With wildfires seeming to become a normal part of life in the American West, I have clients who are nervous that smoke will ruin either their wedding photos or family shoot. The good news is that smoke is actually an advantage during a photoshoot.
Let me explain why.
Smoke creates a filter that takes away the harshness of the sunlight which can create shadows on people's faces and cause people to squint. Normally, I like to do photoshoots either early in the morning or later in the day because of light. With smoke it makes it easier to shoot at any time during the day. This is great for weddings where couples are following a timeline and don't necessarily have the flexibility to shoot in the best light. Smoke also creates a bit of a mystical backdrop.
Below are a few pics from a family shoot in Lake Tahoe where there was a bit of smoke in the sky. Normally, shooting on the lake can be tricky because of the reflection of the sun on the water. In this case, the smoke helped dilute the reflections.