about this image

I have always been fascinated by disintegration and particle effects in high-budget Hollywood productions, and I went through a phase in my Photoshop retouching a few years ago where I wanted to make pretty much everything look like it was exploding. Fortunately, I'm not gonna ask you to sit there and look at all of my failed attempts, but I think this particular shot turned out fairly nicely.

strobist info

Lit with three Elinchrom Ranger Quadra strobes, two of which were outfitted with barn doors and placed on either side of the subject for rim, and one that was placed inside a 22" gridded beauty dish boomed overhead as key.

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tools & gear used

The disintegration/particle effects were created in Photoshop using a number of dust brushes that were further modified with Scatter and Shape Dynamics settings in the Brush panel. The background was generated by drawing a few random shapes and then experimenting with applying motion blur in some unconventional ways. Honestly, I don't really even recall the exact steps I took to create it. Everything was finished up in Topaz Adjust for additional contrast and clarity.

Got a specific question about how this image was shot, lit, or retouched? Got a praise/critique? Leave us a comment below!