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Smoke grenades Fitness photoshoot

Behind the scenes video feat. Manon Vergé

Today, we will be discussing colored smoke grenades because It has been a while… 2 years ago (already) I did a fitness photoshoot in an abandoned place. The type of place I usually never choose for a photoshoot, but I needed an open space near the city that would allow me to use colored smoke grenades without getting noticed too quickly.

When using Smoke grenades you have to make sure nobody lives near the location you are using them. Otherwise, you will have to warn the population and ask for a permit from the local authorities. The reason for that is simple... People might think something is on fire and call firefighters for nothing, or you might just annoy people who never asked to be intoxicated with colored smoke. You may have seen this image on IG…

Well, this image was our only attempt that day. We fired only one grenade for this one because people who were living nearby threatened to call the authorities if we didn’t stop… Lesson learned.

I was supposed to make several photoshoots using these colored smoke grenades back in 2017 when I first purchased a bunch of them. But I ended up using them sparingly because I didn’t have the time, and because they represent an additional cost for anyone booking a shoot with me who wished to use them. So I used them from time to time when possible on commissioned shoots and personal projects.

Now we are in 2020, and I kind of have a little experience with them now. I have my way of utilizing them in my work and always knew how I wanted my smoke to interact with my models and environment. I never wanted my models to touch the grenade or hold it. I wanted to keep the chaos but still wanted some control and have the smoke to be visible across the entire frame. I quickly knew that the best way to do that was to use a mix of multiple photos in photoshop. From as little as 2 photos to sometimes 6 or 7 depending on the result, you wish to achieve. To make it seamless I sometimes add a little bit of digital smoke. I’ve had comments of people telling me that I would save time making it all digital. I just don't want to go down that route. There is nothing like the real thing, and the “happy accidents” that you may have when the smoke gets in the way when it swirls between objects is something really hard to make in post. Plus like in films, I want my models to interact with something real, something on set, and not just pretend… and I think that I will always have that approach when possible. I use ENOLA GAYE Smoke Grenades the EGX series are the best for me because they provide a thick saturated smoke that I love. You have less than 90 seconds to make your images, so this requires a rehearsal for your poses and some lighting tests. If you plan on trying it for yourself, you will soon realize that for one picture, it will take you some time. So during this standard Fitness photoshoot with the amazing Manon, I thought that I would at least make one image with a bit of smoke and we ended up making 3 of them.

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/640sec f/4 ISO100

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 30mm f/3.5 R WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f/4.5 ISO320

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f/4 ISO800

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/125sec f/4 ISO800

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 50mm f/3.5 R LM WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/400sec f/4 ISO100

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Broncolor Siros L (800ws) 1/640sec f/6.4 ISO100

Of course, we made a few standard shots like we initially planned. Isn’t she amazing? Tell me which one of these images you preferred. I've got my favorite. Keep in mind that with this kind of image where you know photoshop will be an important part of the process, you’ve got to think and prepare each scene beforehand. Composition, how you will expose, whether you’ll be using a tripod or not and if you will need a clean plate, a picture without anybody in the frame, no smoke, no light stands, and so on… This is crucial if you don't want to spend hours in photoshop afterward. We are back in lockdown in France, so I will keep on posting only one blog post per week. I was planning on doubling the amount but I am afraid to run out of content by the end of the year. I really hope y’all are safe and well, don’t do anything stupid! Spread some love, and until next time please have an awesome one.

Fujifilm GFX100 + GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR 1/250sec f/4 ISO50


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