Fire Performer Photography

The simplest way any photographer can show a fire performer at their most primal is to focus your attention, and thus your viewer’s attention, away from the fire and on to the performer where it must belong.

Fire spinning is a dangerous and beautiful art form. In my experience, far too many photographers obsess over finding the perfect camera settings to capture pretty fire textures and siiiiiiiiick fire spinning trails while they ignore the human performer who is risking serious injury or death every time they light their props.

Below, I’ve compiled a growing list of my best photography tips, tricks, and camera settings to help you improve your photography of fire performers and other flow artists. It is my hope that these methods can help you add a new dimension to your photography. My intention is to help you learn to see past the fire itself in order to photograph the soul of the performer by combining the best photography techniques from photojournalism, sports photography in particular, with different elements of portrait photography.

The best fire performer photographers depict the art and danger of fire performance for maximum visual impact. It’s never about the pretty flames and siiiiiiick textures.


I shouldn’t have to say this, but here we are.

I am an experienced fire performer photographer. Photos taken with fire involved professional fire performers with proper fire safety training, equipment, and procedures in place.

The use of fire comes with inherent risks to life, limb, or property. Any action you take based on any information on this website is strictly at your own risk and I will not be held liable for any loss or damages you caused to yourself or others because you chose to use fire in any way.

TL; DR: Don’t be a bogan wook. Leave the siiiiiiiiick fire trails and fire plumes to the professionals and support them by cheering their performances in person!

How to photograph fire peformers – Tips and Techniques

Bonus Fire Performer Photography Tip: The Most Important One!

If you want to create the best photos of fire spinners and other flow artists, then the most important thing you can do is to forget about the fire. Learn how to see the human being behind the pretty flames, instead. I promise that your flow artist photography will improve!

The Most Important Fire Photography Tip

How to photograph fire performers – TL; DR

Here are the basic steps you need to keep in mind when you’re photographing fire performers. I’m assuming that you’re already reasonably comfortable with the controls of your camera and aren’t trying to use Auto or any of the semi-auto modes to your camera. Photographing fire performers is an advanced style of photography and isn’t for the point-and-shoot or smartphone photographer.

  1. Think like a photojournalist

    Learn the skills and techniques unique to photojournalists and, especially, sports photographers. Fire performers move at a fast pace and you should never try to get them to slow down their performance, just for you.

  2. Learn about “safety third” and “consent”

    You owe safety to the audience and performer first, the venue second, and yourself third. Get consent from the perfomer(s) as soon as possible. Some don’t like flash. Some are okay with it.

  3. Basic Rifle Marksmanship

    Your camera is not a rifle but BRM techniques certainly help. Steady your position, use proper aim, control your breathing, gently squeeze the shutter release. It really works!

  4. Shoot. Move. Communicate.

    No, you are not a soldier, but without movement and communication with everyone around you there’s a good chance that you’ll end up more disruptive to the performance than anything else. Don’t be that guy!

  5. Learn to overcome boredom

    Believe it or not, once you get over the novelty of trying to capture siiiiiiiick trails with super sharp textures in the flames or yet another narcissistic performer trying to demonstrate their latest tech moves (flow is always better), you can use that boredom to your creative advantage.

  6. Practice your technique until it’s second nature

    Muscle memory makes a difference! We’re talking about knowing where the buttons and controls are, how many clicks it takes to dial the control wheel, anticipating a performer’s next move, using back-button auto-focus, the center focus point only, the limitations of your lens (they all have limitations), how far your flash can reach, and so on — all with your head on a swivel and your eyes fixed on the performer.

Want to see more of my photography?

My portfolio features the best of my headshot, portrait, event, and boudoir photography.

Are you looking for an experienced fire-performer and flow artist photographer near Boston, MA to help you refresh your social media, EPK, or performance website with some seriously good photography?

I can confidently assure you that my photography will always focus on the person behind the siiiiiiiick fire trails and pretty lights first.