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Love Is in the Air: How to Create a Heart Shaped Smoke Ring Photo for Valentine's Day

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What You'll Be Creating

In honor of Valentine's day, here's how to create a still life image that makes you want to snuggle up next to the fireplace with a good book. We take a cup of hot chocolate and give it little a holiday twist.

In This Tutorial You Will Learn To:

  1. Light a still-life photograph of a cup of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee
  2. Colour correct, spot, and clean up the image
  3. Use level adjustments to fine tune your look
  4. Manipulate shapes: steam, smoke, clouds, and similar

Equipment List

You don't need a lot of fancy gear to do this tutorial. You will need:

  • Camera with a macro lens (or macro capability)
  • Tripod
  • 3 lights, flashes preferred, as freezing rising steam requires a flash or a very fast shutter speed
  • Diffusion material for flashes
  • White paper as a reflector
  • Card stock to block light strategically
  • A kettle of water
  • Cotton balls (microwaved)
  • Tongs

Final Image

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