A few stills from my actual work.
Creating pictures like psychedelic paintings was my target, as I decided to shoot the «smoke» series. The results look crazy and I like it.
It's not rocket science to create these photos. The only things you'll need are incense sticks (the scent is up to your choice and doesn't affect the final picture), a really, really dark room with a possibility to open the window frequently, a system flashlight and your DSLR. A tripod helps too. Last but not least you should add a little Photoshop skills and you're done. If you like to do some shots like these by yourself, you'll find a little tutorial at the end of this post.
Brief tutorial to shoot smoke pictures: 1.) You'll need a piece of cloth (black and as matte as it can be, best is to take velours). This piece of cloth should not reflect any light. Use it as background. 2.) Place an incense stick in front of the cam. The distance depends on how much smoke you like to see in your final frame. 3.) Form with a piece of cardboard a cone (approx. 30cm in length), with the diameter of the size of your flash on one end and a slightly smaller opening on the other. Tape this cone to your flash as a custom made light former and point with it at the incense stick. 4.) Light the incense stick and try an ideal framing of the smoke. 5.) Put your cam on the tripod in the appropriate distance as tested in step 4 and make your cam adjustments. I prefer f/8 and 1/60s Sutterspeed @ ISO 100 and my AF-S VR Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2,8G IF-ED. 6.) Turn off the lights and start shooting. Be aware that incense sticks produce a lot of smoke and dust. To prevent reflections from this dust open the window between each stick you want to light off. 7.) After shooting, start your prefered RAW developing process and choose a picture. 8.) Open it in Adobe Photoshop. Inverse the picture, set the white point as appropriate. Clean all spots from possible reflections with the stamp tool. 9.) Create a new layer and adjust it to "screen". Now paint with the brush tool and a color of your choice on the parts of the smoke you like to appear in this color. 10.) Put the transparency mode to a value of your choice. The exact amount depends on what style you like to achieve in the final picture. Now repeat this steps as often as you like with some more layers and different values of transparency and colors. That's it.
Enjoy, Alfredo Briccola
Legal: All pictures in the «Onehundred ISO Photography» Blog are property of Alfredo Briccola. It is strictly not allowed to copy, alter or use this pictures for print, electronic media or other media without the permission of the creator.