Home Photo Tech How To Make Cool Flame Images Photography in Long Exposure

How To Make Cool Flame Images Photography in Long Exposure

Flame is always formed in a gorgeous pattern. Flame images as we see are usually instantaneous photos taken with fast shutter speed. But how do they look like if made with long exposure? Yes, they give an outstanding look even then. Today I am going to discuss how I have taken a few flame images by using a long exposure. These are done just in my room with minimal and everyday items which are usually available around us. Very less effort is required for making outstanding flame images. So let’s give you some tips regarding this photography.

How To Take Flame Images Photography

As usual, I will go in a sequence where I will mention the place, required items, how to utilize those and the procedures.

Just Stay in Your Room for Flame Images

Where to take the photo? It is always a big concern for any photography. Sometimes thinking about the setup and location of photography, many persons lose their initiative. The good news is that you don’t need to worry about any particular requirement for the place of this type of photo. We need to consider only a few points before we go for this kind of photography. Let’s see what those are:

  • As we are working with fire, we must select such a place where there are no possibilities of a fire accident.
  • The place must be such so that it can be turned dark just switching off the lights or closing doors or windows.
  • It is better if there is a reflecting platform.
  • The background is not essential for this photo.

So we can select our room keeping a safe distance from the things to avoid fire accident.

What Do You Need? Relax, You Have Them All

Sometimes seeing some images, we think that those took many efforts as well as equipment. I must say those who do not know about how flame images are taken with long exposure will also think that those were made using many types of equipment and took a lot of efforts. But fortunately the equipment required for this photography is readily available in our house:

  • A dark room.
  • A showpiece or anything.
  • An air freshener or body spray.
  • A lighter.

You Have a DSLR, Right? That’s Enough

So far I have seen most of the DSLR cameras are well configured for maximum kind of photography. For some cases, a particular lens is required, but it’s uncommon that unique camera configuration is a must for any photography.

If you have a DSLR, then I am sure that it has the option to operate in manual mode and it has got a choice to work in optional bulb mode. Most of the DSLR cameras can take up to 30 seconds of exposure in manual mode. So this is enough for making flame images by long exposure.

No Need To Worry For A Special Lens

A kit lens is enough for making flame images. So no worries about choosing a lens. If the lens has got a manual mode to focus and aperture can be fixed from f/8 or higher than it will be enough for this kind of photography. The mentioned aperture is not a fixed lower range for selecting a lens, but it would be better if we can choose so. As the flame will be too bright so wide aperture may cause the image to be overexposed.


For every kind of photography, ISO is a big concern. What should be the range? Will it be perfect? Will there be any noise? Relax, keep it in 100. That’s it. Though we are taking a photo in the dark, we have to keep in mind that we will take a picture of a bright flame. So, we need to keep the range lower. This will produce less noise and won’t overexpose the image.

Just 3 To 5 Seconds, That’s It

For long exposure photography, we usually take exposure for more than 10 to many seconds. And that becomes a determining factor for any long exposure photography. But we don’t need a very long exposure for making flame images.

Yes, it is 3-5 seconds only. We are going to take the exposure of flames made by a very flammable substance that will come out from air freshener which will cover the entire frame within a second. So, I should say that the time of exposure will be the time just to press the air freshener.

Let’s Burn A Motorbike!

No, I am not going to burn a real bike. I am not that rich. I have selected a showpiece motorbike made of metal. Now let me tell you the procedure which I have followed.

1. Placing the Motorbike

I have placed the motorbike on the floor which was a tiles floor. I could not place it over a reflecting surface, and I guess that could have been better because that would give a nice look with a reflection.

2. Placing the Camera

I have placed the camera on the floor too. You can do it with a tripod as well. As I had a Canon 18-135 mm lens, thus I could place the camera keeping a distance so that it remains safe from the flame. I also recommend using such a lens so that you can follow the same procedure for keeping the lens and camera safe.

3. Camera Setup and Focusing

I have set the ISO at 100 as I mentioned the range earlier. The aperture of the lens was f/8 for some and f/10 for few of them. While focusing, I have focused before switching off the light and kept the mode of the lens in manual mode. The focusing mode was One Shot.

4. Pressing the Trigger

I have used remote to press the trigger as I was the only person for taking these photos. I have also tried it by self-timer of 10 seconds, and that was more than enough to prepare everything before the camera initiates to take the exposure. As the distance from the camera and the object was not that far so I could very quickly start the timer and then go behind the object.

5. After Pressing Trigger

We have some works after pressing the trigger. Just take the lighter in front of the air freshener and lit it. Then press the air freshener pointing towards the object. Change direction after each shot and keep the flame at the back of the object. For bringing variations, you may place the flame at one side or the top but should not bring forward as it will hide the object.

This process is very easy, but we must remain careful. Flames created by the gas of air freshener produces a very high temperature which may cause dangerous consequences if thrown in a wrong way. For safety purpose, we should put on safety glasses for protecting our eyes. Here are some photos I took:

Guitar on Fire: Flame Images

I have tried the same thing with my beloved guitar too! This time it was not a showpiece. It was a real non-electric guitar. But there was no damage to that. For this photo, almost all were the same. I have placed the guitar on a table, and the guitar was leaned against the wall. This time I have placed the camera on a tripod. Rest setup of the camera and the lens were same as the earlier image.

In this case, most of the time I have thrown the flame from the side and in a few instances, I have thrown towards the bottom of the guitar. As the guitar is longer than the motorbike, so I have started to throw the flame from the top and finished after reaching the bottom. Here are some photos I took:

Flame Images: Now You Do It

I am sure if you follow these guidelines and take ideas from the two examples mentioned above then you will be able to take stunning photos. Flame images always give a gorgeous look. You will never become tired of seeing new and new patterns of flame in each image. Now you can use your own imagination and creativity for making new flame images by long exposure. My common suggestion for any kind of photography is to see and learn. See pictures either from the internet or any other means and imagine in your own way. Hope you will be shooting great flame images.


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