Fun Industrial Smoke Bomb Engagement Session

January 28, 2020

I love the way that Mary incorporated smoke bombs throughout the entire session. I also love that she was able to pull off a double exposure with the smoke and the couple. She sent that photo to me when she first made it and I'm seriously impressed (honestly, her double exposures are amazing). This is a short post, but it doesn't have to be long to get the full impact.

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Location: Mellwood Art Center | Smoke Bombs: Shippedyesterday.com

What was your inspiration behind the shoot and the use of light?

My clients (fun fact: most of my inspiration comes from my clients). Julia and Ken are city dwellers. While they love hiking, biking and being in nature, they live in the city and love it just as much. I suggested this location because, honestly, I just love it. Its perfect for a more urban/industrial vibe. And because we were shooting mid afternoon, I decided to go with full on shadowed areas or bright direct sunlight. Not sure what the inspiration behind that decision was. Its just want I thought would work best.

How did you prepare your clients for this type of session?

They were pretty anxious about it so, as I do with all my clients, I let them know I'll be giving prompts throughout so they won't ever stand their awkwardly and ask me what to do with their hands like Ricky Bobby. And the prompts are vague (such as hold hands) and there is no wrong or right way to do them; just whatever pops in their mind first. I also gave them a few instructions and what to expect with the smoke bombs so they didn't go in totally unknowledgeable.

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What techniques did you use that were out of the norm?

For this session I actually gave them a series of prompts which we "practiced" before I actually photographed them. That's because the smoke bombs I used were 90 seconds long. A minute and a half is longer than you think but people definitely feel a little pressure once I pull the pin. They tend to freeze and forgot how do anything. I've found "practicing" prompts or posing before hand helps calm nerves. But this is only something I do when working with smoke bombs.

Any advice to other clients or photographers who want to do this type of shoot?

BUY MULTIPLE SMOKE BOMBS. one or two is not enough for an engagement shoot. I used 10 for this session.

Although I've never experienced smoke bombs discoloring clothing, I advise my clients to only wear clothing their ok with potential getting damaged or discolored.

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Anything else you'd like to add?

Do your research on the smoke bombs you use. Read those reviews!

If you're working with smoke bombs for the first time, buy some and do a test shoot with a friend before you use them for a paying client. I don't have advise on how to work with smoke because, well, it's smoke. It does what it wants; you have absolutely no control over it.

ALWAYS use smoke bombs in open areas and always get permission from the location! Don't ruin the fun for everyone else you turds.

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