Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

8 Smoke Bomb Photography Ideas To Get You Inspired

Last Updated on

camera with smoke bomb

We love using smoke bombs while working on photography projects. When used the right way, they can help you produce captivating effects, create unique backgrounds, and add imposing warm color temperatures to any photo. 

Let’s look at some of the best smoke bomb ideas that have always left us in awe.

shutter camera divider 2

The 8 Smoke Bomb Photography Ideas

1. Dramatic Lighting

Difficulty Level Intermediate
Smoke Density Opaque

Lighting is an important aspect of photography as it’s the only thing that photographers can rely on when they are trying to set the right atmosphere, mood, and more importantly, tone.

If you have the experience required to manipulate it the right way and utilize your smoke bombs to their fullest potential, you’ll undoubtedly be able to get the best luminosity on your object, as well as the vibrancy of color.

2. Shutter Speed Variety

Difficulty Level Advanced
Smoke Density Opaque

Shutter speed in photography is not a complex concept. If you’re trying to distinguish a slower shutter speed from a fast one, just think about the amount of light that your camera takes in. Slow equals more light because the shutter takes time to close, and vice versa.

Some smoke bomb photos require a faster shutter speed. That’s the only way you’ll be able to capture crisp, detailed images, and not ones that look wispy or blurred. Unless, of course, that’s what you’re going for, in which case slower shutter speeds are ideal.

3. Color Variations

Difficulty Level Intermediate
Smoke Density Opaque

The right mixture of colors in a photo will click in an instant. You’ll right away see the colors balance in a way that’s not only satisfying but also pleasing to the eye.

Of course, people have different tastes when it comes to colors, but we found blue and orange to be a great combination when taking shots using smoke bombs. The options are endless, though. Just be careful while using them next to brides who still have their immaculate-looking wedding gowns on!

4. Maternity Shoots

Difficulty Level Advanced
Smoke Density Misty

Pregnancy is a magical time, and as a photographer, you can use that opportunity to showcase that magic and build your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to use smoke bombs that will make it easier for you to capture and mark that magical memory, as a point of transition to parenthood.

If we had to pick a color, we’d go with pink or blue, depending. Pink always makes the skin glow and blue adds a certain degree of intimacy to the photos.

5. Gender Reveals

Difficulty Level Advanced
Smoke Density Misty

Truth be told, social media is the reason why gender reveal parties are so popular nowadays. But we are not complaining, seeing as they’ve compelled us to dig deep and come up with ideas that are not only inspirational but also unique.

A gender-reveal shoot is somewhat like a mini maternity shoot. So, you’ll need all the shooting essentials, plus the appropriate color smoke bomb—pink or blue.

6. Dancing

Difficulty Level Advanced
Smoke Density Misty

Dancing is a unique art form. Talk to any dancer and they’ll tell you their goal has always been to communicate with their audience how they feel or what they are thinking. In other words, dance is an art of self-expression.

Add a few smoke bombs in there, and they’ll act as a megaphone that the dancer can utilize to reach a wider audience.

7. Fitness

Difficulty Level Advanced
Smoke Density Misty

Fitness enthusiasts love taking photos while they are working out so that they can motivate and inspire those who’d wish to join that community. And that’s a good thing because exercising helps people live positively.

Physical activity often increases the production of various hormones in our bodies that are essential in the achievement of emotional fulfillment. So if you’d like to show the world how hard you’ve been working in the gym, do so in style by adding smoke bomb effects!

8. Halloween

Difficulty Level Intermediate
Smoke Density Opaque

Halloween is a really old tradition. Some people believe it originated from Samhain, a Celtic festival that was held annually, on the 1st day of November. Those who were fortunate enough to be alive during those times talked about how the spirits of the dead would crossover and haunt them all night long. To ward them off, they had to light bonfires and wear different costumes.

You could use pumpkins and smoke bombs to create powerful spooky images during Halloween. Just organize a themed shoot and invite all your friends!

shutter camera divider 2

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of smoke bombs do advanced photographers use?

In photography, you can either use canned grenades or wire pull grenades. Most advanced photographers prefer using the latter because they don’t require a lighter. Plus, the amount of smoke that they generate is substantial compared to that released by canned grenades, allowing you to take several shots.

female photographer in the studio

Image Credit: Szabo Viktor, Unsplash

How long does a smoke bomb last?

If you’ll be using the wire-pull ignition grenade, it will most likely burn out after about 90 seconds. But that’s more than enough time to take all the shots you need. Only light it up once you’re ready to start capturing those moments.

Are smoke bombs noisy?

The noise made by a smoke bomb will be similar to that made by a sparkler. The sound won’t be loud, but you’ll still be able to hear that reaction in the can that’s producing the colored cloud. Just because it’s called a grenade doesn’t mean that you need to look for something to protect your ears before lighting it!

Are smoke bombs dangerous to human health?

Unfortunately, yes. According to experts, they have the potential of causing lung injury. That’s why we are normally encouraged to wear a mask while taking pictures. Also, the photographer shouldn’t expose his or her clients to the smoke for an extended period of time.

woman holding smoke flare

Image Credit: Piqsels

Are dogs affected by smoke bombs?

Yes, they are. These fireworks are known to be one of the causes of gastroenteritis in dogs. The other symptoms of exposure include excessive salivation, unusual abdominal pain, sluggishness, diarrhea, and frequent vomiting.

shutter camera divider 2


The three important features to take into consideration while shopping for a good smoke bomb include: burn time, density, and activation. If it burns for less than 60 seconds, go for a different brand. Density will depend on whether you want an opaque coverage or a mist-like effect. And for activation, the wire-pull system is always the way to go.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

Robert Sparks Profile Picture