Smoke Bomb Beauty

It’s nothing new to use smoke bombs in photography, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I went to Savannah in early April, and on my way back I picked up about $100 worth of different colored smoke bombs from one of the many fireworks places along the route. I had ideas about using the smoke bombs for a project involving my fraternity, but I wanted to try them out ahead of that project. I’ve seen a lot of smoke bombs online that produce a lot of smoke for 20 to 30 seconds, but I felt they were too expensive for this project. (Note: These cheaper smoke bombs didn’t always work as well.)

Jessica and I went out to Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh North Carolina behind one of the abandoned buildings. I found a deserted alley, and  I tried the smoke bomb on the ground with her walking through it. The smoke bombs were producing as I had hoped, but then I went in close. Jessica has some interesting freckles, good skin, and a pretty, symmetrical face. The fact that she has natural hair was a plus for me.

I started off using natural light to see what that would produce; then I decided to get one of my Interfit S1’s and try some high-speed sync. I wanted a little pop in the face without disrupting the color of the smoke. It worked. I wasn’t expecting to come out with a beauty shot, but I did not know what to expect, The red, pink and yellow bombs photographed the best. I’m glad I practiced with these before using them on the intended project. 



Stephanie, TaeKwondo Girl

While visiting Dorothea Dix Park thinking of my next fitness photo shoot, and I saw a girl flying through the air.

 Awed, I said to myself, “Oh…THAT’S A THING!?”.

I stopped and asked her if I could take her photograph. She agreed and held the pose in the air while I went to get my camera. I set up 3 Interfit S1’s. I set the backlights with grids on them, the front was angled 45 degrees down with hard light, no grid. I set high-speed sync on all of them. 

I used my Canon 5D Mark III and a 50mm Sigma Arts lens while she was in the air. When she landed, to do did some TaeKwondo poses and TaeKwondo high kicks, I used the canon 70-200mm 2.8 L  at f/3.2 since I don’t like shooting at f/2.8.

Her sister and cousin were there and caught some fantastic slow-mo video of her taking off. LINK

After some conversation, I learned that her family are all into TaeKwonDo and are world traveling acrobats. They travel the world doing performances as a family. 

The stills came out better than I expected. 


Melyssa, The Natural Haired Yoga Girl





I first noticed Melissa on Facebook. We have a lot of mutual friends, and I saw her striking a yoga pose. I noticed her natural hair, which I think had blond tips at the time. When we talked, I found out she a fitness enthusiast. I mentioned I was a fitness photographer working on my portfolio. 


The first time I photographed her I brought a pink outfit for her. It turns out that she doesn’t like color…or at least she doesn’t love pink, but she wore it anyway. We took some photos at the Raleigh Little Theater, and they came out awesome! 

One of my favorite shoots with her was at Carrie Mills Apartments on Lake Wheeler Road…these are the same apartments that were hit by a tornado while I was inside doing a Fashion photoshoot, but that’s a story for another day.

One morning I went over to her place, picked out some Yoga outfits, and we went out to the courtyard. It was chillier than expected, but Melissa was a trooper. I needed a little extra pop, so I added my Interfit S1 with a deep dish octobox (I got it from Cowboy Studios, I think). I needed to use high-speed sync, and that gave it just enough pop. That brought down the background a little since we were covered in the shade. I tethered to my laptop using Capture One and Teather tools and let Melissa do her yoga thing. She made fantastic shapes!
Her natural hair added to the vision.

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