Behind the Image: Tigz Rice on recreating an iconic movie scene

Behind the Image: Tigz Rice on recreating an iconic movie scene

To celebrate the lead up to PhotoLive 2014, we’ll be featuring a different image from each photographer speaking at the event.

This week we go behind the image with Tigz Rice who explains how she set up and recreated an iconic scene from the movie Flashdance.

Behind the Image: Tigz Rice on recreating an iconic movie scene

Image by Tigz Rice

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for the stage and grab every opportunity to photograph live performance. Last summer I was commissioned by Beck Theatre to photograph the technical rehearsal of their summer youth project, Flashdance.

As it happens, Flashdance is one of those films that had managed to pass by me over the years (I have since found time to sit down and watch it!), although the iconic water pour scene had done several rounds of virality on social media.

It was the part of the show I was most excited about photographing, as pouring that much water over someone on stage is not an opportunity one gets to photograph very often!

There were a number of limitations that meant this was an all or nothing shot. Firstly, it was part of a much bigger live production that was running on a tight time schedule, so the shot had to be taken as and when the cast reached that part of the musical.

SEE MORE: How to plan and carry out your own fashion photography shoot

The scene actually fell at the end of act one, which meant I didn’t have to worry about photographing anything directly after that scene, but my focus would be elsewhere for about 90 minutes prior to the water pour.

Secondly, the drop time of the water was also very short, maybe two or three seconds. And finally, once the actress was wet, we didn’t have time to get her dried off and back into costume to have another go!

The pressure was somewhat lessened by the knowledge that I had been booked for both the technical run and the dress rehearsal, so I had two attempts at getting the shot.

The production team had also been incredibly helpful and sat down with me to go through the production notes, including all pyrotechnics, cues and when the water pour would occur in the music.

However, just as the cue was being given for the water pour, the director yelled ‘NO WATER!’

It turned out the actress playing Alex had forgotten to take her stage microphone off after her last song, which the water would have completely ruined. With very little time to spare, the production team made the decision to not do the water scene and move straight into the second act. Attempt one was officially cancelled.

 SEE MORE: Off-camera flash – how to stop fearing your flashgun and take control of lighting

Needless to say, I was pretty restless for the next 24 hours until the dress rehearsal for attempt two! Although I hadn’t been able to get the water pour shot the night before, I had at least seen the cast in position and work rout where I wanted to take my shot from.

Also, having seen the show the night before, I knew the running order a lot better and had much more time to get into the position I needed to get the shot. In the brief second before the water fell, I focused my Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 70-200mm f/2.8L lens on the actress – whilst resting on the theatre chair in front of me for stability – and shot in burst mode to give myself plenty of options to choose from.

Although the original shot was in colour, some of the light from the stage falling onto the actress was bright purple, and distracted from the rest of the image. Taking the image into Photoshop, I converted the image into black and white, whilst using the Shake Reduction feature in Photoshop to sharpen the water droplets falling from above.

Tigz is running a Boudoir Retouch Masterclass at PhotoLive 2014 in Edinburgh and London. You can follow her on Twitter and check out her website to see more of his amazing pictures.

PhotoLive takes place in Edinburgh (30 Aug) and London (06 Sep). You can view the full schedule and book tickets at Use code DCAM20 and get 20% off your ticket.


10 classic posing mistakes every portrait photographer makes (and how to avoid them)
6 simple simple lighting setups for shooting portraits at home (plus free cheat sheet)

Miss Aniela: my top tips for creative portrait photography

People Photography: composition tips for more diverse portrait styles
32 things photographers say… and what they really mean