Shooting Portraits With a Smoke Machine

Smoke is a great way to add atmosphere to your studio shots, but smoke can be a problem too if not planned properly as it fills up the studio and obstructs visibility. In this video, Gavin Hoey shares some nice tips on making your next smoke filled shoot go smooth and better.

Obviously, you have to start with a good smoking machine. In this video, Hoey uses a CHAUVET DJ Hurricane 1200 portable fog machine. It comes with a remote that has variable output options. This comes in handy to adjust the amount of smoke you will be using. Especially if you are shooting in a small studio, it is essential that you pay attention to this factor to avoid hassles. He uses a simple two-light setup, one to light the model and another from the back to light the smoke.

Once set, the next thing to do is take some trial shots without smoke. Then slowly introduce smoke into the picture and shoot. The smoke usually dissipates quickly, so you have to take time into consideration and act quickly every time. You can also use color gels to bring on variety, and also play with the smoke's density of dispersion to add more drama. Watch the full video to get a full run as Hoey shoots with both flash and LED lights.

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Jay Jay's picture

In addition to a fog machine, there's also a haze machine, which puts out a less dense, but much more controllable and easier to work with, fog.

WES FONC's picture

thats awesome!