HOW-TO ‘smoke photography’

Hello lovely people!

As promised, here is the post on how I created the images of smoke  back in 2009 on a teeny-tiny budget (rather, a lack thereof!)

The most rewarding feeling is that of creating art from nothing (literally nothing!)

So here goes!

Background: Black paper (A1 size should be sufficient)

Camera: Any DSLR that works on Manual mode

Lens: Any Zoom and/or macro lens.

Light sources:
1) External flash- Can be anything from another camera (with inbuilt flash) to professional studio flash equipment (this light will have to be fired using a remote trigger or a willing friend with advanced-button-pushing-skills to fire the flash manually)
2) Table lamp to be used for focussing.

Smoke creating thing: Incense sticks or dhoop sticks should do the trick. A slightly thicker stick will produce a wider column of smoke compared to a thin one, but a thin column will give you more defined shapes.

Camera on tripod with the following settings:
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/8- f/16 (narrow aperture to capture sharp edges)
Shutter Speed: 1/160th of a second- 1/200th of a second.
Camera Mode & Lens Focus: Manual
White balance: Flash

Setup- from top angle: (behold my ninja level drawing skills) IMG_5984.JPG

Once you have shot the images, they should look something like this-

Dull grey smoke & black background

Import your image into Photoshop & follow the next 3 steps to get your super awesome colourful fine arty images.

  1. Invert the colours by hitting Command+ I  (or Ctrl+I if you’re on the windows OS)
    Your image will look something like this:


2. Create a new empty layer (Command+N) and use the gradient tool and fill the layer with the gradient of your choice.

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 5.39.58 pm

3. Change the blending mode of the gradient layer to SOFT LIGHT and voila!


Any gradient you like!Follow the instructions and give it a try!

Spreading the creative-vibrations, hope you have fun creating smoke art, you talented-genius fine-artist, you!



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