Amazing Smoke Photography Tutorial

Everyone has seen smoke in various forms. For some, smoke is an allergy and for some, smoke is an inspiration.

If you belong to the latter category, welcome to the world of smoke photography. Today, we are going to tell you how you can make awesome creations from the very ordinary looking smoke that you encounter in your day to day life.

But before that, have a look on what exactly we’re talking about. Here are some of the photographs that you’ll be able to take till the end of this tutorial:

You might also like these Elegant Smoke Photos .

Smoke Photography Tutorial

Smoke PHotography Pic

Exited? So are we! So let’s take a look on what all would you need to get started:

  • Camera: Obviously, the most important thing. However, you have to use a camera that offers manual control over Aperture and Shutter Speed. Control over ISO is an added plus.
  • Incense stick and holder: You must have used incense sticks in ceremonies in your home. Here’ we’ll use then as the source of producing smoke. (Please note, you can’t use  cigeratte in this experiment for obvious reasons). We would also be needing a holder to hold the sticks.
  • A Background: Background is very important. Make sure you have something black to make a dark background. A large black cloth or a big black char paper would do.
  • Tripod: A tripod is also required so that there are no accidental shakes while shooting the photograph.

Setting Up The Stage

This is another important step in capturing the photographs as this only will decide the quality of photographs that you’ll get. This is somewhat tricky and you have to follow the following steps to make it work.

  • Put up your black backgroundPlace the incense stick about 3-4ft away from the background
  • Place the flash/strobe to the right (or left) of the incense about 1-2ft away
  • If using a reflector, place it on the opposite side, facing directly at the incense stick
  • Place the camera on a tripod in front of the incense about 2-3ft away

On a full note, here is a schematic diagram on how the whole thing should be set up:

Smoke Photography Stage Demo

Photo credits

Okay. You got it right? Great! If you have set everything up, you should be looking something like this:

Smoke Photography Stage Setting

Photo Credits

The Camera Settings

After you’re done with setting up the stage, it’s time for some action. But wait, you have to do some manual settings in your camera for that. Otherwise, you’ll end up with either very weird shots or nothing at all! Here’s what you have to do in camera settings:

  • Set up a fast shutter speed – You need to have a faster shutter because smoke is faster than your reaction time. And to capture it, your camera shutter should respond quickly.
  • Small Aperture – This would allow a greater Depth of Field (DoF) in your photographs.
  • Low ISO – This setting is to make sure your photographs don’t turn out to be grainy. A low ISO means better photographs.
  • Light – You need lots of it. With a combination of fast shutter speed, small aperture and low ISO, there is not enough light to expose the shot. Therefore, the smoke will need to be lit up appropriately.

Final Words

And you’re good to go. Now you can extend your creativity and shoot some amazing smoke photographs. Feel free to play with your camera settings, the stage, the lights and the smoke. You’ll need a lot of patience and it may happen you can’t get a single satisfactory shot in almost hundred clicks. But don’t lose hope. You’ll finally get that amazing smoke image which you always dreamed of. All the best 🙂

If you have any questions or suggestions, you can drop in @rish404 or at my Blog

Pin It