When it comes to adding elements other then the subject to a photograph, I find that we as photographers have the tendency to just toss that element into the frame. The problem with that is that at times it just becomes a prop instead of becoming an extension of the subject.  Baby-stepping our way into a deeper understanding of this struggle, a fellow colleague and I decided that we should begin this journey into element addition with something easy...smoke...

What I found exciting about this concept was figuring out where and how the the smoke should be placed.  A perfect example would be the photo above. Usually as photographers, we look for shaded areas in order to give our subjects the best lighting as possible. Dapple lighting, for those that know,  does have its benefits, but at times can make or break a photo. In the case of this shot, it worked out towards our benefit by adding drama to the smoke. Noticing this sliver of light in the background, we decided it would add an awesome key light to our smoke. 

Another important lesson we learned was that of preparation. We found that the best approach to this type of photography was to have everything set up before lighting the smoke bombs. With the assistance of the model's mother, we were able to set ourselves up before hand in order to not lose time having to light the smoke bomb and run back.  

William HarrisComment