Faking Fireworks In Table Top Photography
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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).
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:
- 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.
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.
וUse the masking tape to connect the optical fibers to the flash.
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.
Test the flash. So far it looks fine.
One last test before starting to shot.
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.
The results vary according to the focal length and the aperture used.
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!
Change the color filters.
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.
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
Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.