The art of smoke photography is an ethereal technique, through which exquisite strands of mysteriously swirling smoke are captured against a largely black or white colored backdrop, and it is a feat which is pretty easy to accomplish. The best time to attempt smoke photography is at night, when ambient light is at its lowest.
As with any activity involving smoke, make sure you take regular breaks and ventilate the room every few minutes. Arrange the flash & the table lamp, directly opposite each other, as shown in the picture above. The flash can either be wirelessly triggered by your dSLR or attached using an off-camera cable.
At that exposure if I take a picture without switching on the flash, the picture will come out pitch dark, showing that all my ambient light is killed off and whatever I am going record later will be from the illumination of the flash only. When the room is blocked from drafts, smoke plumes from the incense will generally go straight up. Remember that the longer you leave the incense burning, the more ambient smoke will build up.
As with many photographic techniques, the key to perfecting your smoke effect photos is to keep practicing. Smoke photography is a lot of fun, and it’s one of those art forms that has the potential to really wow people when you get it right. This item will be sent through the Global Shipping Programme and includes international tracking.
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Make sure that any smoke alarms are turned off, so as to avoid a good soaking from the sprinklers. As it will drop ash, make sure to lay down a non-flammable cover to protect the surface of the table from damage. I placed the dark background against the wall and about 70 cm away, placed an incense stick using a holder. I used the remote trigger (Yongnuo RF-603 C3) to trigger cheap Yongnuo 560 EX III manual mode flash which was put at ? power setting. That include any external light spilling into the room as well as the light from the table lamp.
You should be very careful to get exposure correct in-camera, because the subsequent exposure correction in post-processing can lead to the loss of a large amount of detail.
To make things more interesting from a photographic perspective, consider creating some shapes in the smoke.To do so you could gently fan the smoke with wave of your hand.
Getting a great smoke photo may be hit or miss, but those hits are going to be really cool and are more than worth the trouble it takes to get there. By clicking Confirm bid you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount.
The flash was on the right side of the camera and the table lamp was on left 30 cm apart from squared with the background as well as my camera.
I placed two dark cardboard cut outs which are also known as Gobo, like a barn door to prevent the flash spilling its light towards the background as well into the camera.


With the help of the table lamp I could easily focus on the stream of the smoke raising above and could capture it with ease. Another option is to coax shapes from the smoke by manipulating the tip of the incense stick with a non-flammable object like a spoon. In Photoshop or an image editor of your choice, you can boost the contrast of the scene to make the smoke pop even more against the background. By changing the white balance slider in Lightroom also you can get various hues and shades in your smoke capture. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. You can also use a snoot, made out of rolled up dark paper to do the same connected to the head of the flash.
Adjust your flash intensity setting and get proper exposure before you begin the smoke capture. Since I was not using tripod I could recompose the smoke as it drifted in various direction.
When the smoke starts moving around you need to refocus and that is where table lamp becomes invaluable. I also adjusted the zoom setting inside the flash to 85mm so as to narrow the beam and not spread it out. Camera with settings used for capture using flash will not show any details of this light on the smoke.



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