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How to create amazing smoke effect photography

Smoke bombs are now an essential part of any photographer’s kit, with many professionals across the world picking up on this trend in recent years. The incredible effects they produce can create vibrant images, and the uses are only limited by your imagination. Weddings, engagement shoots, gender reveals, or just straight forward portrait shots are all brought to life with coloured smoke bombs.

How do smoke bombs work?

Smoke bombs are pyrotechnics. This means they give off smoke by burning a composition. Enola Gaye smoke bombs (also known as smoke grenades) use a wire-pull system so they’re simple to set off, and there’s no need to bring a lighter to the shoot. Just pull the wire sideways when it’s time to ignite it.

Enola Gaye smoke grenades keep the composition inside a protective tube, but sparks can still be emitted so it’s essential to be careful around sensitive materials, such as wedding dresses. Always point them away from you when lighting, and never point them towards anybody else.

Once the pin is pulled, smoke will be emitted for between 30 and 90 seconds, depending on which product you’ve picked. There is no way to stop the smoke until all the composition has been burnt, so be sure you and your subjects are ready when you pull the ring.

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How to choose the best smoke bombs for your shoot

Enola Gaye is the world’s number one supplier of smoke bombs for the photographic industry, and provides the highest quality devices. There are a range of products which offer differing amounts of smoke, all CE approved.

The most popular smoke bomb with photographers is the WP40, which delivers the perfect amount of smoke over 90 seconds. If you’re looking for a denser cloud, the EG18 is the choice for you. This also lasts for 90 seconds. If you’re looking for a smaller effect, the EG25 is the smallest smoke grenade and lasts for around 30 seconds.

See our size guide below to help make your decision.

Smoke grenades come in a range of colours, so you’ll be able to pick the perfect hue for your shoot.

Enola Gaye smoke bombs are very easy to operate and are designed to be used by anyone over the age of 18 without the need for training. Everything you need to know is on the instructions printed on the side of the device.

It’s likely you’ll need more than one smoke grenade for your shoot in case you miss a shot, or you want to try different effects or colours. You should consider buying in bulk so that you can keep some spares. This will also make the delivery charges more cost effective, as freight companies charge a premium for transporting hazardous materials. Enola Gaye will cover the cost of shipping for all orders over £70 in the UK.

Be sure to use official Enola Gaye smoke products. In the UK and Europe, Enola Gaye products are CE tested and pass strict quality controls. Similarly, in Canada and the USA, Enola Gaye products have passed strict tests set by the government and are legal to use. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations that have not been approved for use.

How to use smoke bombs on photoshoots

Ideally your photoshoot will take place on a calm, dry day, but we know sometimes this isn’t possible. Wind can seriously affect the direction of smoke and the rate of dispersal, and that will make it very difficult to get the shot you want. You should also ensure the shot is well lit to get the best results.

You will need to plan your shots carefully before igniting the smoke bomb. The smoke will be emitted for a limited time, so you won’t have long to perfect your shot. Consider taking some practice shots beforehand, particularly if you’re working with people as subjects.

There are endless possibilities to create stunning shots when using smoke, so get creative, experiment, and consider using props. Check out the hashtag #EnolaGaye on social media to see the amazing effects that others are creating.

Always follow safety instructions and local regulations, and never ignite the smoke grenade too close to delicate clothing.

Check out the video below for some great ideas on how to get the best results on your photoshoots:

Smoke photography tips

You can use smoke bombs anywhere if you have permission, but be sensible and consider the environment around you. For example, you wouldn’t want to set one off near a busy road in case you cause an accident.

  • Make sure the area is well ventilated
  • If it’s in a public area, seek permission
  • Be aware of smoke drift
  • Never use it in sports stadiums, unless approved by the venue

There’s a chance your subjects may not have encountered smoke bombs before, so explain everything to them before the shoot begins. You’ll only have a limited timeframe to get your shot, so it’s best that everyone understands exactly what to do before you start shooting.

Safety tips

  • Don’t use smoke bombs around anything flammable
  • Don’t use indoors unless the room is very well ventilated
  • Don’t use around animals
  • Don’t point the smoke at anyone
  • Avoid breathing in the smoke directly

The top of the smoke grenade will be hot whilst firing and for a period of time afterwards, so be careful not to touch that area. It will cool down after a few minutes, or you can put it in a bucket of water to speed up the process.

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Get started with smoke bombs

We’ve made it as easy as possible for you to get started with Enola Gaye smoke grenades now. Our photography starter pack includes everything you need for your first shoots, and we will cover the cost of shipping.

Limited time offer

Photography Smoke
Starter Pack