Photographing Smoke

In this article, we have a video tutorial showing photographers how to photograph smoke. After a few mishaps and a small studio fire, Kai is able to get off some good smoke shots from a bundle of incense sticks. He uses two 580EX2 flash heads (one used only as a trigger) on his Canon 550D, then briefly goes through the editing process in Adobe Photoshop. Take a look at the video here:

When photographing smoke, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Use flash to illuminate the smoke and leave the background dark to create contrast.
  • Shoot in RAW.
  • Try different methods, such as fanning or blowing the smoke to create interesting patterns.
  • Invert the image in Photoshop to make changing background colors easier.
  • Experiment with adding colors and gradients to the smoke during the editing process.

Take plenty of photos during your session and then try various colors.

smoke photographyphotography of smoke

Good luck with your smoke photography efforts and please be careful!

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3 responses to “Photographing Smoke”

  1. Great advice. The only thing I would add is to ventilate the room after each shot. I once tried smoke photography myself and came with something like this:
    http://shutterexperiments.com/2011/02/03/artistic-smoke-photography-2/#more-38

  2. I tried this recently, i like the results i got. I hadnt thought of changing the background to white. I will have to do that. Here are some samples: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150712695396477.456711.131592891476&type=3

  3. AJAY PARIKH says:

    Very lenthy,How u color the smoke ? Always show more description so we can learn understand easily,Thanx .

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