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Thread: Simple Smoke Photography Tutorial (No extra gear)

  1. #1
    PowerPix's Avatar
    PowerPix is offline Maverick
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    Default 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 at 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. #2
    a73210 is offline I'm new here!
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    Default Excellent

    I am dying to to try it today!!

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    leena is offline I'm new here!
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    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

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    leena is offline I'm new here!
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    not as clear as yours but



    bellamyriver likes this.

  5. #5
    drewdunnrespect's Avatar
    drewdunnrespect is offline the one and only
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    Default ausome mate

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

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    derekspacelewis's Avatar
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    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/

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    David. is offline I'm new here!
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    Thumbs up

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

    Cheers

  8. #8
    PowerPix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leena View Post
    not as clear as yours but



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

    Quote 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!



    Quote 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



  9. #9
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    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

  10. #10
    SpAcE126's Avatar
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    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

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