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So, I’m finally doing what I said I would, and uploading a couple more examples of smoke photography that I’ve processed in Photoshop. And yes, I do recognize that smoke photography is in no way an original idea, and some of my methods for processing them are derived from examples I’ve seen. This was mainly an exercise to improve my technical skills, and really just to see if I could do it!

The above photo was relatively simple to process. In Photoshop, I converted the image to black and white, with the Black and White adjustment layer. I then added the Invert adjustment layer, and make slight changes to the contrast. Voila! Cool smoke.
This purple smoke was also pretty simple to create. I took one of the original smoke photos, opened it in Photoshop as a layer. I then added the following adjustment layers: Hue/Saturation, Color Balance, and Color Mixer. I didn’t use any specific settings, but just played around with the sliders in each layer until I achieved an effect I wanted. Changing the color of smoke and making it look good is most easily done with my favorite “guess and check” method.
Who doesn’t love rainbows right? This was quite an experimental photograph. I had seen multicolored smoke photos before, and wanted to see if I could figure it out for myself. Again, I opened the original smoke photo as a layer in Photoshop. I duplicated that layer and dropped the opacity to around 60%. I then added a rainbow gradient, switched the blending mode to “Overlay” and adjusted the opacity until I achieved the effect I wanted. Contrast and Hue/Saturation adjustment layers were also added to alter the intensity of the color, and to keep it looking somewhat realistic.
And there we are! If anyone has additional questions about smoke photography, or the post-processing please feel free to ask by comment or by emailing me.

I’ve seen a lot of examples of smoke photography lately, and wanted to give it a try myself. A pretty good amount turned out well, and I’m going to do some photoshop experimenting with the color on a few, but here’s the first of the set. This one only has minor edits done in Lightroom.

Here’s a diagram of the setup I used to get the shot:

The setup was pretty basic. I had my camera level with the smoke against a black background. I used a Canon Speedlite with a snoot to light the smoke, at a 90 degree angle to the camera and at the same height. The important thing is to light only the smoke, and to not let any light spill onto the backdrop. I shot with a wide angle lens and cropped the images in Lightroom (shot at ISO 100 so that the extreme crops still look good)

After my Photo a Day/365 project ends on December 31st, I’ll have more time to update this blog, which will include the rest of the smoke shots!