Shooting with Smoke Bombs on Location: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey – Howtoshtab – how to, lifehacks, tips and tricks

In this video I show you how to take some great location portraits by adding smoke. AdoramaTV presents Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey. Hello, I’m Gavin Hoey and your watching AdoramaTV, brought to you by Adorama the camera store that has everything for us photographers. In this video well you can see we’re out in the woods. I’m going to do a portrait shoot with a little bit of a difference. We’re going to add some smoke to our portrait shoot. Now to create smoke in the woods I’m going to use one of these, this is a smoke grenade. This sort of thing you get from a paintball park.

Now there is a bunch of instructions on the sides well worth reading before you start. But basically common sense prevails. Don’t let this off in a public place these can be used for warnings as well as for entertainment and also use a bit of health and safety. These let-off sparks when you first fire them up. So a pair of safety goggles is always a good idea. They can get hot as well so gloves are really useful too. For your model, well they can stain clothing so, if they’re wearing white you might want to consider that. And of course if anybody has any breathing issues, you’re gonna get a lot of smoke from these. So bear that in mind too. Okay let’s set the lights up, get our model in and get shooting. So today I’m joined in the woods by Fern, who’s going be the model for this shoot. Now before I go anywhere near smoke I’ve got to get everything set up correctly, because the smoke only last a really small period time.

The smoke bomb about a minute to 2 minutes at most even for one that size. So first thing to do is to work out the exposure. Now I’m going to use a bit of flash to fill in the shadows here. I’ve got my Streaklight 360 in a little soft box but let’s start without the flash and work out the ambient light. So working in manual mode I’m going to come back here and I’m going to take a meter reading and my camera is telling me f/4. So the correct exposure is f/4 but I want to under expose by a stop to bring back some of the highlight detail get a bit more drama in my shot so I’m gonna work at f/5.6. Okay let’s just take a test shot and see how this looks. At f5.6 that looks pretty good we got some detail in the sky and we got some detail in the shadows but it is quite dramatic. Fern looks a little bit underexposed. So what I need to do is I need to get the flash to be the same exposure as my camera, f/5.6.

So let’s just pop the meter underneath Fern’s chin. Nearly there. We’ll just adjust the flash power. So my flash matches my camera and my camera is under exposing the background that should give me a great looking shot but let’s just do a test shot and see how it goes. Lovely and one more. So that looks really good. Now there’s only one potential downside. We wanted blue smoke and well we got purple smoke. Which is almost the same but clearly it doesn’t match the dress. Now that could be a complete disaster, but fortunately I’ve got a little Photoshop trick that I’ll come to later that’ll solve this problem for us. So there is only one more thing to do before we actually set the smoke bomb off and that’s to make your everybody knows what’s going on. So I’ve been joined by my team, well Sam, who is normally on the other side the video camera and she’s gonna be in charge of the smoke and I’m in charge at the photography, Ferns in charge of modelling.

So the idea is that Sam you’re going to walk backwards and forwards behind Fern, move the smoke around and that’s basically it. Everybody knows what they’re doing, we’re good to go with the shoot. So Sam, if your ready. Fire it up. The smoke takes a while to get going. Okay well done. Okay so there we go the smoke lasted for about a minute. That was pretty good going. We got some greatly little shots in there. You have to work quickly with smoke bombs because well they don’t last very long but that all part of the fun. Okay let’s set something else up and have another go. So we’re going do one more shoot with smoke, and this time we gonna do a bit more of a conceptual shoot. So we’ve got a small bird cage and we’re going to put a smoke bomb inside the birdcage. Quick tip when your doing this make sure that the end where the smoke comes out from the smoke bomb is pointing away from your model.

Okay so I’ve got everything ready. Sam’s going do the smoke and then move along with Fern So we’re going to do a walking shot, moving the flash as we go. Everybody ready? Okay, Let’s do the shoot. Ok, Fern will you start walking towards me? Can you hold that down a little bit lower? Lovely, that’s it. Okay we got a nice little run out of that. We managed to reverse things. Go the other direction. Hopefully we got some great shots in there, but there’s only one way to find out. That’s to jump over to Photoshop and I’m going to do that right now. So as it turns out the company that make the smoke bombs, make a whole range of colors. One of them is also blue. So in theory I could have saved myself a little bit of photoshop work by getting a better matching color. But having a different color for the dress and the smoke does give me the option to change either to get a really close match. Not an exact match. But close.

Let’s have a look. So here is Fern in the woods with a blue dress, purple smoke and green background and it’s important to note that the three colors are all different, and that makes this job so much easier. Right let’s go a little bit closer over the dress so we can see what’s happening. Ideally I would do this with an adjustment layer to give you that extra level of control but because it’s such a small dialog box with the adjustment layer I’m actually going to use a layer straight on top and do it this way with hue saturation. So I could just change the hue, and when I do everything changes. That’s not really the effect I’m after today. I wanna be much more targeted and just changed the Blues in the shot. I’m gonna come here where it says master and drop it down and choose blues. That make sense.

That’s what I want to change. So with the blue selected, is it actually blue the dress? Well once you’ve selected any of the colors and it honestly actually wouldn’t have mattered which color I chose, I then have access to these little eyedropper tools and if I choose the dress by clicking it, I’ll find out the actual address is more cyan and then blue if anything. Right that’s fine that’s my basic selection done. Now I need to make sure that only the dress changes. I’m gonna do that by increasing the hue to maximum and the saturation to maximum. Now pretty obviously I don’t want an orange dress but what i’m looking at is the color around. Is it changing on these extreme settings? You’ll see it really clearly if it does. Answer is no, it’s okay at the moment but there is some areas I missed. I’ve missed bits so let’s just get the eyedropper tool, and we’ll click a few areas just to add those in.

Get as many of those as I can. There’s a few little bits down here. Once I’ve done that I can then come down to the little.. to the, well rainbow effect at the bottom I guess and I can move these sliders around and if I go too far you can instantly see which bits are also gonna be affected. So I don’t to change that but I do want to get as much of there sort of greenie, cyans I can. So let’s just bring that out and similarly with the the purples, yeah I don’t want to affect the purples but I do want as much purple in that dress as possible. Now if Fern was standing against a more more tightly covered similar background, I would have needed to do a selection before doing this. But as its stands that’s pretty good. Now if you wanted a bright orange dress, stop there because that would be absolutely perfect. Very eye-catching.

Really not what I’m after for this shot. I’ve just on that so I can see what’s changing. Now I can come and fine tune the results. So clearly I don’t need as much saturation and I don’t need the hue to be there. I’m looking for a hue that kinda matches, a saturation at kinda matches the smoke. That looks pretty good. I’m gonna stop there and click OK and once I’ve done that, from a distance this looks pretty good. We’ve got a nice matching color but up close things aren’t quite so good. There is a definite weirdness in color around here at the top of the dress. To deal with the small areas I’m just gonna make a brand-new layer. I’m gonna come to my foreground color which is currently black and I’ll just sample a nice bright purply color from up here somewhere. That will do, and then with a paintbrush I can just paint that color onto the dress directly. So, nice small brush we’ll just add in the strap, which is more grey if anything.

The other one here and the same with the other colors here as well. Maybe a little bit of a lighting color for that area. Let’s just see if we can sample a darker color. There you go. Now you’re looking at this I reckon and thinking, that is the least convincing paint job ever. It looks like you’ve just taken a paintbrush and gone over the top well that’s because I’ve just taken a paintbrush and just gone over the top. I will make it better but first thing to say is to get this to look better takes a bit of time. Not a lot of time but more than we have in this video. You really don’t want to sit and watch me paint round the edges and of the dress. So once you’ve done most of the work. You then need to blend it in, and I’m going to blend it in by changing the layer blending mode from normal all the way down to color towards the bottom and that will pick up the texture from one layer and the color from the active layer. We could even drop the opacity just to soften the effect down slightly and that should allow me just to add in some color to those areas. Okay so there you go.

There is my blue dress turned purple matching the smoke and creating a wonderful picture out in the woods. Well that really was a great fun shoot. Fern did brilliantly. The woods looked amazing and the smoke really added that extra element of excitement. Now if you wanna see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters here on AdoramaTV, you know what you’ve got to do. You got to Click on the subscribe button. I’m Gavin Hoey. Thanks for watching. Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service. Adorama pixs has professionals who treat your images with the utmost care that you can count on. For a quick turnaround on photos, cards or albums use adoramapix.com.

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