Flying Tea Food Shoot

In this food photography class Karl and Anna create a flying tea image using a little ingenuity, combined with creativity and knowledge.

You’ll see exactly how they created this explosive image as they walk you through each stage of the planning, preparation and lighting. You’ll learn about problem solving and creative thinking, how to control lighting and why fast flash duration is a must when photographing flying objects.

Course objectives:

  • Learn how to photograph flying food shots
  • See how to use pre-visualisation as part of your planning
  • Demonstrate lighting setups for food photography
  • How to suspend items for photography
  • How to freeze motion using flash

To see the post production for this image, click here.

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

Have you ever had a creative concept for an image but not known how to bring it to life? This is exactly what Karl and Anna found when they set out to create this flying food shot. The answer? Ingenuity and creativity.

Food photography setup and preparation

Photography often requires creativity and problem solving to realise your creative ideas.

Their vision was to create an image of a cup with rose bud tea and sugar cubes exploding out of it and a floating milk jug above, pouring milk. Guided by Karl’s pre-visualisation, the pair were able to identify a number of challenges that they’d have to overcome to get the final result. These included:

  • Create a realistic explosion of rose bud tea,
  • Include sugar cubes to add depth to explosion,
  • Create floating milk jug with pouring milk, and
  • A lighting setup suitable for the cup, milk jug and exploding objects
Flying food shoot

Freezing the fast moving rosebud tea was just one of the challenges Karl and Anna had to overcome.

Together they overcame each of these problems through a combination of DIY, acrylic rods and fast flash duration. The setup, although it looks complicated, required only four lights with simple modifiers. In the end, this shoot proved that it is possible to bring any creative idea to life — all you need is careful planning and the right knowledge.

Flying tea photograph

The final flying tea image.


  1. Hi Karl

    the T shaped acrylic rod you had made. what are the dimensions (the length total, the top piece width… looks like 1.5 inches wide for the top and and also for the bottom part?) also, what thickness of acrylic was used? I am hoping Santa will bring me one this year

    Thank you

    1. Hi Jacqueline, 5mm thick acrylic, 40mm wide and and the strengthening vertical part is about 30mm high glued onto the 40mm wide part. 90cm long in total to give room to grip one end.

      1. Thank you. should one also invest in just flat (not t shaped) acrylic bars as well? if so, size?

        I was also wondering, why you were using what appears to be a wooden dowel like for the flowers that will be floating and not clear acrylic?

        what size acrylic rods/bars should one consider purchasing for their studio


        1. Hi, I don’t remember any wooden dowels? At what time did you see those? I have various acrylic rods rectangle about 5mm x 6mm by 90cm and some round rods about 5mm diameter up to 15mm diameter again between 50cm and 100cm.

          1. Hi Karl,

            if you check at the 20:27 minute mark… to me, it looks like wooden skewers?

          2. Hi Jacqueline, it looks like Anna held a flower bud on a skewer just for me to check the light, as you will see from the video after that point the tea was exploded in the air it wasn’t held on anything, only the sugar cubes were held on the grip rods from the C-stands.

          3. AHhhh ok. thank you for clarifying 😉

            I am in the midst of pricing how much it would cost for one of the large T shaped brackets… pricey little buggers aren’t they! 🙂

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