Shoot 2 – Chinese money frog and smoke

Today I tried a Chinese money frog with smoke images.  Having always wanted to play with smoke and never getting round to it.  I decided on my Chinese money frog to be the subject, and after the shoot I now wonder WHY!!!!!!   Its very small and it was very hard to light.

I started with my Elinchrom Stripbox and then changed to a reflector dish with honey comb, finally taking the honey comb off.  For the reflector dish I added a red gel over the top so I could make the smoke red to match the Chinese money frog.  I also placed a silver reflector opposite the flash to push some light back into the frog.

Like yesterday I decided to start off by killing the ambient first so I had full control over the image with my flash.   I use two settings for this – f8 – 1/160th – ISO 200 and then when I took the honeycomb off – f11 – 1/100 – ISO 200.  This time I moved the board behind into a landscape position.

Below you can see where the honeycomb was and the reflector plus my first style of smoke.

The Smoke

For the first smoke I burnt some paper in the glass jar you see above, and then blew the smoke towards the frog… this helped create an atmosphere smoke style (as shown below).  The second smoke I used was an incense stick which gave me a lot more control and defined smoke.  Below is two images which show the different smokes with the gel.

paper smoke in photography  Incense smoke in photography

And the video of the incense being photographed (please be aware there is flash photography before watching)

I was hoping this would A: be easy and B: be done in one shot.  Unfortunately I was wrong on both accounts.  I had to composite a couple of shots together to get the image I wanted.  When editing I found that the frog didn’t look right with the gel on it.  I also realised this was not the ideal item to use.  I should have given it a really good clean before hand, photo-shopping dust is not fun.  The last thing I added to complete the image was tipping water onto the table again, to create the reflection.  You could use perspex (which I will be in the future) Images used for composites:



Below are the edited images.  The first one I attempted to use the frog with the Gel on, but soon realised it lost impact.  The second image is the final edit, although still if I am honest not fully happy with it. But also not sure where to take it… so all ideas welcome! Send me over an e-mail: if you have any ideas.

Chinese money frog; smoke; product photography; Elinchrom

If you have just landed on my site and your wondering what the 2019 Photography Challenge is then have a look at this blog post –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *