How to Set Up for a Powder Photography Session

Inspired by the work of Thomas David, Arizona based photographer Edward Brice, decided to try his hand at powder photographer. This behind the scenes look at how Brice went about capturing his own powder shots sheds some light onto the process, should you decide to try it for yourself. Just be aware, your studio might will get a bit a messy:

Photographing a dancer covered in powder introduces a new dynamic into the lighting setup since you will have to be sure that both, the dancer and the powder, are lit properly. To do accomplish this, he used 3 580EX II strobes that were synced via Pocket Wizards to his Canon 5D Mark III. Two of the strobes were placed inside gridded softboxes and placed behind the subject. The third strobe was setup inside a gridded octodome and was placed in front of the subject. After some trial and error, he discovered it’s best to keep the key light powered down.


To get the powder just right, be sure to cover the model’s hair as well as putting some on her body. It’s also worth noting that he used unbleached flour, not powder. His attempt at using cocoa powder failed after the model’s sweat mixed with cocoa and turned to a chocolatey mess.

studio photographylighting

Grey used a black sheet at the backdrop initially, but after adding a roll of seamless paper he decided the black sheet was unnecessary. Just in case you’re going to try this at home, be sure to follow his lead and lay down plenty of drop cloths to aid in the clean up.

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4 responses to “How to Set Up for a Powder Photography Session”

  1. BigD says:

    Wow. This is just BAD.

  2. Hope I get a chance to try this some day. It’s awesome. I assume you mean “unbleached flour”, not flower:}

  3. Marie Louise Williams says:

    What a magnificent concept. I’d love to learn how to do a shoot with the lighting and the powder… Wow ! ! . . I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II. . . Thankss for sharing…

  4. mike penney says:

    WOW… $1800 worth of unreliable weak battery powered popguns for lights. Why are all you people buying these things? You are wasting your money. For the same money you could have real electronic flashes.

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