Six Year Old Singer in Bangkok

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This was my first time to experiment with child photography with colored smoke. Actually my first time to work with colored smoke at all. I did not know what to expect as I did not find too much information about it online. To start with, the colored smoke I found at a tiny shop in Chinatown district of Bangkok. The price came out to about $1.00 USD per bomb and there are 5 in each pack. Each pack contains red, purple, blue, yellow, and green. Purple is my favorite!

The model is six year old Focus. She is an amazing singer, but so far can only seem to sing in studio as she is shy in front of people. Her father, Golf assisted me with the smoke and her mother, Praery facilitated wardrobe.

A couple of things to note: First is that the smoke bomb gets very hot, so you should have something like a small ceramic pot to hold it in. Second is that unless dispersed by wind the smoke tends to hang in one place. Therefore, it is necessary to have a helper run around quickly to fill the area needed then quickly get out of the frame.

This first image is backlight with a speedlight, and there was an additional speedlight on the camera. The goal was to eliminate most other distractions in the image. Minor photoshop work was done to saturate the purple, (applications offering a magic color wheel often prove to save valuable time) and I changed some of the greens in the leaves to purple. I also duplicated the group of leaves in the top left corner and put them in the top right corner, but lowered the opacity just to give the photo some balance.

Camera settings: ISO 500, 45mm, f/3.5, 1/100th

beautiful little girl with colored smoke

The next image is an example with yellow smoke, also backlight. My usual style with shooting children is to make one wardrobe request of my own as well as one form the parent and one from the kid. This one is my choice: jean shorts, bare feet, and sleeveless top.

Camera settings: ISO 500, 42mm, f3.5, 1/160th

litte girl with cute bare feet

As you can see in this next image, the smoke is red and it is more apparent that is was raining during this shoot. However, I think it added to the appeal of the image. I like how the backlighting flashes through her legs as well as her jubilant expression.

Camera settings: ISO 500, 70mm, f/3.5, 1/160th

Child Photography with Colored Smoke

The location for this shoot is Bang Kachao. It is an amazing oasis on an island in the Chao Phraya River popular with hikers, and bicycle riders. We used the smoke bombs on an abandoned section of trail I had located earlier in the day. This trail shown below is very nearby and I asked Focus to follow the curvy lines then stop and pretend she is a princess in a fairytale kingdom and is admiring the scenery of her land. I think she did a fantastic job!

Camera settings: ISO 500, 58mm, f/3.5, 1/160th

little girl princess in fairytale land wearing pink shoes

When the rain got to be too much we came back to the guest-house I was using as a staging area. Here is Focus sitting in an antique barber chair with her cute red shoes.

Camera settings: ISO 500, 48mm, f/3.2, 1/320th

adorable little girl in red sneakers on antique barber chair

Finally, a black and white edit of Focus deep in thought posed with a wooden horse which is one half of an antique sea-saw.

Camera settings: ISO 1000, 52 mm, f/2.8, 1/50th
black and white photo of adorable six year old girl with wooden horse

About The Author

Christopher Ryan is an international photographer specializing in conceptual portraits in unique environments, such as abandoned buildings and picturesque landscapes. His work breaks the barriers of race, age, and geographic location, capturing the energy and exuberance of the human form. He was influenced by his unusual upbringing in the American South. He seeks to retain the virtues of Southern Charm while abandoning pre-conceived notions of prejudice.