Smoke Bomb Senior Pictures: Is It Right For Me?

by | Jun 26, 2021 | High School Seniors, Planning Ahead | 0 comments

Here comes the smoke show! We love a good smoke bomb photo and according to our Instagram, we aren’t the only ones. Whether you opt to showcase your school spirit or just add some unique color to your portraits, the effect is striking! I get a lot of questions about smoke bomb senior pictures and how smoke bombs work, so it’s time to cover the basics!

Do smoke bombs stain?

Smoke bombs have the possibility to stain light-colored clothing. I’ll give you the choice between holding them or setting off in the background. If we set the smoke bomb on the ground and you are a few feet away standing in the smoke cloud, it should not stain your clothing. So far I haven’t had any issues with staining using smoke bombs in senior pictures, fortunately!

How long do the smoke bombs last?

Unfortunately they don’t last as long as you hope! I order 90 second smoke bombs for senior pictures, and always the ones with a pull string. (The ones that require a lighter get super hot.) When under pressure it’s easy to freeze up and have your mind go blank, so we’ll go through what steps and poses you’re going to take before we ever pull the string. I plan to use approximately six smoke bombs during a senior portrait session with two per set for a total of three sets. Three sets is ideal to give you just enough time with them to get comfortable and get the poses you want, but not getting too much smoke in your eyes and nose!

Can I use smoke bombs at night?

Yes! In fact, the effect can be REALLY cool when combined with off camera flash. If that’s something you’re interested in, let me know so we can plan accordingly!

What should I know ahead of time?

Fact – the smoke bombs smell pretty bad! They also can spark when we first pull the string, so we activate them before you pick them up. Remember to always hold the smoking end away from your body and slightly behind to keep the smoke out of your face. Finally, be alert to which way the wind is blowing as you walk!

For safety reasons, we will consider the weather before using smoke bombs. If there are high winds we may need to postpone for a calmer day. And, of course, I always bring water and a container to dispose of the used smoke bombs.

I generally save smoke bombs for the final part of your senior pictures. This is when you are most comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera so you can really show off!

What should I say to my photographer?

See if your photographer has worked with smoke bombs before! Ask for sample pictures and any ideas they have to capture the perfect shot. Also, ask if you can send over inspiration photos ahead of time (remembering, of course, that the intention is inspiration and not copycatting).

cheerleader senior pictures with smoke bombs

Are smoke bombs considered a firework? Do I need a permit?

This varies by state. Smoke bombs are considered a Class C firework (similar to sparklers) and do not require a permit in the State of Michigan. We do plan smoke bomb senior pictures for areas out of town, however, so we don’t worry anyone with giant plumes of white, black, or red smoke!

Where can I buy smoke bombs?

If you’d like to purchase them on your own, a few places to check out include wire pull smoke grenades from Enola Gaye, Smoke Effect, and Shutter Bombs.

How much do smoke bomb senior pictures cost?

I charge a flat $75 fee in addition to your senior portrait session fee. This includes six smoke bombs (choose from black, white, blue, red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and green). We’ll use two at a time for three sets to make sure you get all the poses you’ve pinned!

white smoke bomb senior pictures
winter smoke bomb senior pictures

Are you ready to plan your smoke bomb senior pictures? Click the button below to start planning!

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Enjoy the VU Photography

Hello there! We’re Veronica & Rob, Upper Peninsula wedding and portrait photographers.


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