Here comes the smoke show! We love a good smoke bomb photo and according to our Instagram, 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 they 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.
What about safety?
Be aware of high winds and inhaling the smoke. You should also consider crowds and highly flammable areas. Bring a metal bucket to drop used smoke bombs and a bottle of water to make sure they’re fully extinguished. You should be in an open area outdoors and avoid any areas that are overly dry and susceptible to catching fire.
What should I say to 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.
Smoke Bombs are considered a Firework!
Please do note that smoke bombs are considered a firework and therefore are illegal on National Park lands (and maybe at your venue as well), so do research in advance to make sure you are allowed to use them for your photos. This also means you can’t fly with them!
Where can I buy smoke bombs?
Several photographers we spoke with recommended these wire pull smoke grenades from Enola Gaye because they burn cool, not hot. Cool burning bombs are ideal if you plan on holding them and not setting them off in the background. Plus, these smoke bombs are all non-toxic smoke with a fully biodegradable body. You can also check out Amazon, Smoke Effect and Shutter Bombs.
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
LEAD THE WAY
UP IN SMOKE
photo (and top photo): Bella Leigh Photography
photo: With Love by Georgie
IT’S A MOOD
SMOKE BOMBS + MIRRORS
IN THE CLOUDS
HEARTS ON FIRE
LIGHT IT UP
photo: Mathias Fast
Have fun with this one!!
PS – If you are photographer looking for more tips in this area check out this article from our friends at Pixpa.