I Dare You!

by peter_budo

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Taking the pictures Use a joss stick: there's plenty of smoke and it lasts a while. When the room gets smokey, open the windows to get rid of the smoke, which will increase contrast in your pictures. I use a telephoto; it minimises the size of the backdrop needed. Make sure the backdrop is black. Use a flash camera left or right, and use a snoot to ensure ...


You can get rid of most of it in Lightroom/Camera Raw. Move the blacks/shadows sliders to the left. The fireworks are so bright they'll be at the other end of the histogram and largely unaffected. You could do this with levels or curves. At that point, your sky will be very black, so you can paint/mask out remaining smoke pretty easily It's possible ...


At least higher-end DSLR bodies and lenses have dust seals around controls, so if you're using one of those and avoid changing lenses in lot of smoke you should be fine.


Try increasing the Clarity slider (LR4) This should go someway to minimising the the smoke by increasing midtone contrast. You may still wish to increase overall contrast slightly using the black and white sliders in Lighteoom4. I would use these sparingly as a little goes a long way depending on the effect you are after.


Like in many other technical situation, the key is the right lighting setup (the lens has a very small importance). You should flash the smoke from the side, making sure you don't illuminate the black background. YouTube has many video tutorials on that (search "smoke photography"). Here's a random one.


Apart from following che's advice and relying on the build quality of the kit/not changing lenses, the only other thing I can think of is to use something like an underwater kit to enclose the camera completely! Undoubtedly overkill for your project, though.


Ensure that steam exists(I'm not confident with that being the case here) Add contrast to the background as you aren't going to see white steam on a white background Add depth to the steam with something other than flat lighting(i.e. add a directed harsh flash)


In Photoshop you could also add a layer behind, either of a gradient, from a sample section of the sky, from another photo, or by blurring the main picture, and then manually mask (not sure if that's the right term) away the smoke. Alternatively add a blank layer in front and use the clone stamp (or similar) to apply sections of sky over the smoke. Rather ...


Photograph the smoke with a black backround. Light the smoke from the side to keep the background dark and boost the constrast of the smoke against that background. In photoshop, invert the image so the background is now white. Use a Hue/Saturation layer, check the Colorize box, and use the hue slider to pick the color you want for the smoke (the ...

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