The use of smoke machines in photo shoots can be amazing. With the flip of a switch, you can provide a moody environment to your backgrounds. However, many times, when shooting on location, power just simply isnt accessible. So how do you get the same benefits from a smoke machine, without having any electricity at all?
Simple; use baby powder. Thats right, baby powder can be a great makeshift smoke machine in a pinch. By simply spraying the powder at a strong force, you're able to create “smoke” in the air to help create ambience within your photoshoots.
A good smoke machine will cost your well over $100, need power to run, and will typically stink up a place. Aside from that, the smoke created from many smoke machines can get into fabrics and leave an odor that is typically unpleasant. Baby powder, however, smells fresh, and cleans up with the use of a broom or vacuum. And bottles of baby powder can be bought for just a few dollars, don't take up much space, and can be thrown into a bag with ease.
Here is an example of the technique. Please excuse the lack of quality from the image itself, its just meant to show you what a couple puffs of baby powder can do to a scene. Special thanks to my friend Frankie, for letting me set up an extremely impromptu photoshoot, and her neighbor for letting us use the little baby powder she had left in her home.
It is worth noting that I suggest you purchase a baby powder without Talc in it, as some studies have found that Talc can lead to ovary and lung cancer (Yet, we put this on babies?). Many brands offer a corn starch option, which has a better consistency for creating smoke, and is nontoxic.