Smoke Photography

posted on 2nd of january, 2009

A very happy new year to all of you!!

I think everybody loves such kind of photography.I wish to share the technique for taking such images. I am not the first one to do such work,you can get lot of information on internet.This is an attempt to share my personal experience with you.

Before starting to work on this I must say one needs lot of patience for getting good images.One has to select really good images out of the bunch & be ready to throw average images.

My few tips for capturing such good images will be as given below:

PLACE: You will need a place with good ventilation but enough protection for not disturbing the smoke.

SOURCE:The source for smoke can be cigar,incense sticks etc. I prefer incense sticks because they are not harmful for health & pleasant considering long time needed for working on such shots.

BACKGROUND:Use a black background for getting good contrast with the smoke color.The another advantage is that during post processing when you invert image you can get isolated white background very easily.

SHUTTER SPEED:Use higher shutter speed like greater than 1/160 Sec.This will help for getting sharp images.Use tripod even if you are shooting with higher speed. Sometimes you can get beautiful soft smooth effects images with slightly slower speeds.

APERTURE:Use higher aperture like f/12..f/18. Since you don't know the exact area for focusing it is preferable to use higher aperture values.

ISO:Use lower ISO if possible to get noise free images.It is quiet likely to get noisy images with this kind of subject & higher light requirement.

LIGHT:For getting high speed & higher aperture values light should be sufficient enough.For using lower ISO one needs good amount of light for that strobes really helps.Use one or two off camera flash such that light will not hit background.If possible use diffused light.If you don't have strobes here is old technique which I was using earlier. I was using sunlight illuminating only the smoke without falling on background, with some limitation on settings one can get nice images without flash.The on camera flash will not be useful because it will throw light on background.

FOCUS:Last but important use manual focus. After focusing don't move tripod.You can focus on source of smoke & since you are using higher aperture it is quite likely to get the smoke with tack sharp details.Auto focus may trouble you to get shot in time & the focusing timings may irritate you.

In post processing adjust levels to make background pure black & remove unwanted portion of smoke if needed. You can play with hue/sat adjustment for coloring the smoke. You can us multiple layers with masking to get multicolored smoke shots.In post processing one can use mirror image of the original image to get symmetrical abstracts.Most of the time they can turn into really good abstracts.

Few days before I was experimenting on such shots & realised that the music can be very helpful for getting variations in smoke shapes.I played my favorite musicians A.R.Rahman songs & got some really interesting images.They are currently in pending list for review & hope inspectors will pass them :) so enjoy your favorite music & smoke photography. The only thing you will need is lot of time & patience.

If anybody feels this article useful I will be very happy. Love you all Keep shooting... :)

Comments (15)

Posted by Sgnajn on November 23, 2009
Hi Nilesh, Thanks for the useful tips. I will try it.
Posted by Indianeye on February 22, 2009
I am very happy to mention that my favorite musician has won two Academy awards for "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008). My big congratulation to him for his success.
Posted by Vladimirov2009 on January 29, 2009
Thanks so much... running away to try...
Posted by Indianeye on January 28, 2009
Visit my Flickr link to see more new images on smoke shot:
My Flickr Link
Posted by Indianeye on January 22, 2009
Adding a note that multi color effect can easily be given by applying different color gradients rather than mixing different layers with masking.
Thanks for the kindly appreciating this blog & I am glad that readers found it helpful.
Posted by Nicemonkey on January 19, 2009
Great set of tips, the stock community is so friendly
Posted by Palashmondal on January 06, 2009
Really Nice Post!! Thanks friend! I am happy to see this. Any way, I know another fantastic site www.uploaded.tv where you may earn money by uploading your own photos, music and videos. Its really nice and I wish it would be helpful for you.
Posted by Brau on January 03, 2009
Very useful. Thank you very much!
Posted by Rzeszutek on January 03, 2009
Very usefull, thanks Bnilesh and Happy New Year!!!
Posted by Indianeye on January 03, 2009
Thanks really for appreciating the article. It will definitely encourage me for another one.
Posted by Rebeccaosborn on January 02, 2009
Yes, i agree, great blog and tanks for sharing with us all how to do it.. be safe everyone photographing smoking items!!
Posted by Marilyngould on January 02, 2009
Very helpful tips, thank you for taking time and effort to share. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous to you as well.
Posted by Lukasztymszan on January 02, 2009
Great tips! Thank you!
Happy new year.
Posted by Littlemacproductions on January 02, 2009
Thanks for the tips! Happy New Year!
Posted by Mildegard on January 02, 2009
Many thanks for sharing your experience! I want to try making some smoky photos now.

Comments (15)

This article has been read 3280 times. 11 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Cloki, Indianeye.

About me

Well my interest started in photography around beginning of 2006. This has become my prime hobby as well as passion. I am seriously enjoying it. My primary reason for joining stock photography is for improving the skills in photography. Such a huge competition is here along with image reviewing judges who are ready to throw the bad images. I will like to keep good quality images in my portfolio. I hope the users of my images will be happy & they will intimate me about how my images are utilized in their designs & work. Love you all :)

confidential info

April (1)
March (1)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

fume smoke abstract gas

Smoke related stock images