Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

This tutorial by Erik Gallegos was made for our How I Took It Contest and it shows that you don’t need to burn down the house to have firework when you shoot table top.

There is only a month left to submit your entries and win over $6,300 in prizes.

In this tutorial we are going to try to create a picture featuring fireworks as the background. It is a pretty easy trick and it can also be used to shoot portraits (actually, now that I think it can work with cats too).

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

To show an example of how this works, I used some toys. The final image will look something like the image above

let’s get busy, remember! for any project we need the supervision of one responsible adult to take care of any consequences if something goes wrong and we have to run away. That being said, let see what we need:

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

  • Cellophane, or color filters for flash.
  • Optical fiber. Very important.
  • Masking tape. Never miss this.
  • Electrical tape (or insulating tape), preferably black.
  • Flashes, in this case I used 2: one to create the fireworks effect and one to light the subject: Yongnuo YN460-II GN38, Kako net-s GN25 (too old, I am not sure if that brand still exists)
  • Wireless trigger.
  • 5-in1 reflector, a bounce card or something similar. White cardboard works well.
  • Tripod or stand, something to keep up the lights.
  • Optionally, we can use cardboard but we will talk about it later.
  • Passport. Documents ready if something goes wrong and we got to flee the country.
  • For this tutorial, we used Canon 60D with Tamron 18-270mm F/.3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD.

If you are looking for a good source for fiber optic material, the stuff that I used came of an 80′s fiber optic lamp, which can be bought at any store or by internet.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

let’s start, first place the cellophane/gel on the flash with help of the masking tape and use the cellophane as a color filter. Use your creativity, mix colors and experiment.

Remember, Cellophane can melt with heat from frequent shots, and stain your flash. To avoid this you can use hard plastic filters or put a transparent plastic between the cellophane and the flash.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

וUse the masking tape to connect the optical fibers to the flash.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Now we seal the rest of the flash with black electrical tape. this will ensure that the only light seen is the light passing through the fiber optics.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Test the flash. So far it looks fine.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

One last test before starting to shot.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Next we put the optical fiber behind our main element, the rest of the lights can vary according to what you choose to photograph. For this example we used one flash at 1/2 power aimed at the a reflector for softer light.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

The results vary according to the focal length and the aperture used.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Be creative and change the things. For instance, here we put the optical fiber closer to the figure, it looks like one bolt of lightning is hitting the figure!

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Change the color filters.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

For the next picture we did not use any color filter with the fibers, but we put a blue filter on the flash that illuminate our main element.

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Optional / Bonus

You can have more control over the direction and the position of the lights in the background. Make some holes on a cardboard and pass some filaments through the holes as we can see in the picture below

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography

Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography