Inspired by light, passion and mystery. All images are copy-writed to myself, unless stated otherwise. No images may be used without consent.

Posts tagged ‘Smoke’

Photographing Matches, Fire and Smoke

I found this really interesting website called Wonderful Photos, and I found an article on there with tips on how to photograph matches, fire and smoke. You can visit it here.

I remember for my seven deadly sins final photographs I used fire in my Greed photograph. I really liked the effect the fire gave on the photograph so I am hoping to use this technique in some of my film stills photographs.

Heres the tips on how to photograph matches, fire and smoke from the Wonderful Photos website.

What you’ll need:

  • Camera
  • Macro Lens
  • Matches
  • Match stand/clamp
  • Lighter
  • Flash
  • Black background

Optional items:

  • Tripod
  • Remote release cable
  • Flash off-shoe cable
  • White reflector


  • Clamp match into your stand
  • Place stand in front of black backdrop
  • Place flash on the left side of match
  • Place reflector on the right side of match

Match Placement:

  • Air currents in the room will direct the match’s smoke.
  • As illustrated in the top photo, the air was blowing to the left so the match was framed on the right side of the image to balance the composition.


  • Set your camera to manual exposure since your flash will be the main light.
  • Set your flash to manual as well. The rapidly shifting smoke is tricky to deal with automatically.
  • The brightness of the flame is determined by the camera, not the flash. To make the flame brighter or larger, simply allow for more ambient light to expose in the frame.
  • Chimp between exposures and adjust your settings accordingly.

Igniting the Flame:

  • Make sure your entire setup is well ventilated and that you take appropriate safety measures!
  • Ignite the lighter and place the flame next to the match. It will take a moment for the match to ignite.
  • Once the match ignites, quickly remove the lighter and press the shutter!


  • As soon as the match ignites, it will flare up brightly. This is the ideal time to take the photo because it is when you’ll see all the smoke! A remote release cable is very helpful here!
  • After the flare calms down, you’ll be left with just a quiet flame and no more smoke.


  • As the matches erupt, they’ll spew out tiny flakes of ash. Clone them out in Photoshop to make the images noticeably cleaner.
  • Boost the cyan saturation to bring out the beautiful blues in the smoke.

I am really interested in their idea of using a clamp to hold the match while photographing it. I do remember from my seven deadly sins shoot, that it was hard to hold the match in one hand and take the photograph with another, I solved this by using a timer on my camera but I think a clamp would be more effective.

I will experiment myself with light and matches when I get back to university. I like the atmosphere created by the matches and I think I could use this to my advantage in my photographs. I will also look into using candles as a light source in for my film scene images.


Tag Cloud