Photography IdeasSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2014-06-19 07:47

Steamy shower effect made easy

It's the 3rd Thursday of the month and it's a bank holiday here in good ol' Germany, an awesome day for a new post here on Smoking Strobes.


Water drops, moist and steam can give your photos a very intense feel. Applied to portraits it gives them a "rainy window" look. Applied to whole body shoots it gives them a hot shower style. Plenty of options with an easy setup that you can do in any room, as long as you can hang a bit of black curtain there. In this video from Good Light! Magazine it all comes together.



Lighting Setup

Lighting Diagram for Shower Effect Photo


1. Model, Glycerine spray on body for wet look

2. Black velvet backdrop

3. Luna Octabox with Mitros+, Speedlight on 1/4 power

4. Mitros+ Speedlight on 1/4 power, CTO Gel, Rogue FlashBender Reflector as a gobo

5. Acrylic glass, 150x50 cm, 2 mm thick, sprayed with water

6. Canon 5D MK III, ISO 320, 50 mm, f/4.0 1/200 sec


Good Light! Magazine - Shower Effect Photos

Enjoy the complete article about this shooting in Good Light! Magazine Issue 09.


I wish you good light!


Model: Olga Kaminska


Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript!

Hey, fellow photographer! How's it going? I'm Michael Zelbel.
I would like to show you how to make
hot, sexy shower photos without a shower.
You can shoot such photos
even in your living room if you like to.
Let me walk you through a simple set up
that I have made for those kind of photos.
I started with a simple black curtain as my backdrop.
I positioned the model in front of the curtain,
and I positioned my octabox somewhere camera right
as the main light for my model.
With that set up, I was losing her dark hair
in the dark background and that is why I added a second flash
which was firing right into the background
in order to separate her hair out.
I gelled this flash with a CTO gel, giving it an orange color,
just in order to add some story to the whole scene.
Now that I was okay with the lighting,
I started with the shower effect for that.
I used a piece of acrylic glass,
also called perspex or PMMA or plastic glass.
I used the thinnest, lightest, cheapest acrylic glass
that I could find, 2 millimeters thin, 150 cm tall, 50 cm wide.
Now this is not such a big sheet of glass but it's enough.
It doesn't need to be as tall my model because it's much closer to my lens than the model is.
It just has to be enough to shoot through the glass.
I was using a boom arm to hang the glass on a light stand.
Since the glass has quite some weight,
I used a weight bag on one of the feet of the this lightstand.
I really don't want the whole thing to tip over
at any point in time during the shoot.
I also positioned a cloth underneath the glass,
because I knew I would spray water on it,
and this is what I did.
I sprayed quite some water drops onto the glass
and I had some drops running down and
made it a bit messy so that it looked very interesting.
From this point on the octabox got two jobs.
One job was to be the main light for my model,
the second job is to throw some light into the drops of water
on the glass, because these water drops need a bit of light
in order to appear as water drops.
So position the glass in a way so that some light
of the main light will also hit your glass.
This is very important.
Now for the shoot itself, we started with a lingerie shoot,
which is looking kind of interesting but not very realistic.
Then we went on and took down the straps of her bra,
which made it look more like a shower scene without lingerie
and then finally we sprayed a bit of glycerine
onto the skin of the model, making it appear wet.
But glycerine can be quite cold,
so be careful when you spray it onto your model.
But then it finally looks like a shower.
Some tips, when you do something like that.
You don't want to have your own reflection in the glass,
so wear black clothes which don't reflect.
Then, if you've got strong lights somewhere in the room,
like we have the video lights when shooting the scene,
position them so that they are not mirrored in the glass
so you can't see them on your photo.
The autofocus of your camera might be fooled by the glass
and the drops on it.
If you've got an on-camera speedlight
which doesn't contribute to the exposure
but it's just throwing some autofocus help light onto your model,
that might help. An on-cameras speedlight helps!
A little tip is also to use an adjustable spray bottle
because you want a certain type of water drops for your photo.
You want to experiment a bit until you have something you like.
So if I've got an adjustable spray bottle,
it makes life much more easy.
Then for the posing, try to position her eyes behind
a non-cloudy party of your glass
so that the eyes are really visible on the photo.
The rest of the body can vanish behind messy water drops
especially when you make whole body shoots,
then you probably want to hide
the lower part of her body behind a whole lot of water.
I suggest you try it out, maybe you put your own twist on it.
You don't need orange light. You can try blue light in the background.
You could make her hair wet, making it look even more like a shower scene.
There's many things you can vary. Have fun with it!
And for that I really wish you good light!

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