Sunday, October 20, 2013

6 Tips for shooting smoke

Smoke looks cool!

So you want to take pictures of some smoke? Cool! No, really! It looks nifty! Don’t want to read lots of blog posts and watch hundreds of videos on the subject? Well then, check this quick-start tips list out!

  1. Get a black backdrop and surface.
  2. Get some incents, put it in some play-doh, place it 3 ft. from the background and light it.
  3. Set your flash in manual mode (1/4 power) and attach a remote trigger (radio or cable is fine!).
  4. Put barn doors on flash (or some cardboard) to avoid light spill on background.
  5. Place flash on a 90-degree angle on the smoke (shoot the smoke from the side).
  6. Set camera to all manual (1/200 s, f/8, ISO 100) and manual focus, Flash WB.

Other tips? Sure!

  • There are a lot of factors for success, so play around with the settings, especially aperture, flash power and shutter speed.
  • You can put a reflector opposite the flash for a different effect. Try it!
  • Remember to ventilate the room for two reasons.
    Incents stink and the room will start to get smokey and it will show in the images.


Inverse the images in Photoshop (or whatever) to get a cool effect where the background is white and the smoke is black.

Extra pro-tip

Play with the hue slider to give the smoke some other colour!

Now go shoot!

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