Although not all of us could afford to fly to India to experience the Holi Festival, where the locals throw Holi powder or color powder into the air, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have a chance at capturing brilliant powder photography. Below are some practical tips when shooting a powder photo shoot. You just need your friends or family and a bag of color powder and you’re good to go.
Toss or Shake
You can’t just toss the powder and then shoot simultaneously, especially since tossing powder from behind the person you’re shooting is excellent to get that smoky, billowy outline, while tossing head-on could mask your subject and suffocate him or her. Instead, have someone else use a dustpan or something similar for tossing the powder and getting that scattered effect. You could also cover your subject before shooting and then have her shake and move as you take photos.
Go with a Dark Background
A dark background will be better for highlighting the powder effects than a light one. However, it’s also perfectly fine to use a light backdrop — a dark background is just more dramatic — but again, this is a matter of preference.
Lights, Camera, Action!
If you’re shooting in a studio, use lights behind and a flash in front of your subject so that you could capture all those colors. If you don’t have access to lights, just make sure there’s another light source behind your subject, such as against a wall that lets in natural lighting.
Fast Shutter Speed
This is crucial for action shots and you’ll clearly see the difference when you throw all that powder in the air. The shutter speed controls the length of time it takes to take a picture and a fast speed won’t provide moving objects time to get blurry. Put simply, you could freeze the frame and capture all the powder grains’ action.
Some important reminders: make sure that your subjects are on board with colored powder being used in the shoot, most especially if there are children. Ensure that they close their mouths (yours too!) and just have fun!