Flaming Portraits is a technique to create portraits, very similar to light painting but with more dramatic effect. Travis Gadsby showed us step by step approach to create this. Its really very very safe than it looks. However taking necessary precautions when dealing with fire is recommended. And yeah, Photoshop has nothing on it.

Things you need

  1. A perfect dark spot – Any light leaking into the frame will be detrimental
  2. A strobe preferably powered by a portable power
  3. Tripod
  4. Camera – obviously
  5. Remote Shutter or a second person

How to make the flame

  1. DO NOT use gasoline or any fast flammables
  2. Tiki Oil works best
  3. Use a metal broom and wrap a cotton towel around it
  4. Tie the towel in place using metal wires
  5. Dip the towel end in the Tiki Oil

Before you light it up, make sure everything else is set correctly. Set the strobe and your model. Ensure he/she is perfect focus. Use F/22, ISO 200, 15 sec shutter to begin with. After focusing, put your lens in manual.

Now time to light up the fire. Make sure this is not in frame just yet. Click the shutter release and fire the strobe. After this bring the fire into the frame and slowly wave it around the model for 15 seconds.

Enjoy your flaming portrait.

REMEMBER to put down the flame in a safe manner once you are done. Keep canvas tarp, water, and fire extinguisher handy all the time.

Travis has a you tube post that will be helpful as well.

Split Toning in light room is the magic wand that can give “the look” to a photo. I find it extremely useful in making eye-catching portraits. One tip that I got from Serge Ramelli is that once you get ‘the look’ worked out, save the preset. You can then simply apply them on other photos to get the same look. Yup, its common sense thing but sometimes calling out explicitly to “save” helps.

If you would like the effect, you can download the preset. You can customize this further if you so wish to. Just post a comment on your work.

Making a self portraits is quite a bit challenging.

First – standing in front of the camera and behind it are 2 very completely different skills.
Second – Getting the focus right all by yourself is tricky.

Here is my first stab at this. I know that the focus is tad soft. Before I could complete the shoot, I lost my light. And yes, I wanted to have all natural/available light this time.

Going to make better attempt at this, next weekend!


Ragadi @ Zoo

Last fall, we had a great daddy-son day out at the MN, Zoo. It was beautiful fall day and we had loads of fun. There are many pictures from this trip that’s mind blowing. Almost no crowd, had by 70-300, and let my kiddo loose.



Working on some portrait lighting with my speedlite. Got a beautiful model to pose for me.

Got more pictures that I will upload as I process them. Also using this opportunity to hone my LightRoom skills as well.