February 06, 2011

Smoke Photography

Capturing smoke and fumes is a topic of fascinating photography. Capturing the details of smoke leaving its trail behind against a dark background is definitely a spellbinding experience for passionate photographers. The purpose of this post is to deliver a crisp-clear tutorial on how to photograph smoke.

Things needed:
A point-and-shoot digital camera/DSLR
Some incense sticks and match sticks

So are you ready with these things to try smoke photography? Wait. There is one thing that has to be considered before capturing smoke, and that's a dark background. A dark background complements the smoke and makes it more perceptible. Smoke photography includes 2 steps as discussed below…


Step 1: Getting the right smoke

Here are a couple of suggestions for getting the right smoke to capture…
1. Lightning incense stick
2. A hot cup of coffee or water giving off a steady steam

Step 2: Setting your camera to capture smoke flames

You must operate your camera in manual mode with flash enabled. The flash aids in halting the motion of the smoke and makes it clearly stand out from the background. Next, set the ISO to a medium value (200 to 400). Why not a low ISO? Because shooting with a low ISO is more prone to vibrations and blur. Why not a high ISO? If you are using a high ISO (greater than 800) then you may end up capturing smoke that is too bright and may not stand out off the background. Next thing is to set the focus and metering. Since the entire smoke fume has to get the attention, it is recommended to use multi focus setting combined with multi metering mode. This ensures that the entire smoke and fumes are in the necessary focus of the camera.
That is all you need to know before trying this artistic photography – smoke photography.
Sample smoke captured by my digital-camera 

smoke photography   smoke photography