Tag Archive for: smoke

Workshop results smoke and props and tips for smoke machines

Today some of the results from the workshop “smoke and props” with Esther.
This was the first time we used a totally new set painted by our intern Angela.


For the workshops we always try to come up with new ideas and sets and I this time we decided to go for the color red, which is found back in the set, the clothing and of course the props used in the set. As you can also see building a set doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s important that you create a certain “look/Atmosphere” and it will transport the viewer to that place, while in fact…. well it’s just in your studio (or home).


Smoke for me is often the magic ingredient, adding it always transforms a set from OK to wow, but that’s very personal.
This workshop did proof by the way why I always advise to have two smoke machines at hand…. one of them broke down and because we always have two we could continue the workshop and luckily for us our neighbor rents also smoke machines so we could actually continue with two, seeing the price of most smoke machines (below $100.00) I think you should never ever run the risk of having to stop or cancel a session due to equipment failure.


Now which smoke machine should you buy?
Get the once that are WATER based, don’t go for the OIL based ones.
The oil ones do start up quicker but they can “kill” your strobes.


Except the tinting and sharpening these shots are pretty much straight out of the camera. We used several strobes to light the scene and the model and the shutter was used to let in the ambient light from the chandelier and the lights on the branches.

Esther Keuze May 16 2015   0221

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Using smoke and colors

Using smoke in a photoshoot is cool, it really adds some extra “oempf” to a shot, and it helps to mask uninteresting backgrounds of course.
When you start adding color to the smoke shot I always feel the shots are extra special.


In these shots I used a standard (cheap) smoke machine and one strobe with a red gel, as you can see I shoot under an almost straight angle into the light source. Because of the way smoke behaves you get a beautiful effect, adding a bit of Intensify pro from MacPhun (you can also use Topaz clarity of course or NIK tonal contrast) really finishes the shot.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142098

Lenaa Juli 25 20142111

Many different looks from one setup

Often I’m asked what kind of setups I use and what kind of modifiers.
What people often don’t realize is that with only one modifier you can chance a lot just by playing with the angles and controlling the contrast/lightfall off. In fact placing a light closer or further away also makes a huge impact on the image look, add to this the option to feather a light source (using the sides of the light) and you know that there is a lot possible with one modifier and light.


It gets even more interesting when you are combining two strobes and for example add a gel to one of them.
During the workshop this weekend I made a setup like this with our model Lennaa and decided it would be a cool thing to share on the blog.


I started out with one strobe with a red gel.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142025

To get a bit more “punch” in the image I added another strobe without gel under the same angle to mix the two.

Lenaa Juli 25 20142035 Read more

Martial arts

Today a second part of the motion/action workshops I taught last week.
When looking for themes for this workshop I actually met Melvin via one of our models (Marie), and when I heard he was into martial arts I did not have to think twice and invited him over to be one of the models for these special 2 day workshops. He loves doing this kind of stuff and that helps a lot when you have to ask him to do some moves over and over again, but he did great 😀


We added a “little” bit of smoke to spice things up.
Melvyn Pluijmers Maart 13 2014  (23 of 81)-Edit

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