Watch Video: Home Photography Ideas – Create Cinematic Portraits Using Artificial Fog
You’ve seen train platforms filled with steam in 1950s black-and-white movies. The appearance of artificial fog (dry ice) creates a moody atmosphere even at rock concerts, and this is no different in the world of still photography.
Simple environments can be turned into dramatic stages by adding artificial fog using cans of Atmosphere Aerosol, and shafts of light can be used to illuminate the area around the model. All you need is an active participant, a window with direct light and strong shadows, and a fog to fill it. This technique works best indoors with no air movement, but if the air outside is relatively calm and has the ability to produce a large amount of artificial fog, you can put on your shoes and go outside. .
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We took model Esme to the Avon Valley Railway in Bitton, England for a photo shoot. As you can see, these vintage railroad cars were the perfect place to simulate steam! However, this is also a great project for capturing stunning portraits at home. Armed with cameras, artificial fog, and models, let’s find out what needs to be done.
Take cinematic portraits
with a tripod
Shoot handheld first and find your favorite perspective. If your shot is blurry because you need to use a long shutter speed, use a tripod. However, I found that a tripod wouldn’t fit in the oddly shaped carriage, so most of my shoots were handheld.
no problem. This project can definitely be shot without a flashgun, but on dull, overcast days, artificial light can be a saving grace. Cover the flashgun with warming gel, make sure the zoom is set to wide angle (35mm is fine), and position it about 6 feet away on the outside of the carriage, facing inwards through the window . Leave it alone to create the long, hard shadows needed to accentuate the fog.
find the perfect background
We went to the Avon Valley Railroad and found the perfect train for the backdrop.This restored 1950s coach already exudes character. Finding the right location is half the battle to make your smoke-filled photos look authentic and atmospheric. However, you can also use your living room or study to capture a similar cinematic effect.
include some props
If you have a special place, make sure you have props. The lamp inside the train car was a nice touch, but it was even better when I turned it on. I made sure that all the lights were on during the shoot to act as “utilitarian lights” as they say in cinematography.
do more than expected
You don’t want your model sitting around wearing a standard t-shirt and jeans when you’re trying to find an incredible spot. It’s just as important as your camera settings.
I used Atmosphere Aerosol’s Aerosol Fog Spray to create the fog, which is currently only available in the US. If you’re not in the US, you can use a smoke machine instead. Spray a large area of fog in front of the window to accentuate the strong light shaft.
direct the model
You can be creative when posing your model. Do you want the model to stand in front of a window with the light hitting the fog and creating the main lines, or do you want a smoky side shot? I liked
expose to light
Set the aperture to f/2.8 at ISO100 in manual mode to minimize depth of field. I then adjusted the shutter speed until the ambient light was underexposed to make the most of the light coming in through the window and really bring out the texture of the fog.
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