How To Construct an In-Studio Shower Scene

I've tried many times to get a great "Shower Shot" for models, but most normal showers don't really have the room or the safety to pull off the lighting as you would want.

So finally, I decided it was time to build an indoor studio set that created the shot I wanted. But, as you know, when you have water and electricity in the same area, safety has to come first. So one of my worries was about circuit breakers in case of an accident. Fortunately we had outdoor outlets by our pool that were "Ground fault Circuit Interrupters". So we simply took extension cords to draw the power from there.

tarpNext, we covered the studio floor with a large plastic tarp that was much larger than the pool area.

We also took a large number of cheap towels and surrounded the pool to absorb any splashes or spills that might happen.

And finally we started to blow up the portable pool.

OK. So here's a tip. I bought a pool that you had to blow up yourself. I mean by blowing into it. "BIG" mistake. Get one with a pump and save yourself some grief :).

poolAny child size inflatable pool should work. I tried to find the one with the tallest sides for additional containment. Our model will not be standing in it, rather just kneeling. So we need to be able to shoot over the side of the pool and still see most of the model.

Now a word about lighting. I used mono lights cover by softboxes for reasons beyond the quality of light. If you use an umbrella, the electrical end is facing to the model. While not likely, it is possible for water to splash onto the power head and cause problems. With a softbox, the power end is away from the model, and the flash tube and modelling light are completely covered by the softbox itself. Much safer. I use softboxes from Westcott, and you can see how the flash head is completely contained.

softboxThe material itself is plastic or nylon which is easy to dry should any water splash its way.

Finally, you need a large watering can. I prefer lightweight plastic ones with a large capacity and a large head with as many holes as I can find to create the shower spray effect.


So the deal is easy. Fill the can with warm water that doesn't shock the model. An assistant stands on a ladder and gets the can higher than the model and gently tips the can to her. However be careful. The goal is to not get water on her face and ruin her makeup. So we start with the water falling in front of the model, then slowly ease it into her.


So now the lighting. we used four lights for this set. The first two were the softboxes in front of the model. You can use any lighting ratio you like, but we used a 1:1 ratio for more of a glamour effect.

The other tow were in behind and much higher. The had snoots on them for protection, and plastic gels covering the front openings.

snootIf you look at the photo above, you can see a blue tint to the water backlight, and an amber tint to the model's hairlight. This offered both safety and color to the shot.

Finally, I chose a blue mottled muslin background that is drip dry should any water splash on it. You can choose whatever you want for a background. It's all personal choice.

Yes, this is a difficult shot to set up and cleanup. But I like that. Lazy photographers don't do the hard things so it sets me apart from them and gives me images they just don't have.



For an alternate, we went out to our patio one night and built a variation on the set. Our patio has a wall of plants on one side and some plastic boulders. It was originally built for senior photography. We took the same basic setup, but we didn't have to worry about the tarp or the towels. We took the same precautions with the lighting.



We even  added a smoke machine to simulate steam from the shower.


So take an afternoon or an evening and have a great shoot. Be safe.




1 Response

  1. Keith Bobo
    Great Idea and I can do this outside this year!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software