How To Create a Spin Smoke Effect in Your Photos

Using smoke has been a staple in photography and cinematography for some time, and to great effect. Here is a tutorial on how to create a spiral look to the smoke for an awesome result.

Using smoke in your images can be done through a number of different methods for a multitude of results. While a smoke bomb has been popular for well over a decade and is highly effective, I regularly use a smoke machine to create atmosphere even in photos where I don't want the appearance of smoke per se. However, smoke bombs are a different, far more dramatic route which I still enjoy no matter how many times I see it.

In this video by SLR Lounge, we see a smoke bomb being used in portraiture, which isn't novel, but the way in which they use it is a little different. By creating a spin effect behind the subject, not only do you get all the smoke you wanted, but a sort of tunnel is created. This looks great and works well compositionally for a number of reasons. The most important impact it has it to guide the viewer's eye to the subject; an objective that should feature in almost every image.

Have you used smoke bombs in your photography? Share your best images in the comments below.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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