So, you’ve seen and fallen in love with colorful smoke bomb wedding photos…me too!
Coloured smoke grenades/flares/bombs are such a cool way to add fun and something different to your pictures. And because I’ve photographed a few weddings with them now, lots of my couples ask me for advice. So, I thought I’d share my top tips for incorporating them into your day.
First up… where to get them from
Whilst you can buy these from lots of different places, there are lots of cheap versions that are not always safe and reliable. Without sounding like a bore these grenades burn with an internal flame so we do need to keep safety in mind. Some of the cheaper foreign brands have been known to be unpredictable and even injure people through heat or explosions. This is not a risk I’m happy with you taking so I’d really only be comfortable with you using one brand.
The most reliable brand to buy is Enola Gaye. You’ll find them here.
They cost between £10 – 15 per unit and you can buy a box containing multiple colours.
I advise getting the 90 second flares to give maximum time for your photographer to capture (60 seconds as a minumum).
Always buy the wire pull, single vent products so that smoke is only emitted from one end.
If you can’t get the ones you want directly from Enola Gaye, search the manufacturer name as some other retailers also stock them.
How many to buy
Each grenade lasts between approx. 60 & 90 seconds. You’ll need one or two for testing so that you and your photographer can have a play with wind direction and light to find what works well. And then it’s as simple as working out how many different shots you want, and how many grenades you’d like to appear in each photo (depends on who’s holding them). It’s also a good idea to buy some spares incase any misfire, or you need a little more time to get a shot right, it could take a few attempts especially if the wind is involved.
Getting the best results
- You’ll need an open space with not too many obstructions and good ventilation, you can’t use them indoors.
- Wind on the day will be a big factor in how successful the images are. Ideally, you want nothing more than a light breeze. It may be that you decide to use them in wind slightly stronger than that, but I guess what I’m saying is your expectations need to match the practicality – basically if the wind is with you, she might f*ck it up! If she’s too strong it’s likely you’ll find your photographer advising not to go ahead with the shoot.
- Really importantly, you will need all of the people who are holding smoke bombs to be fairly sensible and aware of their own and the rest of the group’s safety. For this reason, it’s best to get this shot done during the early part of your day before everyone’s had too much to drink.
- Water buckets, to extinguish them in after use, are a must. If you are using them in the summer the ground around you could be quite dry and I’m sure field full of real smoke is NOT the smokey effect you’ll be after!
Other important considerations
I’m not wanting to be a killjoy (I do love a smoke bomb shot) but there are some risks and a few key points that you must be aware of, and comfortable with, before you decide to use them on your wedding day.
- Smoke bombs burn with an internal flame so can be dangerous if pointed at people or clothing. For this reason, they lend best to couple shots and with small groups of people (e.g. your wedding party; bridesmaids/ushers etc.). Using them with bigger groups is possible, but only with careful planning as the more people involved the bigger the safety concern.
- The colour can stain clothing. You need to be prepared for the slim possibility of some of the colour getting onto your dress (or other peoples’ outfits). Of course, this risk can be minimised by holding them in the right direction and away from your bodies. So as long as everyone sensible this doesn’t need to be one to panic about. But I’d hate for a stain to happen and you not have realised it was a possibility.
- On a similar vein, you should also know that photographers are not generally insured to take any liability for smoke bomb related activities (I know I’m not). So, if anyone or anything were to be hurt or damaged during the shoot, I (or they if you are using another photographer) would not be able to accept any liability.
THE BASIC MESSAGE HERE IS TO BUY A RELIABLE BRAND, DO THEM EARLY SO EVERYONE’S NOT DRUNK, AND HAVE FUN BUT WITH A LEVEL OF SENSIBILITY TO KEEP EVERYBODY SAFE. DO THIS, AND YOU’LL END UP WITH SOME SHOW-STOPPING, COLORFUL & SPONTANEOUS WEDDING PHOTOS.
If you are reading this wedding smoke bomb photography advice because you’re planning your own super fun, relaxed and colourful wedding, please shout me to discuss your wedding photography requirements. I’d love to be a part of your day too and catch all the love!
If you’re a photographer and are reading this for tips on how to shoot smoke bomb photography, here’s a complete guide by Pixpa on how to use a color smoke bomb
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Category: Wedding Planning | Destination: DIY festival or tipi weddings | Venue: Hadsham farm weddings | Setting: Relaxed tipi festival weddings