Working with Smoke Grenades

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

It's quite amazing the effect that a smoke grenade can add to an image, but let's not kid ourselves when I say that these are dangerous bits of kit and using them doesn't always go to plan for various reasons. Now, thankfully, I've never had a mishap but I do have a few stories to tell you about my experience working with smoke grenades on my shoots. So, let's get started. Jess & Sebastian This was the first smoke grenade I had planned which involved animals. To say I was nervous was an under statement as you can never really foresee what will happen on a shoot and the reactions you will get. I really had nothing to worry about - Jess & Seb were amazing! Armed with my camera, a selection of orange smoke grenades, my huge tulle dress and Jess's mum, Sarah, we all wandered into the woods to find the perfect spot. We took a few minutes to get a few other shots just to set everyone at ease before setting up the shot for the grenade. Amazingly & to my surprise, Seb took this all in his stride and literally did not batter an eyelid. He has got to be the most chilled out out dog I had ever worked with, considering he was faced with a hissing device which then emitted huge plumes of orange smoke! Such a good boy!!

Kate & Charlie Of course, I was wanting to kick things up a notch or two, it was time to work with a horse. That's when my friend Kate came in who has always dreamed of a fairytale shoot with her mare Charlie. After meeting Kate at her yard, we took a walk down to the woods, I mean, anyone that would have seen us would have thought we looked mental. We were loaded with bags and bags full of materials including the massive tuelle skirt again! Once on site, we let a couple of grenades off to allow Charlie a chance of finding her feet, as suspected she was on her toes to begin with but she soon settled to get the most incredible shot. This shot wasn't planned at all - the plan was to have them walking towards me, with grenade in hand, until something caught Charlie's attention. She swung her bum round and stood perfectly still - Yes! This was the one! Working with smoke and horses was always going to be a risk but I was so impressed with how chilled out Charlie was after the first couple were set off. She was walking through the smoke, jumped a log with a smoke milling around underneath. She was such a brave girl.

Marmalade, Dora & Eden

So let's crack on with a shoot that didn't go exactly to plan! 3 dogs and 1 grenade... complete chaos! The plan was to get this gorgeous shot of the 3 of them sitting in a row with the grenade smoking away a good distance behind them but no.... oh no, they had other ideas. Eden decided to just watch what was going on, Marmalade was more interested in the chicken sausages that were going for free, Dora did actually stand for a photograph... though probably thinking.. what the heck is going on here!! However, the smoke grenade didn't go the waste as I got such a cute shot of Dora. Moral of the story - it doesn't matter if things don't work out how you envision it, it will always work out if you believe it.

Model shoot with Amber

And last but by no means least a shoot without animals with with absolute beauty. Obviously the easiest shoot of them all but I feel that it should be included in this - not many people are willing to play along with my crazy ideas - but this beauty pulls it out of the bag every single time!

So - who knows what we will get from a smoke grenade shoot, it may go to plan, it may well go in the opposite direction.

One thing is for certain though.... it's one hell of an experience!

(Smoke grenades should always be used responsibly and with care. Always follow the instructions on the pack. Smoke grenades are not toys.)

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