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Simple Smoke Photography Tutorial (No extra gear)

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  • Simple Smoke Photography Tutorial (No extra gear)




    Items Needed:
    Incense stick
    Match/lighter
    Tripod (optional)
    A dark room (or it helps to have a dark background)


    Camera settings for both shots:
    Camera Canon EOS 50D
    Manual
    Auto Focus
    Shutter 1/250
    Aperture f/5.6
    Focal Length 55 mm
    ISO Speed 200
    On-camera flash


    Due to the popularity of my Water Droplet tutorial, I thought I might show you how I shoot smoke. Again, this is a tutorial using a DSLR with no additional flash.

    Step 1. Have a dark room, or dark background set up. The reason for this is you want the photo to come blacked out with just the smoke highlighted. If you are shooting against a background, be sure to have the camera at least 4ft away so that the flash does not capture the background.

    Step 2. Hold the incense stick in front of the camera about 8-10 inches and focus on the tip. It helps if you use a tripod for the camera. Remember the approximate distance the stick is from the lens so you can come back to it.

    Step 3. Light your incense stick and then blow it out. It actually helps to let it burn for about 15 seconds to produce the best smoke. Hold the stick at about the distance you originally focused on.

    Step 4. Turn the lights off or shoot against your dark backround. Wave the stick around gently to generate different shapes. Blowing softly creates some neat effects. Now shoot!

    Step 5 (Optional). Processing! This is completely up to you. For the first photo I only adjusted curves and added gradient. The second photo I adjusted curves, inverted, and then I added a gradient. Both were processed using Gimp.

    Note: If you wanted to get a white background instead of black, you would need to play with "levels" and "curves" during processing. You can also use a white background to further assist. It is a bit more advanced to get a white background looking good. So for the purposes of this simple tutorial, I taught you the easier black background way!

    Other tutorials that may be of interest which require no extra gear | Ultra Easy Freelensing | Action |
    Last edited by PowerPix; 11-04-2010, 08:23 PM. Reason: Added white version
    Canon 50D: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM , Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Photoshop CS5



  • #2
    Excellent

    I am dying to to try it today!!

    Comment


    • #3
      ah man i didn't stay 4ft away from the wall, no wonder they didn't come out good.
      i'll re-shoot it tomorrow

      Comment


      • #4
        not as clear as yours but



        Comment


        • #5
          ausome mate

          ausome shot will so have to try this when i have the time

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          • #6
            Beautiful smoke shots. And finally a tutorial for someone like me that has no external flashes or fancy gear lol. I'll have to give it a try soon. Thanks!
            Canon XS w/ 18-55mm kit lens & Canon EF 75-300mm
            Check out my flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_lewis09/

            Comment


            • #7
              Another brilliant post, TFS its great for beginners like myself to know the simple ways of how to create pictures like this.

              Cheers

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by leena View Post
                not as clear as yours but



                Nice! Keep up the great work, these are fantastic!

                Originally posted by derekspacelewis View Post
                Beautiful smoke shots. And finally a tutorial for someone like me that has no external flashes or fancy gear lol. I'll have to give it a try soon. Thanks!

                You are very welcome. I don't have extra gear, so I like to see what I can come up with in terms of "cliche" photos that people normally take with much more gear.

                It's competitive really, just to see if what I get looks close or better!



                Originally posted by David. View Post
                Another brilliant post, TFS its great for beginners like myself to know the simple ways of how to create pictures like this.

                Cheers
                You're welcome David. Glad you like the tutorial. Be sure to post some photos when you give it a try!
                Canon 50D: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM , Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Photoshop CS5


                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the tut! I think I am going to try this tonight too....I suppose I need a smoke shot within my gallery too LOL
                  Nikon D60, Soon to have the D7000
                  35mm f/1.8, 28-75mm f/2.8, 70-300mm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nice, I'll try this once I get my hands on some incense sticks. Thanks for the tutorial!
                    Camera: Canon EOS Rebel XSi (450D) | 55-250mm 1:4-5.6 IS | 28-80mm 1:3.5-5.6 II | 50mm 1:1.8 II
                    My Flickr Gallery : http://www.flickr.com/photos/30992760@N02/
                    My Picasa Gallery : http://picasaweb.google.com/nvspace126

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How do you get the different smoke colors? I'm totally new to this, but it looks cool.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by susheema View Post
                        How do you get the different smoke colors? I'm totally new to this, but it looks cool.
                        The color is added during processing. Simply use a color gradient overlay.
                        Canon 50D: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM , Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Photoshop CS5


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This was harder than you made it look! I applaud your skill. I had to do a bit of post processing to get anywhere close to yours.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by susheema View Post
                            How do you get the different smoke colors? I'm totally new to this, but it looks cool.
                            I'd like to know the answer too that too..
                            "If you have to shoot,shoot,dont talk"
                            -Eli Wallach(Tuco) ,The Good,the Bad and the Ugly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Looks like fun. Coincidentally I am going to a store that sells incense tomorrow. yay!
                              Pentax K7, K 2000 with lots of lenses - old and new; Slik Pro 340 EZ tripod with an old Slik single action panhead; two Vivitar 285HV Zoom flashes; wireless remote and cable release. Wireless triggers, constant lighting and shoot through umbrellas and stands.
                              www.patriciahorwell.com

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