Playing with Smoke: Photoshop fun

Occasionally LPS (Loveland Photographic Society) has a challenge topic that inspires a little creativity. Smoke is fun, and thanks to Jim Digby, my foray into shooting smoke was relatively easy. With strobes and a black backdrop, and a few sticks of burning incense, it didn’t take long until we had well over a hundred images to choose from.

That’s just the beginning. Compositing the images is what really makes it interesting. In my title image, Smoke Girl by Candlelight, several techniques were utilized. First mirroring two smoke images to form the hair created the outline for the image. Next importing the eyes from a portrait seemed appropriate, however, I felt something was lacking.

Creating the ball of smoke is a relatively simple process. With the elliptical marquee, hold down your shift key to form a true circle and select some smoke. Then go to filters and choose distort>spherize. At 100%, spherize 2 or 3 times to create the curvature.

Next I added the flame. I lit a candle and photographed the flame, then selected just that portion to add to the image. I then put highlights in the eyes simply by creating new layers of the flame and overlaying them on the pupils. Size to fit.

Following are some additional images with mirrored smoke on black backgrounds:

sitting buddha

monkey staredown

Double Smoke


Specific questions can be directed to me at [email protected], or comment on this blog.

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