Working with powder in a photoshoot have always intrigued me, especially when it’s used to convey motion. Although I have seen some photos where the powder is thrown at people or thrown by the subject, it’s great to see a more “artistic” approach to its use through dance, and also by covering the dancer with powder so you can see an beautiful explosion.
And of course, you want to make sure you use either a speedlight or a studio strobe that has a very fast T.1 like the Paul Buff Einstein or Profoto 8a systems. The T.1 time “measures the time needed to reach the maximum output for the selected power setting plus the time needed to trail off to a point equal to 10% of that peak” (click here to learn more about flash duration and speedlight vs. strobe). The faster the T.1, the more frozen the powder looks. Most strobes are not capable matching the speedlight’s super-quick T.1 time, so be sure to double check your strobes to the Einstein as reference.
Photographer Thomas David also showed a behind-the-scene video and lighting set up for this series. As you can see, there’s nothing particularly fancy about the lighting.
Be sure to catch his video here:
Video on Vimeo.
Here are more photos by Thomas: