Although it sounds simple, photographs of smoke are actually incredibly beautiful and interesting shots. It’s not something you see photographed everyday, and with the right equipment and setup, it’s not too difficult to capture. Besides good Canon SLR cameras, you will need an external flash, an incense stick (or something else to produce a lot of smoke), a dark color background, a reflector, and a tripod. Also, the room should be well ventilated.
The shutter speed needs to be fast since the smoke is constantly moving. A small aperture will give a greater depth of field to capture all the details in the smoke. Use a low ISO to avoid too much grain or noise, but keep the flash at full strength to get the right amount of exposure. All doors and windows should be closed. Shoot in manual focus mode and I would advice turning off the lights in the room. Your goal is to under-expose the background and light up the smoke. Putting objects in the smoke’s trail will make the smoke flow more interesting.
Open up a window every 10 minutes to ventilate the room. It’s not only better for your health, it’s better for your shots. A smoke buildup will create a haze in the photos.
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