Here are 10 tips to capture them:
1. Use Telephoto Lens
We use telephoto with a zoom lens to control our composition. You have to ‘zoom out’ to photograph the entire smoke and ‘zoom in’ to get the smoke details.
2. Go for “Pure Black Background”
A pure black background is must to capture a smoke image. This pure black background will make smoke blending exponentially easier.
3. Use Studio Strobe
We recommend you to use studio strobe rather than a pocket strobe. This helps in getting even lighting. Don’t you want the light to be there from top to bottom, without any hot spot? Buy a studio strobe to get even lighting throughout the smoke.
4. Keep Flash Duration in Mind
What do you know about “Flash Duration”? Well, it is the time taken to power up and emits a flash. Here’s a quick note, when you are shooting with a 1/16 power, flash gets activated for a shorter duration than at 1/1 power. Why this quick note? Well, smoke moves really quickly and with a duration too long, your smoke will not come clear.
5. Edge Light is important
Never ever light from the front when shooting smoke. Curious to know why? So, this will not only create a flat look but will kill all the details. Light the smoke from side to illuminate and preserve all the details.
6. Make ‘Strip box with Grid’ your Modifier
A strip box with grid will create an even lightning and also prevents light from spilling from sides. Light spilling will not only blur the background colour but even hit your lens, which creates undesired flares.
7. Fine Smoke Effect comes with Wise Choice
When you want to shoot fog with a fog machine or mist-creating machines, go for an outdoor setting. This way fog will dissipate quickly and you are ready for next shot in no time. If you choose an indoor setting, the fog will not get settled and will affects the next shot.
Go for indoor setting when shooting for detailed and smaller smoke texture. This way your shot will not suffer due to wind and movement.
8. Keep Different Tools in your Kit
Mist, Smoke and Fog come in a different form, size and textures. In order to match your requirement, you need to blend your images with different tools. Cigars, fog machine, cigarettes, incense and matches create different smoke textures and look. So, play with them smartly.
9. Must have “Accessories”
Here is the list of must have accessories to make most of your shoot.
- Clamps- They do the work of clamp diffusion sheets, smoke modifiers and backdrops
- Matthews Apple Boxes- This is used to prop up the object that creates smoke
- Dust Blower- It gives us wisps of wind and control of where we want the smoke to go.
10. Don’t Skip Post- Process Work
The post-production work includes increasing blacks colour, cropping, color correcting, removing undesired things. Never miss this step to enhance it.
We hope this article helps you in capturing smoke and fog. Go and have fun capturing!
The featured model in the photographs is Leena Alam. Born in Afghanistan, she is an award-winning Afghan film actress.
She had appeared in many films and won many international awards:
- Best Actress – Kabul International Film Festival, 2008
- Best Actress – Tolo Film Festival, 2009
- Best Actress – Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival, 2013
- Best Actress – Negah-e-No Film Festival, 2014
- Best Actress (honorary) – Herat-International Women’s Film Festival, 2014
- Best Actress – Negah-e-No Film Festival, 2015
- Best Actress – Mehrgan International Film Festival, 2015
- Best Actress – Herat-International Women’s Film Festival, 2015
- Best Actress – Nomination, Seoul International Drama Awards 2016
- Honorary Award for Contribution to Afghan Cinema – The Afghan International Film Festival in Stockholm Sweden 2017