Working with Smoke & Water: Surreal Portrait Photography

Working with fog machines can add an interesting element to your photography; however, getting the smoke to cooperate with you isn’t always an easy chore. If it’s warm outside, the smoke tends to rise and dissipate quickly. Jay P. Morgan has made a helpful video tutorial on how to control the smoke and keep it low on the ground for a theatrical feel. With just a few tools and an ice chest, you can build a chill box that will boost your control over the smoke:

Morgan had his assistant drill two holes large enough to accept a standard dryer vent into both ends of an ice chest. Once the vents were installed, four wooden blocks were dropped into the chest which were used to prop up a metal grill. Dry ice was placed onto the grill, the lid closed, and the fog machine was connected to the chest via a round duct onto one of the dryer vents. Once the fog machine was turned on, it forced the smoke through the duct over the dry ice in the chest. The smoke then bellowed out of the other dryer vent onto the set of the photo shoot. Because the smoke was cooled by the dry ice, it remained low and created a dramatic effect over the water.

fog machine photoshoot

 “There is a lighter smoke that sits on the water ground longer but gets blown around by the wind much more. Being outside we used the regular smoke and it worked great. Heat kills the effect so it’s important to keep the area cool as much as possible.”

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever