Six Fun Ideas for Smoke Photography

Smoke photography is very abstract and produces interesting images. The fun thing about smoke photography is that you can control the lighting, background, and source, but not the shape. The shape of smoke is constantly changing, and is never the same. Here are six fun ideas for smoke photography.

1. Use Different Background Colors

Black is the standard smoke photography background, but it doesn't have to be. You can experiment with multiple colors and gradients. However, it is very important that the colors you choose are dark. Smoke is mostly white and light grey, and you want it to contrast with the background so that it reads. Theoretically, you can get a darker color smoke, but you would have to burn something that would be considered unsafe.

2. Manipulate the Smoke

You don't want a draft or large wind, but a little bit of air can change the smoke pattern in interesting ways. It needs to be a very small amount, though, or else the smoke will blow away from your lens and you will need to wait a few minutes for it to settle.

3. Use Two Smoke Sources

You can widen your frame and use two smoke sources instead of one. This can create two different interesting patterns. You will want to avoid adding too much smoke, though, because the beauty of smoke photography comes from the smoke contrasting with the background. If your whole frame is full of smoke, then you're going to have a hazy image rather than beautiful smoke photograph.

4. Experiment with the Lighting

Use two light sources to sidelight the smoke. Turn one off and see how it looks. Does it create a cool effect, with the bright light on one side of the frame and the rest falling off onto the other side? Or did it turn out awful? Move your lights up and tilt them down, or lower them down and tilt them up. Experiment, but just remember to keep the light off the lens and background.

5. Change the Color of the Lights

Instead of burning different items to create different colors of smoke, try adding theatrical gels to your lights to see what that does. A deep red color added to your lights might produce a reddish smoke that no one's ever seen. You'll never know until you try.

6. Post Production

Photo editing offers a lot of opportunities to have fun and experiment with your work. With a good editing program, you can shoot your smoke the standard way and then play with it later. If you don't like any of effects you do here, you can easily undo them with the click of a button.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: