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One Flash Splash Photography

Lesson 6 of 11

Basic White Background – Part 2

Gavin Hoey

One Flash Splash Photography

Gavin Hoey

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Lesson Info

6. Basic White Background – Part 2
Take the knowledge learned from the previous session and apply it in a practical way to create some amazing splash photos.

Lesson Info

Basic White Background – Part 2

taking what we learned in the last lesson. I'm going to take some pictures using this exact setup as before I'm going to manually focus, I'm gonna manually focus on the middle of the glass, the stem of the glass like that. That's great. So we never miss a shot with hunting for focus. Take a test shot. You never have too many test shots and make sure that that looks okay. I've gone with a vertical format shot because I need room for the splash to come up. Now this is a different glass the last time the shape and the pattern of the splash will be different with this sort of fluted pyramid shape. I'm hoping that we'll get an interesting shape of water coming out the top. That's the idea. Let's get a little drip in here and see how we go. Well they've got covered in water so that's probably a good sign. Yeah, that's completely different. That looks fantastic. Let's just get the fork at that out. Now the glass did move every time I do this it's going to move so I need to make sure that I ei...

ther position it correctly or at least in roughly the same position and always double check focus between shots. Okay, let's try that again. Here we go. Yeah. Whoa. I mean literally I got soaked. That's amazing, fantastic amount. And it's off. I think the room slope slightly to the side we've just discovered uh brilliant. Absolutely wonderful. Right, okay, let's dry this off with the squeegee. Yeah. Trying to retain as much of the water as I can so we can use it again. Mm Water doesn't come out of taps, you know? Well it does come out of taps but colored water doesn't come out of taps and we'll try again. So upon that there will get the ice cube out. Mm Well, but I'll just dry the bottom of the glass as well. Yeah. Clearly this glass has a mind of its own when it gets wet. Of course you don't have to stick to upright format in this case I tried a wide landscape format and I think it actually suits this glass rather well. I wish I'd done a few more like this because of the shape of the glass. This fluted shape when I dropped the ice cube in the splash didn't go anywhere near as high as some of the other glasses. It didn't really go much above the surface of the glass, but it looks fantastic. And of course why stop there? Why not take the same idea and mix it up in this case. Red, green and blue colored waters. Same lighting the same setup. Just needed a bit of an assistance from SAM and a bit of careful timing. Okay, ready. Okay. You can't Uh huh You've changed the system now, we're going 123 way. Of course the whole idea is to get the images as close as possible in camera to what you want. But the reality is is always going to be a little bit of post processing to do and it can be something as simple as cropping an image. So on this one for example, there's a little bit down the bottom where I've just got a little bit of the edge of the tile. Now I'd rather crop into an image given the choice than crop out and you can see here that it's getting a little bit tight. In fact, I've just nicked the edge of that splash just there because you can't predict whether splashes are going to go. So these things happen, luckily for me, I happen to be using a micro four thirds camera and photographing in two by three standard photography ratio, which means if I go get my crop tool, I can do a couple of things. First of all. Obviously I could lose the bottom, but also I can also change this to uh well just take away the crop really because Micro 4/3 cameras have a four x three ratio of sensor, which means I actually get bonus bits top and bottom or side by side so I can actually crop the bottom and look at that. I got this bonus but at the edge that I can actually sort of keep and yeah, it's no longer lost on the side, so that's kind of handy for me. One other thing to watch as well, what I'm here on the crop tool is the straighten tool. This is a really useful tool. You can see that my, the floor wasn't quite even or something isn't quite right in the place we were photographing. There is definitely a bit of a wonky thing going on there. So I'm just gonna get the straighten tool, click on one end, drag, let go when I've straightened things up and that'll straighten my image up. It'll need re cropping afterwards. Okay, so that's pretty good. I'm happy with that. Next thing we're gonna do is the color. So we haven't really spoken about color. The color on this is fine. There's nothing wrong with the color at all. It looks perfectly okay. In fact, it looks quite accurate. If I wanted to be more accurate, I could do a proper gray card or I could use the white balance tour and click on the background, which we know should be a sort of gray, something like that. But the right color isn't always the right color. In fact, what I can actually do with the colors here is take the temperature and move it towards the blue end of the scale. Now I like doing this with these flash photos because it gives this great black, grey background and black tile, a bit of a colorful field that it didn't really have and blue fits in with the whole water theme. Now that will affect the reds in the picture. So I could get something like the color mixer, choose the saturation of the option and get the targeted adjustment tool and just sort of click on a red part of this and tweak the reds up and down and you can see as I drag left and right, my reds become more intense or less intense and you can see as I do, it moves the red slider and also a little bit the orange slider because that's the color I clicked on so that now looks a little bit more colorful. It kind of fits in a little bit better. There are a few other things I'd like to look at. So let's go back to the basic option here. Let's just zoom in a little bit and have a look at. For example, this area here, this is very close to the hotspot and as a result it's a little bit burnt out in a little bit lacking in contrast. So I'm going to fix this area is a similar thing going on down the bottom of the glass here. I'm gonna fix these areas by using a local adjustment brush and there are a raft of tools that we could use to make this work. You might want to try contrast or blacks, but I go to one is just D Hayes, it's going to pop some D hes in here because it looks a little bit hazy. So let's try about 30. I'll make my brush bigger using the right square bracket on the keyboard and just a few clicks and you can just see how that just lifts that up a little bit. I'm not looking for, you know, really deep blacks because you need to get some reality in here. But I'm just looking to lift these areas a little bit and have a little look around and yeah, there's another bit. There could just do a little bit more richness in the blacks. There we go. And so on. Okay. Just less is more sometimes and I think that is about right. So I'm kind of happy with that. One thing I'm not going to do on every single photo, but trust me, it is something I do on every single photo. It's always come down to the detail and add in some noise reduction because shooting in raw, there's no noise reduction applied a standard, so that looks a lot better. So there we go, that's cleaned up this image and now that looks really good. Of course, once you've done this, once you might want to repeat the same thing on other photos, for example, the splash photos here, so same set up different object, but exactly the same lighting. I'm actually gonna come to the three little spots here and choose to apply the previous settings. So that will put the exact same settings that I use before. Now I'm in Photoshop camera Raw if you're doing exactly the same in light room, because light room and Photoshop camera Raw are basically the same thing. There are a few differences and one of them is when you apply the previous settings in light room, it also apply the previous local adjustments. It won't do that in Photoshop, it only does the things you've sort of dialed in here. It will do for example noise reduction, it will do the cropping but it won't do the adjustment brush that I applied earlier. So if I want to do the adjustment brush for example around there, then I need to go and do that manually myself. Okay, so that's done. That's open that up because there's one more thing that you need to watch out for and it is kind of something specific to plastic glassware and if I go have a close look, let's just zoom in a little bit on here. You'll notice there is a line on this red glass that's a little close. Let's try that again. There is a line on this red glass runs down here. There is another line on the blue glass and there's a green one another and there's one of the blue. So this is where the two halves of the plastic glasses are joined together because that's how they make plastic glassware. And of course if I was paying more attention and not having so much fun, I'd have made sure that the joins were at the edges where I couldn't see them. I didn't so I just need to clone those out. That's a big sweeping statement. Just clone them out because actually not quite as simple as that. The first thing to do is always make a new layer. Always do it on a new layer whenever you can because that gives you a little bit of non destructiveness. So let's call this clone. And then I'm going to use either the clone stamp tool or the healing brush whichever way you want to do it. You can try the clone stamp tool that's always the easiest one to start with. The way it works is you hold the key or the option key. You click an area that is okay. And then you just paint over the top and you hope that Photoshop will do a good job matching it up and by and large it does it's not perfect and you have to give it a nudge in a clue. Every and it's not it's not great. So we'll come back to that area in a minute. But other areas it's okay. It's not bad. Go back over that bit. Obviously I'm not gonna do the whole thing because you really don't want to sit here watch me cloning. It's not the most exciting job but it is quite essential. So when the clone stamp tool, when the healing brush doesn't work, that's when you reach for the clone stamp tool because this will literally take pixels and clone them precisely where the healing brush will try to make them up. It will try to give an an artistic interpretation of what it thinks should have been there. And although it's quite good, complicated stuff like splash is that just don't have simple, easy to repeat looks, it can get a little bit lost and confused. So sometimes the good old fashioned cloning tool is the right tool for the job. Okay. And there you go. You can imagine the rest of those done and there we are. That is another set of pictures finished.

Class Description


  • Capture the hidden beauty and random nature of splashing water.

  • Use a single flash to light shots with both black, and white backgrounds.

  • Find creative ways to combine everyday objects and water.

  • Understand how to enhance splash images in Photoshop.


Photographers are often looking to capture images that are dynamic, exciting, and most importantly unique. If that sounds like you, then this class opens the door to creating eye-catching photos that will never, EVER be the same twice. Best of all you won’t have to leave home to find them and you probably already own everything you need to get started.

Splash photography is the art of taking something as mundane as water pouring from a glass bottle and turning it into an image that’s packed full of stunning detail. Water turns to glass, tiny droplets appear frozen in the air and if it’s done well, the closer you look at a splash photo, the more detail you’ll see.

This class takes Gavin’s years of experience photographing splashes and condenses them down into easy-to-digest segments. Starting with his essential gear, props, and backgrounds, Gavin will help you take your first splash photo. He’ll then grow that knowledge, improve the basic technique, and show you how it can develop into some amazing and colorful splash imagery.


  • Any photographer who’s looking for an exciting and fun photography challenge

  • Students, teachers and photographers who have a water-themed project in mind

  • Photographers who love simple, graphic images that are packed with fine detail

  • Everyone who is big on creativity but limited with gear


Adobe Photoshop CC 2021

Adobe Camera RAW


Gavin Hoey is a freelance photographer, Olympus UK ambassador, and trainer of all things photographic. Primarily focusing on photography education, Gavin was an early YouTube adopter and created a popular photography training channel before joining forces with Adorama in 2012. He’s now the most-watched presenter on AdoramaTV where his videos focus on the art of lighting and portraits. Gavin is still creating at least one video tutorial for AdoramaTV every other week and the channel has grown to 1 million subscribers.

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JPG Files

Photoshop Action – Instant Triptych

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