Abstract Photography: Taking Pictures of Smoke
Taking abstract photographs is one of my favorite pastimes. I can be creative, and use many different subjects that may look like something else. Smoke is a a great example of this concept. Using smoke, you can capture many different shapes and manipulate the colors to look like whatever you would like. Taking smoke photographs is not difficult, and can provide great fun and a chance for creativity.
The supplies for a photo of smoke is very simple. You will need a black background, an off camera flash, a sync cord, a tripod, a camera, and something to smoke. I usually use incense, as they burn steadily and the smoke trails may be manipulated easily.
If you have read my water drop photography guide, the method is quite similar. For this particular set of photos, you will need to set the flash up with the sync cord so that it is pointed at an angle towards the smoke. You may have to play with the flash so that it will adequately light the smoke that you are trying to illuminate. A reflector may be helpful here.
You will have to place the smoke source in front of a black background. You can make your own background, or purchase one on eBay or Amazon. You can also use black poster board or mat board. It is best to set this up on a table.
Place you camera on a tripod, and find an item to focus on so that your smoke will be in focus. It may be best to focus on the object that the smoke is coming from, increase your aperture for proper exposure, and raise the tripod without moving it front to back.
Set you camera to timer or remote setting so that you do not accidentally shake it while taking your pictures,. You will need to shut off all the lights in the room you are located. Light the source, and fire away!
Some Creative Tips
Do some fun things in the air. See if you can get the smoke to pile up with different things. Block it with objects. Twirl it with your hands. Make it look like smoke is coming from your brother's ears. It's abstract. Be creative!