As a wedding photographer, I always try to capture the best moments from each wedding. But quite often just capturing the moment passively is not good enough. I want to create something special. I want to add some magic touches to my photos and I use off camera flash, light modifier and various tricks to spice up my photos, but I want to do more.
I was really excited when I first heard of the Atmosphere Aerosol back in 2015. It seems to be exactly what I could use for my wedding photography. Unfortunately I was really disappointed when I found out Atmosphere Aerosol doesn’t accept orders from New Zealand. I emailed them and asked if there is any chance I could buy some here in New Zealand. They replied quickly and told me they are working on setting up distribution in NZ and they will let me know once it’s available in NZ. I haven’t heard anything from them again since then.
Until about two weeks ago, I suddenly received an email from Atmosphere Aerosol and it said their product is now available in New Zealand! I place an order straight away and guess what, they delivered it to me on the same day!
Atmosphere Aerosol claims their product is not only ozone safe but also doesn’t contain any chemicals currently listed as carcinogens or reproductive toxins. They also said inhaling small amounts of the Atmosphere Aerosol haze should not cause harmful effects. I haven’t done much research to see how true it is but at the end of the day, I believe anything in excessive amount is bad, even water. So just use your common sense when you are using the Atmosphere Aerosol. Don’t spray directly into someone’s face, don’t inhale large amount for long period of time and definitely don’t spray it into open fire.
The size of the can is similar to most large spray cans. With the cap on, it’s approximately the same size as a 70-200mm f/4 lens. Not small, but should still be able to fit in most camera bags easily. Look at the photo below, i can easily fit a can of Atmosphere Aerosol in my Billingham 207 bag alongside my D800, a SB900 speedlight and a few accessories in the main compartment.
The Atmosphere Aerosol works the best when used indoor or in a semi enclosed area with zero wind. Spray for 10-20 seconds and there should be a good amount of haze surrounding you. If you use it at places with no wind, the haze would stay for quite a long time. When I used it indoor, the haze disperse very slowly and last up to a few minutes, which gave me enough time to take a few set of photos.
For your photo to get the best result from the Atmosphere Aerosol or just any kind fog in general , remember you’ll need strong, directional light. For example, sunlight through the window frame, tree branches, or create the light yourself to simulate similar lighting effect.
I’ve also tried using the Atmosphere Aerosol outdoor and I found the haze would disperse very quickly even when there is only a little bit of wind. You definitely need an assistant if you want to use it outdoor. Get the assistant to stand at an upwind location and sprays from there so the haze would move towards your subject. You’ll need a bit of practice and shoot quickly, but it’s quite possible.
Since the Atmosphere Aerosol is a spray can, one question a lot of you would ask is, how long does one can of Atmosphere Aerosol last? How many photos can I take?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer as it really depends on how you use it and where you use it. According to the offical website, one can can spray continuously for around five and a half minutes. For myself, I was using the same can of Atmosphere Aerosol when doing this review. I’ve taken just under 20 sets of photos on a few different days and location. For each photo, I sprayed for about 15 seconds on average. And after taking all these photos, there is still a little bit left in my Atmosphere Aerosol can. Not bad at all.
Nikon Df | Nikon AFS 28mm f/1.8 | ISO 100 f/1.8 1/500s
With a bit of Atmosphere Aerosol
While I haven’t use it at any weddings or portrait photoshoot yet, I can imagine one can should be more than enough for a formal/location session as long as you don’t go super crazy.
I’ve now tried using it at some weddings I shot. The result is pretty good. Only thing is that I can’t use it at open, windy area but otherwise it is really nice. But be prepared you need to use a lot more if you try to create haze in outdoor area even if there is no wind. For the set of photos below I used almost 1 full can of Atomsphere Aerosol as I have to continually spraying it for 1 minute+ to create enough haze
The scene without haze and lighting.
And this is the photo I got after I’ve added a few lights and a lot of Atomsphere Aerosol.
Some of you may know I’m have collected quite a bit of Lego minifigures and I’m also a keen Lego photographer. I’ve shot a lot of Lego photos but one thing I feel missing in a lot of my Lego photos is the atmosphere. I quite often want to add a bit of haze to my photos and I have been trying to find a nice and easy way to do that. A normal fog machine would generate way too much fog for this kind of photos and the Atmosphere Aerosol seems to be the perfect solution for me. So soon after I received my Atmosphere Aerosol, I took the Lego photo below with the Atmosphere Aerosol and I’m quite happy with the result. It’s simple to use and I can control where I want the haze to be easily. You can also see below the same photo but without the haze. To me, the one with the haze just looks a lot more interesting.
Nikon D800 | Nikon PCE 45mm f/2.8 | Atmosphere Aerosol | ISO100 f/17 1/250s
Same photo as above, but without Atmosphere Aerosol. Without the haze, the photo just look so boring.
The Atmosphere Aerosol would usually leave nothing on the floor/surface once it dispersed. But probably because 10% of the spray is mineral oil, it could make the floor slightly glossy/oily if you are using it indoor. In extreme case, like when I sprayed directly onto something at close distance, there could be some white fluffy residue left of the surface. But it can be cleaned quite easily, and as I said, this only happens in extreme case. I really wouldn’t expect it to happen for portrait/wedding type of usage as you’ll never spray so closely to anything.
When spray directly onto something at close range, there could be a bit of white fluffy residue.
At $25NZD a can (single can retail price, multi-can or high volume users can purchase at discounted price), it’s not the cheapest way to create fog effects. It is probably a lot cheaper if you use a fog machine or some other home-made solution. But with the atmosphere aerosol, you pretty much just bring it out from your bag, give it a few shake just like any spray can and spray right away. No need to setup anything, don’t need electricity, no need to wait for the fog machine to warm up.
I’m definitely going to carry an Atmosphere aerosol can in my camera bag when I’m doing my weddings this summer. Even if I do use one can per wedding, it is probably one of the best bang for buck investment in my camera bag.
I can also see myself using it for non-wedding regularly as well. I will use the Atmosphere Aerosol for my Lego and product photography, but I will also experiment Atmosphere Aerosol for other kind of photography as well.
Above: No Haze Below: With Atmosphere Aerosol
Reviewer: Richard Wong
Richard is a multi-award winning wedding/portrait photographer based in Auckland, New Zealand. Richard’s website is www.photobyrichard.com
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