Shooting with Smoke Bombs on Location: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

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

100 Replies to “Shooting with Smoke Bombs on Location: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey”

  1. What is going on with the white balance of the video? It looks too much magenta to me.. or is it only me?

  2. as an amatuer, im thinking of getting the nikon d3300 what is ur perspective on that sir?? Your videos are are very educating!

  3. I would have liked to see a 35mm. There is too much space in this photo that isnt doing anything for the subject.

  4. great video, Gavin! A question: if the color around the dress had changed with the settings of hue/saturation what would you have done? A new layer?

  5. thank you for this great tutorial. But one question please, When i tried with white smoke, my picture comes filled with smoke. how can i keep my subject sharp in smoke ?

  6. Nice video… I ordered that glow pop box.. I have the smaller version and enjoy it very much, this will work out nicely.
    Looks like you had some fun with this one!

  7. Hi Gavin. I love the idea of doing a shot like this but finding private property to let a smoke grenade off might be tricky. Those grenades kick out a hell of a lot of smoke, probably more than most situations call for. I know from your other videos you have a smoke machine, have you thought about using that outside with a battery and power inverter? Just think with a machine it'd be much more controllable and probably be able to get away with using it anywhere, within reason.

  8. You are fantastic Gavin. Your are helping everyone who follows your channel every now and then…and I'm gonna be one of them. thanks also for posting the link on the description of those gears. and by the way, how do you call that thing that you use to match the f-stop of your lighting source with the camera, and does Adorama sell that too? kindly send/post the link. thanks bro. keep it up.

  9. Thanks, Gavin. So well articulated, terrific visual demo….I use hue/saturation all the time and was happy to learn something new (using the eyedropper to let photoshop tell me the true color of what's being sampled…)!


  10. the smoke grenades are from

    Very awesome company! Particularly , gavin used EG-18 smoke grenades.
    I've worked with representatives of the company and personally know people in the US portion of their franchise. (They are based in the UK)
    Check my Instagram out for some more ideas!

  11. this was so good that it gave me inspiration to go out on a shoot of my own with smoke grenades it was so much fun and i would love it if anyone who saw this could check it out !!

  12. Gavin Hoey, why did you use metering on camera to get ambient exposure? You have the better lightmeter in your other hand.

  13. Hey everyone! I also did a smoke bomb photoshoot on my channel and it would be awesome if you guys could check it out too 😁😁😁

  14. And at what time did you go for this shooting? And at what time do you advise me to go there? I specify that I have a very powerful 600ws as you 600ws flash.

  15. Hi Gavin . I am watching your video . I am very happy . Excellent video thankyou thankyou thankyou very much.

  16. Hi! Thanks so much for your tutorial. However, regarding postproduction, the experience I made with simply changing the hue of the whole image by selecting a color is, that usually it introduces a lot of weirdness on pixel level, with noise becoming more prominent or color banding even though it's not visible at first but will lead to problems when more processing steps are involved afterwards and is not the cleanest way of doing it. I would rather suggest to properly mask the dress AND use your method (which also has the benefit that you can then play around with the dress later with curves etc.).

    Regarding the use of soft brushes for hard edges: I also made the experience that masking and the blurring the mask leads to much better and consistent results (using brushes usually messes borders up as changing the brush size also changes the falloff – if you use a large brush for larger areas there will be a larger gradient, but if you have to use a smaller brush edges etc, the gradient becomes smaller due to the smaller brush diameter which will be visible when the masking or brushwork is used later on for heavier changes and also there isn't that much of a speed improvement). ^^

  17. some of the stuff you have linked isn't offered anymore. you have any suggestions on what to get in those spots instead

  18. How did you have your camera tell you whats the perfect Aperture f-stop number to use in the beginning of the video?

  19. Great video, unfortunately your assistant pointed the smoke bomb AT THE MODEL on the first smoke bomb whilst it was starting to burn!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *