Holi is the most famous festival of India. On this day people toss colors on each other and have fun. During this festival, people look beautiful when they have different shades of bright colors on their faces and clothes. Most of you can’t go to India that day and shoot those colorful people. Why not we create the same in our studio and click some amazing colored powder photos.
What do you need?
First, we need holi colors and you can find these colors in your local market. If you can’t find it in your area, don’t worry. You can easily make these colors at your home. All you need is cornstarch, food colors, some bowls to mix colors and gloves. Add around 100 grams cornstarch in a bowl and add 10-12 drops of food color in it. Mix it properly and let it dry for a few hours. Make sure you wear gloves while doing this or you’ll end up with color stains on your hands. If you want bright colors, add more food colors in that.
Prepare a few shades of powder. If you plan to shoot it outdoor, you need only a camera but if you are planning to shoot indoor, you need at least two flashes, one for lighting the model and one for lighting the colored powder from the backside. If you can put two flashes at the backside, you’ll get a better picture.
You need an assistant as well because you can’t throw the powder and click at the same time. Again if you can find two assistant, it would be better as they can throw the colors from both sides and you’ll get a better picture. You also need to cover the camera and flashes properly with a plastic sheet so it’ll be safe from the colors.
How to shoot?
Make sure you model know about the shoot and ready for it, don’t surprise her by telling her at the last moment. We have three ways to do this shoot.
1. Your assistant throws the colors on the model: In this method, you’ll have an assistant to throw the colors and you take the shot. Have your model ready to pose and instruct your assistant to throw colors at the back side of the model. If you have two assistant and they are throwing colors from both sides, make sure front assistant throw the color below the neck of the model.
Never throw colors on model’s face, it may go in her mouth and eyes. Although the color is non-toxic but if it’s go in her eyes, she may have red eyes.
Put some different colors on your model’s face and clothes before starting the shoot. Now pose your model and make sure you have one main light for the model and one or two lights at the back for colors. You can have any color background but black background enhance the shades of colors and they look more vibrant.
So your background, lights, model and assistants are ready. Now assistant will through the colors and you’ll click the picture. You can set your camera on burst mode have multiple shots so you can choose the best one later on.
2. Model throws the colors: In this method, you don’t need an assistant. Your model will have colors in her hands and she will toss the colors while making dancing poses. This method is easy compare to the first method and lighting will be the same. For this method, choose a professional model that can make dancing poses.
3. Cover you model in colors and let her moves her body: In this method again you need a professional model or someone who is perfect in dance poses. Put colors on her and ask her to jump and make a pose.
You can ask your model to keep her face down and toss some colors on her hairs. When she moved her face up, colors will spread from her hairs and you can take the shot. You may use this technique with your pets too.
Colored powder photography without colors
So this is how you can take colored powder photography. Now I am going to share one more method that doesn’t require colored powder. Use regular flour to click the shoot and make it colored in post-processing.
Shoot the image using flour and open it in Photoshop®. If you don’t have Photoshop®, you can download a trial version from their site. Make a new layer on top of your photo. Now select “Gradient tool” and select a colorful gradient preset from the palette. Add gradient on the new layer and change its blend mode to “Multiply” and reduce the opacity of this layer to 80%.
Now you’ll have the whole picture colored but you want only a specific area colored so add a mask on color layer and paint black to the area where you don’t want colors.
I hope this guide gave you enough knowledge to do colored powder photography, let’s start and share your results here.
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About the Author
Ramakant Sharda is an author, iOS App publisher, passionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.