This shot was taken for an assignment from a photography hangout I take part in on Google+. The idea was to shoot an ’emotionally charged splash.” I tried my luck at splashes which are quite difficult. I figured I’d go with liquid dripping which is a bit more controlled.


While coming up with the idea I happened to be in the kitchen cooking and had the idea to use the butcher knife I was using. I also thought that if I used a red liquid to simulate blood that it would create a strong emotion.

For this shot I used 3 strobes, some white foam core boards for bouncing the light around, liquid dish soap with red food coloring and to hang the knife I used a wire coat hanger using a hot glue gun to attach it to the handle.

The shot was quite fun to make. I first hung the knife and set up a strobe with a red gel behind and below the knife aiming at the backdrop. Then after I had that effect, I then started to place the other 2 strobes into the shot. I have one strobe with a DIY grid behind and camera left which is what gives the rim lighting on the top edge of the handle.

I placed another strobe, with DIY grid, in front of and to camera left as well, shooting through a diffuser, to create the lighting on the tip of the blade, just where the blade and handle meet and the lighting on the bottom and back end of the handle. The handle lighting I was able to achieve by using white foam core to bounce and soften the light on the handle.

I made the blood with liquid dish soap and several drops of red food coloring. After I had the shot all set up and lighting the way I liked it, I used a spoon to pour the ‘blood’ down the edge of the knife. I built up the flow so that it would start dripping. I fired off shots while looking through the view finder and timing when the drips would occur.


To get the final shot you see below here, I used 2 images I had shot and brought them into Photoshop. I really like the overall shot of one image, and I liked a particular drip in the other so I masked the 2 together. After that I spent time to remove all the dust and specs from the image which took quite some time. I also adjusted the background slightly to get the mood I was after.

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Please also find below this final image a few outtake shots and bts(behind the scenes) shots I took with my phone.

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Here are some BTS (Behind the scenes) shots of my setup. As you can see from the 2 photos below, I have the 2 strobes on the left. The one on the ground is what lit the face of the blade and also bounced the light from it to the handle with the foam core boards on right.

In this shot you can see the setup after the ‘blood’ was poured on the blade.

Here are a couple outtakes from the shoot. As you can see from these photos the wire coat hanger that is holding the knife. Of course I removed that in post production.