Smoke is not something that people appreciate to have around them, but its image can be astoundingly aesthetic. Its undefined structure and size provide the photographer enough scope to be creative in capturing it in photos. As a photographer, you should have the skill to click finer details to capture smoke.
Here are the top 3 smoke photography tips for beginners:-
If you don't have a DSLR, go for a camera that has a manual aperture, focus, and shutter speed control options. Depending on how much dense smoke you want, you have plenty of options to choose from as the source of the smoke. You can preferably use a tripod, as it makes shooting easier. You won't need to worry about shaky hands, and can concentrate on shooting only when you use a tripod. You can use an off-camera flash to light up the smoke. If you want to illuminate the smoke, even more, you might opt for a reflector too. Remember to have a portable source of light, like a torch, to light up the path of smoke.
Shutter Speed:- Needles to say, the shutter speed should be quick - 1/125 second or faster, to capture the fast-moving smoke.
ISO:- Set the ISO as low as possible because a higher ISO would create grains in the picture, which is not desirable.
Aperture:- As you don't know which path the smoke would trace, it is always good to take a larger amount of area in focus. Deep depth of field will produce a clear and crisp image, which is necessary for smoke photography. To have this, choose a smaller aperture.
Light:- As you will choose a fast shutter speed along with a low ISO and a small aperture, you will not get enough light for exposing the picture. So, illuminate the smoke with the flash.
Clicking the shot:-
Here comes the most delicate part of the process. Switch off all the lights in the room or studio you are shooting in. Light the source of the smoke. Don't rush to click just when the smoke begins to spread. Instead, After you turn out the lights in your studio, follow the path it takes, and focus your camera where you assume that the smoke will reach in a moment, set the torch, and click the shutter. You might experiment with the shape and form of the smoke by lighting two incense sticks at a time. Generally, you can get a good shot at a point around 3 centimeters over the source of the smoke. Try using a black background to emphasize the contrast that the smoke makes with it. There will not be the problem of stray light that bounces off the background. Post-processing becomes easier too if you use a black background. Don't forget to darken the room completely, except for your selected sources of lights, because excess light will reduce the contrast of smoke and background.
And there is an additional tip for you- make sure the studio or room you are shooting in is well-ventilated. It is because the smoke will spread all over the room very quickly, and you need to evacuate smoke from the room from time to time, otherwise, the photos would become hazy.
Written by Sanga Basu, Content Writer, WPC.