Flame Photography Tutorial

A lot of us use perfumes right? We lavish some perfume on us every day and then bask in the goodness of the fragrance until it lasts. BUT, have you thought about doing something other than using your perfume for that purpose?

To get really original photos, you have to get really creative. To get really creative, sometimes you have to go the extra length and do something absolutely crazy.

Have you ever seen people’s Photoshop creations of flames with a black background? They look stunning isn’t it? People add artificial flames to objects, to text etc in Photoshop and make the things and text look real snazzy.

Well there is some good news. You can do that too! How? Without the use of Photoshop! That’s how! In this tutorial, you won’t even need to edit the photos, if you get them right. 

Creating flames in Photoshop or creating text/objects wrapped around with flames is surely not an easy task. To master this, it takes time. For a beginner, it might take more than 1-2 hours to get it done. After going through this tutorial, you can use various different candles to achieve magnificent ‘flame photography’.

What you need to get going?

-          One candle or more than one candle if you are feeling adventurous.
-          A cheap bottle of perfume. You wouldn’t want to burn away your Chanel No. 5!
-          An open space or a room where there is very less risk of a fire hazard.
-          A bucket of water for emergency cases. Doubt it anyone is going to be that silly that it would be required though!!
-          A surface to place the candle on. You could place the candle on the floor, but then working won’t be that easy; sitting on the knees and photographing would be tiring. Suggest you find a table of sorts and place the candle on top. Then find a chair and sit on it; photograph while sitting. Standing is good too!
-          A tripod.

Place the candle on the surface you have chosen. The environment should be dark, since you are looking for a dark black background in front of which you are going to be creating the flames.If you are going to do this outside, in an open space, do it at night.

Depending on which angle you want to capture the flames and your candle from, place and position the tripod and camera attached to it, accordingly. If you are using a DSLR and it has the Live View function, use that since it is easier that way. If your DSLR doesn’t have Live View, then that is fine too. You can use the viewfinder.

For people using their point and shoots, you guys already use the Live View function of your point and shoot.

Light the wick of your candle.

If you are using a DSLR in manual mode, focus your lens before hand to give you a good sharp focus of the candle and the flame, without any blur. I would suggest you use manual mode, but if you have a good camera with fast autofocus motor, then you can use automatic mode as well.

We are not going to use the flash. Set your camera to Shutter Priority. For people with point and shoots, just turn off your flash setting.

The pictures will be taken using long exposures. Your ideal shutter speed should be 2 seconds; hence the use of a tripod.

You can get someone else to help you with the next part, or you can do it yourself if you think you can take the photos one handedly. With your right hand man the camera and with your left hand hold the perfume bottle at a safe distance; the nozzle pointing towards the flame. Press the shutter half way down to bring the photo in to focus, if you are using the DSLR’s autofocus motor.

With the shutter speed set at 2 seconds and the photo in focus, press the shutter fully. This will give you few milliseconds to spritz the perfume at the candle flame. Keep spraying gently and see the flame react to the alcohol content. It will produce different reactions. The camera will capture that reaction and hopefully, if you have done it well, produce a good photograph of the flames.

Use that technique with different candles; also with more than one candle in the same photograph. If you are going to be using more than one candle in the same photograph, then ideally for your own safety, you should get someone else to help you.

This simple and easy technique produces lovely photographs and hopefully you will impress your friends etc, with the quality of creative flame photography that you produce.

The final product:


  1. Wow! I am so gonna do it :D
    Thank you for writing this :D Well done!

    -Peace and harmony

  2. I love it! I want to try this too!
    Thanks for a wonderful post.


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