How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos

Five photographers share their tips for making the ultimate smoke bomb photos. Infuse your photographs with color and texture using smoke bombs!


We talked to five photographers who have experience making smoke bomb photos, and asked them for their tips and ideas. See how these artists are bringing their photos to life with billowing smoke, bright colors, and creative lighting!


Add Vibrant Color to Your Photos with Smoke Bombs

Smoke bombs come in an array of colors. By mixing and matching tones, you can dramatically enhance the color palette of any image. This series by Bruna Kitchen is an excellent example of how colorful smoke bombs can make muted images pop.

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Bruna Kitchen

Tips from Bruna Kitchen Photography | Texas

What do you and your clients love about smoke bomb photos?

Smoke bombs make all images and scenarios look so magical! They create a unique atmosphere for the shoot.

What are your top tips for taking smoke bomb photos?

  1. Do not use a smoke bomb indoors.
  2. Make sure the smoke bomb is not pointed toward your client’s or model’s clothes. It can stain the outfits!
  3. Do not place smoke bombs on dead grass. They can start a fire!

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Bruna Kitchen
How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Bruna Kitchen

Amp Up the Romance with Smoke Bomb Photos

Smoke bomb photos don’t need massive clouds of smoke to have impact. Make your images dreamy and romantic with wisps of foggy color and layers of mist-like smoke.

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Cait Fletcher

Tips from Cait Fletcher Photography | Connecticut

What do you and your clients love about smoke bomb photos?

The color choices!  Who doesn’t love a pop of color?  In this one photo that you’ll see, the smoke even made a heart!  It was fate!

What are your top tips for taking smoke bomb photos?

1.  Have backup smoke bombs. You’ll want to have enough in stock for all the photos you need!
2.  Be aware of the wind. Sometimes the wind can change and could blow the smoke right in front of the subjects.


Smoke bombs tend to be pretty stinky – and they’re not healthy for your lungs! You may find it best to let the smoke dissipate for 10-20 seconds before placing your subjects in its path. At the very least, make sure the source itself isn’t too near your clients.

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Cait Fletcher

Lighting Makes Smoke Bomb Photos Even More Fun!

Add a few off-camera flashes to create interesting shadows and shapes with your smoke! Be careful not to use an on-camera flash fired directly at the smoke, however. It can bounce off thick clouds of smoke, completely obscuring your clients and flattening the appearance of the smoke texture.

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Lavender Bouquet Photography

Tips from Lavender Bouquet Photography | Washington

What do you and your clients love about smoke bomb photos?

I think clients like them because it’s a newer trend, and it’s a fun way to add a pop (or three) of color into an image. We like them because they are a challenge! We use a lot of off-camera flash, and the smoke scatters the light, which can work for us or against us depending on the look we’re going for. Sometimes the photos come out differently than expected, but the result is always awesome!

What are your top tips for taking smoke bomb photos?

  1. Buy from a reputable smoke bomb vendor. Read reviews about how long they last, etc.
  2. Bring more than one smoke bomb because one could be a dud, or they may burn out too quickly.
  3. Make sure your clients are okay with maybe getting some color from the smoke on their clothes. It’s best to wait until the very end of a shoot to bust out the smoke bombs!

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Lavender Bouquet Photography

Create Your Own Backdrop with Smoke Bombs

Say goodbye to unsightly scenery when you use smoke bombs to hide a dull background. Just be aware that most smoke bombs only last about 60 seconds, so you need to be ready to shoot the moment you have the look you’re going for!

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Chip Dizárd Studios

Tips from Chip Dizárd Studios | Maryland

What do you and your clients love about smoke bomb photos?

We love that we are able to create a different background using two colors of smoke!

What are your top tips for taking smoke bomb photos?

  1. Bring an assistant. It’s hard to use smoke bombs alone! Make sure your assistant knows how to use smoke bombs, too, because you only have one chance.
  2. Choose a location that is not crowded. Smoke bombs attract a lot of attention, and you don’t need people peeking through to see what is going on!

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Chip Dizárd Studios

Tell a Stronger Story with Smoke Bomb Photos

For particularly innovative, story-driven images, smoke bombs can elevate the mood and enhance the drama. Combined with the right post-production, you’ll have a finished photo that looks like it was shot on a movie set.


Tips from Capture Wonder Photography | Georgia

What are your top tips for taking smoke bomb photos?

  1. Make sure your lighting and camera settings are perfect before you ignite the smoke bomb. You only have 30-60 seconds to capture the shots before the bomb goes out.
  2. Smoke is unpredictable, and it will blow between you and your subject. Direct your subject to be conscious of themselves and the camera. If they can’t see the camera, that means the camera can’t see them! 

How to Make Sensational Smoke Bomb Photos
Smoke Bomb Photos by Capture Wonder Photography

Drop Your Own Smoke Bomb Tips in the Comments Below!

Share with the ShootProof community:

  • Which smoke bombs are the best for photos?
  • What safety precautions should photographers take?
  • How have your clients responded to their own smoke bomb photos?

Written by ANNE SIMONE | Featuring BRUNA KITCHEN PHOTOGRAPHY, CAIT FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY, LAVENDER BOUQUET PHOTOGRAPHY, CHIP DIZÁRD STUDIOS, CAPTURE WONDER PHOTOGRAPHY


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