Here’s How to Use Smoke Bombs for Stunning Wedding Photos

smoke bomb engagement

Here comes the smoke show! We love a good smoke bomb photo and according to the reaction to this photo, we aren’t the only ones. Whether you use them for engagement photos, as a fun getaway, or just set them off to add some color to your portraits, the effect is undeniable. We always get questions about smoke bombs and how they work, so let’s cover the basics!

Do smoke bombs stain?

Yes, they can. And the sparks can also burn if you aren’t careful. Set them off in the distance and get some help from a vendor or friend. After setting the smoke bomb down, if you are 2-3 feet away and just standing in the smoke cloud, it should NOT stain your clothing or anything for that matter. They can stain the ground though if left on their sides…definitely something to think about when you’re planning on when and how to use smoke bombs in your day. If you plan to use on your wedding day, we recommend doing a test run prior to the wedding day (not in your wedding clothes!!!) just to make sure the ones you bought don’t stain.

How long do smoke bombs last?

You’ll want to be photo-ready—the longest ones last about 90 seconds! And once you pull the trigger, it takes up to 10 seconds to fully release.

Can you use smoke bombs at night?

Yes! In fact, the effect can be REALLY cool. Just make sure you have some good backlighting to capture the mood.

Are smoke bombs safe?

Definitely be aware of high winds (if there are high winds you won’t want to use them) and inhaling the smoke. You should also consider crowds and highly flammable areas. You should be in an open area outdoors and avoid any areas that are overly dry and susceptible to catching fire. Bring a metal bucket to drop used smoke bombs and a bottle of water to make sure they’re fully extinguished. Let’s be safe + smart out there!!

How should I plan with my photographer?

See if your photographer has worked with smoke bombs before! There are a few tricks of the trade and ideas they may have to capture that perfect shot. You can even do a few practice rounds before lighting the plumes! If you have any photos for inspiration (ahem, plenty of which are below!), be sure to send those over ahead of time.

Can you use smoke bombs in public?

Smoke bombs are considered a firework and therefore are banned in many local and national parks. This might also apply to your venue, so do research in advance to make sure you are allowed to use them for your photos. By the way, this also means you can’t fly with smoke bombs in your luggage!

Where can I buy smoke bombs for photography?

We recommended these two companies:

  1. Shutter Bombs – use code GWS to save 10% off your order.
  2. Smoky Bombs – use this link to save 10% off your order

Both of these companies sell wire pull smoke bombs (you don’t need to light anything, just pull the wire) and they burn cool, not hot. Plus these smoke bombs were made for smoke bomb photographers! And the part we love? These smoke bombs are non-toxic smoke with a fully biodegradable body.

And now, without further ado, here are the smoke bomb photos you HAVE TO SEE. Save ’em, love ’em, get inspired—and then go make your own!

Smoke in the City

purple smoke bombs wedding photo
It’s a stunning photo without the smoke bombs, but add those deep purple plumes?! Magic!

photo: Damien Milan via Nouba

Desert Sunrise

orange Palm Springs smoke bomb
The cactus stemming from the orange clouds and the totally chic couple front and center? It’s SO good.

photo: Katie Pritchard planner: Details, Darling

Rainbow Connection

rainbow smoke bomb wedding
A forever favorite! The rainbow smoke bomb lineup is such a statement.

photography: D.Lillian Photography event design: Ashley Smith Events
see more from this Tropical Garden Wedding

Lead the Way

wedding exit smoke bomb
These two led their guests from the ceremony to the reception with smoke bombs at the forefront!

photography: Heirlume Photography event design: LB Event Planning
see more from this Modern Greenhouse Wedding

Up in Smoke

smoke bomb engagement
Color is fun, but these black bombs in the desert are so rad!

photo (and top photo): Bella Leigh Photography

Go Green

desert smoke bomb
Who wouldn’t want to be framed by emerald clouds?

photo: With Love by Georgie

It’s a Mood

bride with smoke bomb
LOVE this one because it’s proof that a smoke bomb can also be subtle and create a whole moody vibe!

photo: Jason Corroto dress: Sant Elia Custom Gown florals + styling: The Make Haus

Smoke Bombs + Mirrors

just married smoke bomb
How the colored bombs reflect off the water! So cool!

photography: Mari Sabra Photography event design: Ashton Events florals: Ashton Events
see more from this Backyard Marsh Wedding

True Colors

colorful smoke bomb backdrop
The ombre effect forms the COOLEST backdrop to an already show-stopping photo!

photo: Bruna Kitchen Photography planning + styling: Bridérie & Co florals: Studio Tersilla dress: a&bé bridal makeup: Beauty Made to Stay hair: Hair by Leslie Barajas

Desert Dream

black smoke bomb
All black, baby.

photo: Melissa Marshall planning: April Kirby
see more from this Surprise Proposal in the Salt Plains

In the Clouds

blue smoke bomb
Green to blue, for me it’s you.

photo: Mandi Lynn Photography flower crown: Shindig Chic venue: Highland Springs Ranch dress: Grace Loves Lace

Hearts on Fire

just married smoke bomb
What a way to make an exit, right?

photography: wild whim design + photography planning: LB Events and Design florals: Wildflowers Floral Design
see more from this Sweet Southwestern-Inspired Wedding

Light it Up

smoke bomb at night
Smoke bombs at night. It doesn’t get any cooler than this!

photo: Mathias Fast

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PS: If you are a photographer looking for more tips in this area, check out this article from our friends at Pixpa.