Infernal (Katherine Velours With Backlit Smoke), Shrub Hill Common

This is my first upload from my second shoot with the dictionary definition amazing Katherine Velours.


Our first shoot was interrupted by a near literally cataclysmic rain storm. Having been drenched the first time around, we figured we'd go ahead with the second shoot despite stalking rain threatening to turn to thunder. I'm so glad we gave it shot. Certainly there was plenty of rain about, yet setting up in a wooded area for shelter we ended up with great cover from the wind for a series of backlit smoke shots.


The smoke comes from some little pellets from a company called "Pea Soup" that I'd recommend. I think they're sold as paint-balling supplies. Focusing through it is a nightmare; I dread to think what this would have cost shooting on film.


The superb Darryl J Dennis is providing invaluable assistance wafting the wayward smoke around with a spare reflector.


There's a danger my photostream is going to be completely overrun with shots from this series... Please shout at me if that becomes the case. There's a B&W version in the comments; this one has to be colour to my mind, but I've really enjoyed people's thoughts on the colour/B&W versions when I post alternatives. The feedback is especially appreciated when people disagree, so if you have a second I'd love to know what you think.


Hopefully everyone is having an amazing week.


Info for Strobist:


2x Canon 600EX-RT - master on camera in Lasolite "Ezybox" at ~1/16, slave fired by built in RT in umbrella 45 degrees camera left, 2 feet above model, 3m back, gelled CTO, at 1/2 power. Backlight is from an LED strip (ungelled) just behind the model camera left, and a 220 lumen Lenser MT7 military flashlight gelled red about 4m behind the model on the ground. There's a 1.2m silver reflector on a makeshift stand camera right, just off axis.


  • H Matthew Howarth PRO 2y

    B&W version:

    Infernal (Koochie Koo Red Smoke) - Alternate Take
  • Anup PRO 2y

    that is just magnificent Matthew...brilliant lights and the smoke adds magic to this superb image...the colour version does much more justice to this image as the background glow and the shine on the hair is totally lost on the B&W...fab work my friend
  • j. javier 2y

    Maybe this time we lost a lot in a B/W version, even if in the second we have more detail at the smoke behind her.What I definitly like is the natural crop you propose. Excellent work, anyway. Be sure I will not shut you, each upload is a great portrait tutorial.
    Have a great wednesday!
  • Judith Taylor PRO 2y

    Definitely in colour for the witch, and definitely keep the inferno ! Somehow in the B&W she looks demure to me and this therefore conveys quite a different story. Your imagination and skill know no bounds :)
  • Jacob Edmiston PRO 2y

    Lovely portrait like always, Matthew!!
  • ladydipim PRO 2y

  • Ania.Photography - OFF PRO 2y

    Fascinating portrait work Matt,love the color tonalities and added steam
  • obayed haque 2y

    A lovely portrait. Wonderfully taken.
  • Dennis Jarvis PRO 2y

    Excellent portrait, beautiful. Have a great day and keep smiling.
  • Sudarshan V 2y

    Wonderful portrait., more sensational in appearance and thrilling in colorful effects!!!
    Another great creative work., well done. Happy days ahead!!
  • Tom Eversley PRO 2y

    Love the lighting here Matt

    A winner !
  • beautythief PRO 2y

    Lovely, Matthew! How about putting her in front of a caldron with vapor coming off the bubbling pot and she the magician? Gives purpose to the smoke.
  • Brian Krouskie PRO 2y

    Amazing atmosphere, love the smoke. Her expression is fantastic as well.
  • Akiko Morita 2y

    Very interesting portrait work series. The effect of smoke and light are fascinating indeed..!! Very informative. Look forward to next work! :D
  • Colorado Sands PRO 2y

    Very intriguing work!
  • Andrew Watson PRO 2y

    Excellent portrait! Love the smoke!
  • Andrew Behr 2y

    cool effect. I thought it was probably dry ice but..
32 faves
Taken on August 5, 2013
  • EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • ƒ/3.2
  • 100.0 mm
  • 1/125
  • 1600
  • Flash (on, fired)
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