How I Got the Shot with Brooke Mason – Making a Splash

Posted by: on Aug 23, 2017

How I Got the Shot with Brooke Mason – Making a Splash
A woman in a stylized portrait with water splashing on her upper torso A woman in a stylized portrait with water splashing on her upper torso A woman in a stylized portrait with water splashing on her upper torso

Bio: Australian-born photographer Brooke Mason has been capturing images for the fashion and entertainment worlds for over 15 years. Originally based in New York City, and now living on the West Coast, her work has been featured on the covers and editorial pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines worldwide.

A former international model herself, Mason is well-versed in contemporary media standards of art, aesthetics and beauty. She strives to be authentic and fearless in her art. Pushing boundaries and peoples perceptions. “People see what they want to see in my work, its up to interpretation, thats essentially what art should do. Any reaction is a good one for me.”


I love working with water, it’s sexy and I love a challenge. The concept of this shoot was to blend movement, power and strength into a standard beauty shot. The model was to remain natural looking and frozen while having water forcefully thrown on her.

The biggest challenge was to keep the beauty (not ruining her make-up or hair) and capturing it just at the right moment as the water splashes to her or from her. I wanted to express the right emotion coming from the water, dancing off her neck and body, perhaps to create wardrobe, perhaps to hug her, perhaps to run from her.

Setup and Lighting

I used Dynalite lighting in Chimera soft boxes. A 5-strobe set-up. Two beauty dishes to light the backdrop and three rectangular soft boxes to light my model and the water.

A diagram of a photo shoot setup

Benefits of Shooting Tethered

Without tethering I would not have done it effectively. I need a fast replay of what I’ve just shot so I can give direction to my crew and since we were working on a tight time frame with all these elements at play there is not much room for error. I can’t over shoot or the look will be ruined with too much water and the model will have goose pimples from getting cold.

I like working fast anyways, it suits my high-energy and tethering helps me do that.


I did minimal beauty skin retouching with Adobe Photoshop 7. I did not Photoshop the water, that was as shot.

Logistics and Gear

I shot with a Canon 1DX and a Canon 24-105 L-Series zoom lens. I used a five-strobe lighting set-up for these shots. I prefer to use more lighting than less to create different dimensions and have more flexibility on what I light. In this case I wanted the sides of the water lit, so those two large soft boxes bounced light off the water splashing in the air.

I had two crew on either side of my model to splash water on a countdown. The model sat in 6 feet blow-up pool to keep the water somewhat contained and we had plenty of towels handy. I was certainly nervous that we didn’t splash my lights or camera. Luckily they all had a steady hand.

Behind the scenes of a photoshoot showing a model sitting in a kiddie pool

Collaboration and Team

  • Model: Taylor Frank
  • Make-up and hair: Renata Rensky
  • Photo Assistant: Michael Saunders
  • Behind The Scenes Video: Joseph Diaz-Oldenberg
How I Got the Shot Second Edition

To download this, and 11 more How I Got the Shot guides, download version 2 of the How I Got the Shot Guide at Each educational article features a different image, behind-the-scenes video, as well as a detailed breakdown of how the shot was made.