Smoke and Mirrors


A Clean Background

The simplest thing to do is to use a complete black or white background against which you can experiment with smoke. It is important that you pay attention to the background at the initial stages so as to avoid difficulties during postproduction. You can try different coloured backgrounds too, but usually smoke is best visible and more dramatic against a white or black background.

You can mirroring your smoke images or using a reflective surface in order to create unique images. Photograph/Manan Upadhyaya

Objects at Home

A simple incense stick can be used to create smoke. These are reasonably easy to manage and burn for a long time. You can effectively light up smoke by placing two tungsten lamps on either side of the incense stick.

To get a thick density of smoke, use three or four incense sticks. You can make smoke look better by adjusting the colours during postprocessing. Photograph/Miguel Ugalde

Make Room for Some Air

Perfecting smoke photography is difficult, and takes a lot of trial and error. After a while, smoke tends to build up in the room in which you are shooting. This can result in scattering of light and can make your pictures look hazy and unsharp. Therefore, make sure that you ventilate the room every 20 minutes or so, in order to get those crisp tendrils of smoke.