the same settings I've noticed. I don't know if you've noticed this, but in Lightroom, when you have a bunch of images and you do anything to it that's even remotely extreme and you sync them, and then stack them in Photoshop, there'll be exposure differences that you notice. 'Cause for some reason it just handles it slightly differently, this could just be me, I could be going crazy. But I feel like you want to go in to Photoshop with neutral images and because you have so much power when you're shooting raw to change white balance and to change things until you go into, once you start working in Photoshop, you're getting a little bit more and more destructive, not too much, but you at least want to have everything looking as good as it can without doing too much to the saturation or exposure, 'cause you will start to run into discrepancies, in my experience. Yeah. What I'd like to do is maybe select the ones that we're gonna bring into Photoshop and then do a side by side comparison. I think this is what you have here, is that correct? Yeah, this is all the stuff we want to bring into Photoshop. Okay, so here is where you can really see how much, what you caught and if it's gonna work, and if they will stitch. So what our plan is is if you see the image in the upper right, that's gonna be our hero, and the, what we're gonna do is because a lot of these images are very similar, what we're gonna do is actually use the one in the upper middle, flip it, because we are using cross lighting, and we have the luxury. We have the luxury of doing just a flip, because the lighting was very similar to the right as it was on the left. Now where you get into trouble with that is it wasn't exactly the same, so your background is gonna be slightly darker on the right than the left, so when you do, I do really soft blending, as far as my layers go, it's much more, I think it's more natural looking and it saves a little bit of time if you did it right in camera, so give it a really soft brush and just use a layer mask and just sort of softly brush out what you have, and use a hard edge where it's connecting and to attach it. But we'll show you that once we get into Photoshop, but just visually speaking, we're gonna take the upper right image and then the upper middle image we're gonna flip and then attach it as if it were going off and curtailing to the right. And then we're gonna add the lower left splash image coming out of the, I think we might have to move that and it'll actually have to come out here, we might not even use it at all 'cause it's so far to the left. And I don't know that we really need a lot of the splashes, but I'd bring that in too, just for. Right, we'll bring it in to Photoshop, so. So I've already gone through and exported all of these so we don't have to sit and wait, but what we would be doing in Capture One is pulling into our processing tab and we just process stuff out as a simple, you know, eight or 16 bit tif, depending on what we're working on, 16 bits are a lot bigger. They're huge. So they slow everything down. So for today, we're just using eight bit tifs. So we've gotten those exported, so we're gonna pull them into Photoshop.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Food In Motion Lighting Setups

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Capturing Food In Motion Gear List

Ratings and Reviews


This course is so fun to watch! I love how hands-on this course is even while watching it 3000 miles away on the other side of the country. I love how Steve Hansen is like a mad scientist just throwing food everywhere just to capture the "right moment". It's great to watch a professional at work especially the behind-the-scenes that we normally won't ever know just by look at the final product. It's amazing how much work goes into this and actually gets me excited to try my hands on capturing food in motion as well - first need to find a place that allows me to get it messy :D I do prefer this type of course set up than the lecture-style some of the other courses are.

Christy cwood56

This course will NOT disappoint! So much quality info that can really help a photographer move to the next level. To see the actual shoots with food flying everywhere and how to capture all of it and turn it into an incredibly stunning image is worth every penny of the price tag. To spend an afternoon with Steve on a one to one basis would cost more than most of us could afford but that is exactly what this class offers! We see into the mind of an incredible artist and his creative process. This class has been invaluable to my personal education as a photographer. There is so much here and I will continually come back to it again and again to learn and refine my techniques and images. You opened up a world of possibilities to me with this class! Thanks Steve!!!

a Creativelive Student

I attended this class in person and I found it to be wonderful. Steve is awesome at what he does and he is great at explaining what he is doing and why he is doing it. This course will lay out all the steps needed to help you create awesome splash and crash photography. I highly recommend it.

Student Work