Use Colored Smoke Bombs to Accent Your Photos

Use Colored Smoke Bombs to Accent Your Photos

Summer is upon us, which means fireworks. Previously, we have discussed using alternative methods to get smoke-like effects in your photographs. But using flour can make for a messy clean-up and smoke machines require electricity. Smoke balls, however, are cheap, come in a variety of colors and require nothing more than a lighter.

Now don't get me wrong. These aren't perfect either. They stink like hell, so you have to use them outside. This means you will need to shoot at night, to get the most out of the colors. And they burn fast- you have about five seconds of smoke. Also, don't forget to factor in the wind when shooting outdoors. If there is much wind at all, the smoke will blow to the side, front or behind your subject. But when you get it right, it's worth the effort. The ability to get multiple colors of smoke without gelling and flagging multiple lights is something worth fighting for.

This test shoot I did was my first attempt at using smoke balls. Needless to say, I was under-prepared. I mentioned the two factors you have to deal with are wind as well as a small window of time per smoke ball, I recommend bringing an assistant who can not only light the smoke balls, but also hold them just out of the frame.

I'd love to see your experimentations with smoke balls. Feel free to post your links in the comment section below.

nick fancher fashion photographer

nick fancher fashion photographer

nick fancher fashion photographer

nick fancher fashion photographer

nick fancher lighting diagram Two rim speedlites at 1/16, zoomed to 105mm. Main light gelled with 1/2 orange and a grid, zoomed to 105mm at 1/16.

For more lighting diagrams similar to this, check out my new eBook, RGLR: The Run & Gun Lighting Resource.

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11 Comments

Christopher Sztybel's picture

Colored smoke bombs also come in handy during boring conversations. Throw one down and walk away.

Paul Ferradas's picture

i remember seeing a video where they were doing a photoshoot with a portable fog machine, required no electricity. Looked into it and the unti was pricey, i think like $600 bucks, I wish I remember the website. I'd be down to try some smoke bombs if they weren't the colorful type. I think adding smoke color is somewhat gimmicky.

unalaskabai's picture

Nothing in the world annoys me more than seeing the clasp of a necklace in a photograph.

Simone Bykerk's picture

amen

Wholewitt's picture

Then don't ever get married, it will kill you.

unalaskabai's picture

If you're referring to my wedding photos, the photographer will change that or they will not be paid. :) On a person, I don't care, but in photos? I care.

chugysmalone's picture

I would probably advise to get over it

Regan Shorter's picture

I used these last 4th of july! What I ended up doing was purchasing a large smoke bomb like the ones on the edges of this photo. They last much longer and provide a LOT of smoke.

http://www.hobojoesfireworks.com/images/items/IMG_1824.JPG

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Here was my result, I didn't use them at night (2nd photo after link)
http://reganshorter.22slides.com/personal

Regan Shorter's picture

Double comment.. so sorry. But this is what I mean by a lot

http://i0.wp.com/www.a-fashion-ado.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/DSC_00...

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JaseCharvis's picture

She looks like she passed some really bad gas!

Nick Fancher's picture

nice!