“Coca-Cola with a Splash of Orange” © Karissa Blunck

Timing is everything. Splash photography is all about timing. My image “Coca-Cola with a Splash of Orange” is 10 years in the making. In photography, we learn to time our shots right to capture the best images. I love capturing the movement of water, each shot is unique. Splash photography can be messy and challenging, but it also is a creative and refreshing way to photograph things for clients and yourself. So far, every splash image I’ve created was done for myself, as portfolio building, just for fun or for competition.  

My journey with splash photography goes back to Spring of my senior year of high school, 2013. I wanted to create an image of a Sprite can with lemons and limes, splashing around it, and I was determined to create it for print competition. So late one Friday night in March of my senior year I got to work. My mom and I have a real studio, but to avoid getting water everywhere I set up a makeshift studio in my kitchen with a fish tank, black fabric, towels, speedlights, and my camera on a tripod with a shutter release.

“A Splash of Refreshment” © Karissa Blunck

One by one I dropped the Sprite can, lemons, and limes in the tank. I composited nine images together into a panoramic splash image and I called it “A Splash of Refreshment.” I entered it in print competition through my state PPA affiliate, Professional Photographers of Washington (PPW) received a judge’s choice award, Best Advertising/Illustration, and Best Commercial Image. It was a huge highlight of my senior year.

The following year, 2014, “A Splash of Refreshment” merited in PPA’s IPC. I created multiple splash images that night in March 2013, and I entered three of them into IPC in 2014 and 2016. All three images merited and helped me earn my Master of Photography in 2018. 

I took a break from splash photography for eight years but got back into it in 2021 to create some new splash images for competition. I am a lifelong night owl and I find that I am most creative after midnight. When it comes to my competition images, I’m a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I often submit my images with minutes to spare. Sometimes I don’t give myself enough time to finish images before deadlines so I’ll wait until the next competition to enter it. 

I always wanted to create another image like “A Splash of Refreshment,” with a soda can and fruit to match the soda’s flavor. One night in 2021 I was feeling inspired while drinking Orange Vanilla Coke and editing, so I grabbed some oranges from the kitchen, and around 3:30am I was ready to create.

My mom Kari J. Stuckey M. Photog. Cr. assisted me, dropping the coke can and the sliced oranges in the fish tank. I didn’t finish the work on it in time for competition until 2022. I composited ten images together into a panoramic splash image and I called it “Coca-Cola with a Splash of Orange.” Each orange and its matching splash were cut out and blended with layers in Photoshop to make it look like one shot.

The Set Up Details:

Nikon D5 with a Nikon 105mm Macro lens

Shot at 1/200sec f/32 ISO 500

1 – Flashpoint XPLOR 600

Additional items:

Fish tank, half full of water


Shutter release

Solid background

At Districts, it merited and placed in the Top Ten Commercial/Illustrative category for Western District. Through IPC it received Imaging Excellence, was part of my Gold Medal case, and was selected as a Grand Imaging Award finalist in the Commercial Category. In mid-October 2022, I got an email I never expected to receive, my image was selected for the Commercial Category in the World Photographic Cup representing Team USA.

I was beyond excited about this honor, and it has been one of the biggest honors in my career. At Imaging USA in 2023, I walked across the stage with my image on the screen behind me and I felt just as proud as I did at 18 walking up to receive my awards for “A Splash of Refreshment” at PPW’s annual banquet almost ten years prior. 

World Cup Team with Karissa Blunck, 2023

In the last ten years my skills both behind the camera and in Photoshop have improved, I have received 4 Imaging Excellences and 3 Merits on my splash images over the years. I’m excited to keep making a splash as a photographer.

Proud mom Kari J. Stuckey with daughter Karissa Blunck