I've been wanting to do this for a while and I finally got round to going back to the 1980s and ordering some incense sticks online. The house smells like white musk but it's worth it for these images. Absolutely stoked with how some of these have come out. Most were taken with coloured gels on a Speedlite but I have processed some of them in photoshop to get the effects that I wanted. I'll go into some detail on this below the ones that I processed.
Setup was a black background, Speedlight to the right-hand side and a desk lamp to the left to help light the smoke to aid with focusing. All taken with the Sigma 105 Macro and the 90D.
This image was just white smoke, but I added an orange to red gradient layer in photoshop and then set the blend mode to "Overlay" which blends with the below layer on brightnesses over 50%. So the white changes colour but the black stays dark.
The original image is here on the right.
This next image was originally just shot with the green gel on the flashgun but I added three circular gradients this time in post-production with an overlay blend mode as I wanted the three "swirls" to stand out a bit more. Love the way this one has come out too
Pretty subtle edit on this one. It was originally just a purple gel but added a bit of gradient from blue to red on the top. Pity that I just lost the smoke fading off to the left, looks a bit too clipped for my liking.
Heres a screenshot of the layers in photoshop for this one. The top layer is the gradient on "Overlay" mode, middle layer is just a copy of the background layer.
Finally, this one that I call "Neon". No postprocessing was done on this one; it's pretty much straight out of the camera. I like the uniformity of it so I left it without and gradient.
Loved doing these - there will be more to come for sure.
Thanks for looking