Behind this Gender Reveal shot

I explain how I took this Gender Reveal shot with a red smoke bomb, turned it pink in Adobe Lightroom & also how I took the shot with a remote trigger

About the shot

We originally got this idea from Pinterest, and while we explored a few other options for our gender reveal, we had to go with using a smoke bomb (a red one, for better clarity vs a pink one.) Because smoke bombs look awesome in pictures, am I right? I also took this shot on my own, without anyone else behind the camera using a tripod and wireless remote.

I had my wife stand where we planned to both stand, focused on her, and then switched my lens to manual focus so the focus would be locked on that spot, without having to auto-focus every time I pressed the button on the trigger. Since the remote is an infrared remote, I needed a direct line of sight to the camera. So it was a little tricky holding my son on my shoulders and taking the shot. Once everything was setup, we lit the red smoke bomb, got in place and took the shot.

After all was said and done I edited the picture in Lightroom and changed the red hue to pink.

Equipment Used

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    Nikon D3300
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    NIKKOR 35mm 1.8g
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    1/160 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 100
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    Slik 700DX Pro Tripod
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    Velbon PH-368 Fluid Head
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    Neewer ML-L3 IR Wireless Remote
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    Adobe Lightroom for post-editing
RAW File

This is the original RAW image straight out of the camera

Final Edited File

This is the final edited image after edits in Adobe Lightroom

Making the Red smoke bomb Pink

In order to make the gender reveal perfect, you need to have pink for a girl and blue for a boy, right? The smoke bombs we purchased only came in red, white, blue, yellow and green. So we knew we would need to take some test shots prior to taking the final image. So, I knew I would need to do some post-editing in Adobe Lightroom, or even Photoshop to make the smoke look pink when using the red colored smoke bomb.

Since I had my tripod and remote, we tested with several colors to see how they would turn out, especially with the wind blowing the smoke any which way it wanted to. Once we ran through a few test shots, we had our composition correct, and just had to get ready to light the red smoke bomb. These things only had a 15 second life span too mind you.

Once we had our final image, and was done editing other parts of the image in Adobe Lightroom, I went to the HSL / Color / B&W section, and began dragging the Red Hue back and forth.

Once I had my desired look, I saved it, and exported the image form Lightroom.


Things to take away...

I could have used a higher shutter speed to capture the motion blur of my wife’s hand and a wider aperture, but wanted everything in focus at f/5.6 since I was using a wireless remote control. I also could have made the shot a little tighter, and recomposed the shot so we as subjects were more to the right, and more smoke would be visible to the left.

As far as my son, Jaxon, I definitely should have tickled him or made him laugh some other way to get him to smile in the picture. Since his face pretty much explains it being very bright out, though we were standing out of direct sun and in shade.

So, if I could do it all over again, those would be the changes I would make. If you have tips, please leave a comment down below!

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