Cosplay Photography Tips: How To Use Fire In A Photoshoot

Disclaimer: If you want to incorporate fire in your photoshoot, please do so in an appropriate location, correct guidance and proceed with caution. This article is only meant as a guide and we are not responsible for any injury it may cause.

If you’ve been a part of many photoshoots you want to spice things up with some kind of gimmick, fire would be one of the best ones out there. It’s amazing, it’s fun and most importantly, it has that ‘wow’ factor for everyone involved.

First things first, you’ll need to figure out how you want the fire to be used. Do you want the fire to come out in a stream like a flamethrower, or rounded like a fireball?

Fire like a stream?
A ball of flame?

In many cases, you would want your fire to be in a stream since characters like Todoroki Shoto would be shooting out flames from his palm. However, there are also many instances where you want your talent to be “holding the flame” which is more cinematic and epic. Either way, there are methods to try and use actual fire in your shoot with relative safety if done with caution.


Creating a stream of fire

  1. Get any flammable aerosol spray
    • But beware, try not to use aerosol spray that is toxic and may cause any harm like spray paint.
    • Try not to use old aerosol spray as this could be dangerous.
  2. Get a consistent light source
    • Use light source that is consistent and one that you can hold far away from yourself like a long barbecue lighter
    • A small light source is sufficient, sometimes bigger is not always better.
  3. Spray the aerosol spray towards the light source lighting it on fire!
    • Now, since the aerosol spray is flammable just spray it towards the light source, and you get your nice stream of fire!

How it works

Since the aerosol spray you chose to use is flammable, when you spray it towards the direction of the flame, it catches fire, similar to how fire breathing works. However, in this case, s6ince the aerosol is escaping the can at high pressure, it is unlikely to catch yourself on fire like a fire breather would, when the flammable liquid drips from the persons mouth.


Things to be aware 

  • Please only do this in an open area, and DO NOT try this in an indoor environment.
  • DO NOT spray for an extended period of time. While this is trick of creating fire is relatively safe to do, it’s not advised to keep the fire up for extended period of time, but only create the flame long enough to be captured.
  • DO NOT spray towards any living things. This goes without saying, but do not spray the flame towards the talent or your friends.

This method was used to create the fire at the red circled area. You could even use it in multiple directions to create even more fire in your image.

Now, that’s a pretty well-known trick and many would’ve had experience doing this flamethrower trick during their highschool days or at least seen some crazy guy doing it. The next trick is a lesser known trick but it’s safer to perform. This trick allows you to essentially “hold the flames”.

“Holding the flames” in your palms

  1. Prepare the materials as follows:
    1. A bowl of water
    2. Soap
    3. Butane Gas Cartridge
    4. Light source (Barbeque lighter, Matchstick, Lighter)
  2. Put some soap into the bowl of water to make it soapy
  3. Flip the Butane Gas Cartridge upside down and press into the bowl of water 
  4. Scoop the bubble caused by the butane gas cartridge
  5. Light the bubbles on fire!!!

How it works

The butane gas is released in soapy water where the gas would be trapped in the bubbles, so when the fire burns the gas in the bubble, it triggers a chain reaction, burning all nearby bubbles containing the butane, and at the same time rising upwards, keeping your hand relatively safe.


Things to be aware

  • The fire can still be a little hot, so don’t be too generous with the bubbles and be prepared to fling your hand to get rid of excess bubble if it gets too hot.
  • Fire is hot, so refrain from doing this near flammable objects.
  • If you have lots of hair on your hand or any area that you’re “holding the fire” with, expect it to be burnt.

So, those are the tips for incorporating fire into your next photoshoot. Remember to stay safe while trying out these new tricks, and share your results with us on our Facebook or Instagram!

For more photography lessons, follow Amos Teng on his website or Facebook.

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