Snapping Smoke

Heres to how ive taken the snaps of smoke… like the one above. Ive not used hi-fi equipment as such… just some technique that i came up with some experimentation.
Saw such photographs in my early days of experimentation with photography, and was completely intrigued. This website – Sensitive Light – is what inspired me… This guy is awesome…he uses a totally different technique from what i do – and thats because he can afford the equipment!!!!

Well – this is how i do it –
1. Black background – chart paper, cloth, anything – i just make sure its not reflective in any way…
2. Burn an incense stick in front of the background..
3. Set my camera on a tripod – use shutter on bulb mode, low aperture to get a higher depth of field… and low ISO
4. Darken the room completely…. all kinds of light… the only thing to guide me from here on is the red glow of the incense…
5. Use my external flash – u can also use a second camera – cause this is only being used to provide that one flash of light to stop the motion of the smoke
6. now… click the camera… and while holding the shutter open, fire the flash manually (or use the other camera to click and generate flash) –
7. the flash has to be from around the 10 o’clock position.. directed at about the 4 o’clock position… this is to make sure, that there is minimalistic lighting on the background – as we need it as black as possible.

Thats about it!… i end up taking 100’s of snaps to get a few i can actually work with.

Post processing includes adjusting the levels to get the background black and the smoke as sharp as possible. Then either invert it for a white background, or keep it black, and colour it in photoshop…

So thats it… try.. experiment… and let me know…

for any more details – please do mail me at
more snaps of smoke on the photography section at

Take care u guys… and happy clicking ;-)!

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