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Working with smoke bombs on a wedding day can be incredibly good fun! Not only for you as the photographer to be creative with them, but for your couple too! Our couple had bought quite an abundance of them specifically for the shoot and so we decided to bring along their bridesmaids and best men to join in on the fun.

If you have never used smoke bombs before, just keep in mind that the smoke flows with the wind (obviously) and so make sure to position yourself accordingly. You can be downwind and let the smoke blow over you which can be super cool – and you can also be upwind and have it flow away so you can capture a clearer shot of your subjects. All in all, just have good fun with it.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

Smoke bombs don’t last for too long so we had to make sure our couple and crew knew what we wanted before they started them. We told the friends to “party and dance” with our couple and just as that was happening, we encouraged our couple to go in for a beautiful, gentle kiss.

What did you say?

Guys! When the smoke starts, all start partying and jumping around the couple! have fun! (Couple) go in for a kiss!! hold her close and keep your smoke bombs up high

How did you compose your image?

We wanted to create an image that gave the viewers the impression of being amongst the fun & chaos. We moved in closer to the action and lowered ourselves ever so slightly so we could capture more of the smoke while also keeping the moment the center of attention. With the friends circling around the couple, they naturally formed a frame which leads the eyes straight to the kiss of our couple.

How and what did you focus on?

Focusing when the smoke blows straight into your camera can be hugely challenging – and so in this case, with the smoke blowing away from us, we had no problem locking on to our couple. We moved our focus point over our brides face and let it lock on before firing in burst mode.


How did you use the light in your image?

During the shoot, the sky became overcast which helped tremendously with softening the contrasts of the highlights and shadows. Because we had this small window of good light, we focused more on the composition and moment than the placement of the light since soft light generally works from any angle.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

We edited this shot with our protea presets and adjusted the white balance to get the skin tones we wanted. We then experimented in the HSL Sliders to bring out even more color in the smoke while also controlling the orange tones to stop them from becoming oversaturated. We then added a radial filter to create a manual vignette which helped to bring the attention to the couple in the middle.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

Working with smoke bombs does have it’s challenges. They don’t last very long, the smoke can be quite unpredictable with soft wind and in some cases, the smoke can actually stain or mark clothing (wedding dress included).

How did you solve them?

By giving our subjects a briefing of what we want to achieve before starting the smoke bombs meant that when they did start, we could maximise the use of them as everyone already knew what to do.

By being upwind of the group, we also let the smoke blow away from everyone as to not let it stain or mark their outfits.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Working with smoke bombs is great fun! If you have enough of them, try include the best-men and bridesmaids. Its really cool to see them all enjoying it together and having a good time.

If you’re doing a “party” moment, chances are your directions will get lost in the cheering, so just be loud enough and encouraging enough to get your message through.


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We are Melli & Shayne, a couple coming from vastly different worlds but have been inseparable ever since we met in Zanzibar. We have been passionately capturing love stories since 2014 and have loved every step of the way. We love to meet fellow photographers, to share our knowledge amongst a bottle (or two) of wine and support every one wherever we can.

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