Smoke Photography Tips

We are going to cover some tips today on smoke photography. I haven’t really hit on this subject for the simple fact so many people use Photoshop and other software to get the look and effect they want from smoke. I am going to go over some easy tips though that will help you setup and shoot great photos of smoke.

Camera – First and foremost, no camera no photo, right? You also need to have complete control over your camera settings. You should be able to manually set aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. A faster shutter because smoke is faster than your reaction time so your shutter should respond quickly. A smaller aperture allows a greater depth of field in your photographs. A low ISO helps so your photos do not turn out grainy.

Tripod – This will help to eliminate camera shake when shooting.

Light – When doing shots like this you need as much light as possible. With the combination of the settings I mentioned above you will need as much light as can get.


You need a dark background like a blanket or cloth, preferably black if you have something like that. Incense/Cigarettes with an ashtray or incense holder in front of your background about 40 inches away. You can really use anything to burn just don’t burn the place down you are shooting in or set off smoke alarms. I always prefer incense, cigarettes, and cigars. You can also set up reflector board if you around what you are burning. Lighting, its helps if you can get some lights positioned on either side of what you are shooting about 12-24 inches away. From there set up your camera and tripod in front of what you will be burning and start.

Without a doubt you will probably shoot a lot of photos trying to get it right but this will get you started in the right direction. Just have fun with it and good luck.


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