My previous post (available here) detailed some of my process for taking photographs of smoke. Today I thought I’d give a few more examples.

This shot titled Smokin’ Sax has been rotated just past 180 degrees. When I saw the lined up spirals of smoke I immediately thought of a saxophone and attempted to line up the smoke to appear as one. As I said earlier, the color is added in processing, so I chose a gold color to further enhance the similarity to a sax.

The Rose

On this one, I held a cup over the smoke stream for about 10 seconds then quickly removed the cup and took the picture. This created the curls at the top. In processing I then inverted the image to create the white background and added the rose color.

The Smoking Gun

This picture of a smoking gun barrel was created by holding an unloaded (and magazine removed) Glock handgun over the incense stick and letting the smoke drift upward. The smoke worked its way through the gun and out of the barrel. I chose to leave the smoke its natural color of grayish white.


On this one, I allowed the smoke stream to calm down to just a single column and then gently placed a spoon over it. The smoke then accumulated under the spoon briefly before coming out around the edges.

Put a Fork in it (inverted)

Similar to the above shot, I placed the fork into the stream and allowed the utensil to disrupt the smokes flow. This one was also inverted to create the white background.

Put a Fork in it

Here’s the same shot as above, but without the invert.

Silky Flames

And lastly, this shot was rotated 90 degrees clockwise to enhance the presentation. With the invert and the rotation, I felt it looked like silk blowing in the wind.

There you have it, my first few attempts at smoke shots. I used simple incense sticks that I purchased for under $5.00. For a background I used a black sheet and then placed my light source (a Canon 430EX strobe) at about an 80 degree angle. Feel free to comment with any questions or comments.