Photography 1001 : Smoke Bomb Photography

After the introduction of Steel Wool, we are going to talk about another famous tool photographers used to create dramatic effect; the Smoke Bomb. They are usually in the shape of tubes and release coloured smoke when lit. The smoke creates a dreamy and fantasy-world like effect to the image, thus is very popular in fashion and wedding photography.

There are tons of tutorials on making Smoke Bombs, either white or coloured ones, so I am not going in detail on how to make one. Rather, we will look into its safety.

Is it toxic?
Usually, Smoke Bombs are made of Potassium Nitrate. When you lit this type of Smoke Bomb, it releases smoke that is consisted mostly of CO2, Nitrogen, water vapour, and Potassium Carbonate. It’s very much like normal pollutants we know for causing Air Pollution. Your skin and eyes may feel irritated if exposed to the smoke for too long.

Instead of worrying about being intoxicated, the bigger concern may be that you in take too much vapour at a time and make it difficult for you to breathe. Also, if you are adding colour in the bomb, your clothes, skin and the environment may got stained.

Furthermore, you should be careful when you are making the Smoke Bomb and releasing it. If you are not paying attention to the smoke and temperature when creating it, you may suffer from the explosion or the burning of your pot. And if you are not careful while litting the Smoke Bomb, or that your container is not treated with caution, you may get hurt for the chemicals are extremely reactive.


Is it illegal?
Using Smoke Bombs in photography may be common, but it does not mean that you can use wherever you want without any permission. In different parts in the world, there may be different regulations in the use and even the making of Smoke Bombs.

Hence, we strongly advise you to refrain from using it in public areas; ask for permission and look up your local law before doing so. Or else, a happy photo shoot may end miserably, and that is not something we want to see. Always remember, have fun and stay safe.

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