Cre­ate an at­mos­phere

A lit­tle ar­ti­fi­cial fog can change the whole mood of a por­trait – dis­cover how to use it cre­atively to give your im­ages a dis­tinctly nos­tal­gic feel

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We’ve all seen those steam-filled rail­way plat­forms in black-and-white movies from the ’50s, and how at­mo­spheric they can be. Even at a rock concert, the ap­pear­ance of ar­ti­fi­cial fog (dry ice) cre­ates a moody at­mos­phere, and it’s no dif­fer­ent in the stills pho­tog­ra­phy world.

By adding some ar­ti­fi­cial fog – we used a can of At­mos­phere Aerosol – you can turn plain en­vi­ron­ments into dra­matic stages, with shafts of light il­lu­mi­nat­ing the ar­eas around a model. All you need is a will­ing par­tic­i­pant, a win­dow with some di­rect light and harsh shad­ows, and the fog to fill it with. This tech­nique works best in­doors with no air move­ment, but if the air is rel­a­tively calm outside and you have the abil­ity to gen­er­ate a lot of ar­ti­fi­cial fog, you could get your shoes on and head into the open air.

We took our model, Esme, to the Avon Val­ley Rail­way in Bit­ton, UK, for our pho­to­shoot. As you can see, those vin­tage rail­way car­riages made the per­fect lo­ca­tion for a bit of sim­u­lated steam! So, grab your cam­era, your ar­ti­fi­cial fog and model, and we’ll ex­plore what you need to do.

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