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A fast-growing trend is smoke bomb photography. Smoke bombs provide a colorful smoke haze that can highlight photos of such events as weddings, proms, Halloween; and gender reveals. They are relatively easy to use if you follow some precautions and tips.
Buy smoke bombs either in a tube or as a grenade. Smoke grenades that ignited by pulling a ring do not admit sparks, are cool burning and much more expensive. Smoke bombs with fuses admit sparks, can get hot to touch and will sometimes explode. Use fuse lit smoke bombs in broad areas that are free of debris or dry vegetation or better yet on cement. If your grenade/smoke bomb is slow to admit smoke, it may be clogged and could explode. Get away from the burning smoke bomb until it has finished smoking. Dispose of all smoke bombs in a bucket of water.
Both types can stain clothes. If the smoke is going to be near the subject, wear clothing that can be washed and be prepared to toss them. When taking prom pictures and other pictures where the people wear delicate fabrics, the smoke bombs need to be lit a reasonable distance behind the models and precautions taken that the smoke does not blow towards them.
You can purchase smoke bombs online and sometimes in stores depending on your state’s rules for the product.
Don’t use smoke bombs on windy days as it may blow sparks into other areas causing fires as well as blowing away the smoke you want to capture. Best wind speed is calm, but a slight breeze of less than five mph should work.
Never use smoke bombs on hot, dry days as it increases the fire risk.
Most common recommended settings are:
ISO-100 if you don’t want noise
Shutter speed 1/1000- will catch the smoke trails.
The best time for photos is at the golden hour-the hour before sunset.
Smoke Bomb Photography Tips
Stay away from crowds of people and check first if your location allows you to use smoke bombs.
Tell whoever is holding a smoke grenade to drop it immediately if it gets hot.
The smoke bombs last about 60 to 90 seconds so have more than one on hand.
Plan out your smoke bomb photos before igniting the smoke grenade. Who is going to hold it the subject or assistant? Or are you going to use the colorful smoke as a backdrop by lighting them on the ground?
A bomb held in one spot will create clouds of smoke with little movement. If you want trails, you need to keep it moving. Slower movements will create thicker smoke.
If the subject of the photo is holding the grenade, instruct the person to keep moving, so a cloud of smoke doesn’t cover up their face. An assistant can hold the grenade and can either circle the subject or wave the smoke bomb up and down to one side. Never let children hold smoke bombs.
I hope this helps you with trying out this new trend. Always remember safety first.
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