I describe myself, when asked, as a 'militant non-smoker', so the reason why I wanted to glamorize smoking in this way escapes me now completely. Actually I think the visual aspects of smoke are quite interesting as long as you don't have to smell the stuff.
I spent quite a long time setting up the background for this shot, making sure that the join in the paper came in the center of the girl's head. When I entered the photo in a local competition I had to smile when the judge, in his comments said "If you're at a group photo session and you can't get a good position, wait until you can get round to the front."
This raises the question of intention. If your intentions are not clear to the viewer then, to some extent, you have failed. Don't be too disheartened though if every viewer doesn't get it, as long as some do and, most importantly, the people whose opinions you respect. As the old saying goes 'you can't please all the people all the time'.
Lighting this type of picture also takes a little patience, you must balance the intensity of the backlight with the front light carefully to get the right effect. Multiple meter readings and test shots are essential. (see my studio lighting tutorial) and portrait tutorial
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