In the end, the best way to edit the smoke scene was to highlight the areas of smoke with the selection tool, created another layer and increase the brightness. The edges of the selection needed then to be feathered (30% occupancy) to blend with the original image. Focal features like the eyes, lips and closest areas of cuff were sharpened.
I also experimented with reflection, I thought it would be interesting to have a shadow reflection looking straight at the viewer (eerily wrong). This could symbolise a second dimension or a parallel universe.
I also carried out a second mini shoot with a male model. We used incense sticks to create more smoke. After researching about Bill Viola, I decided to try and make the smoke move and swirl to add another dimension. I did this with two of the pictures and submitted these as my finished pieces.
To make the background move, I selected the area I wanted to remain still, then cut and pasted onto a new layer. I then expanded the original background image by 10 pixels Edit>fill (content aware) which erased the model. I dragged the layers into a video document and converted them to smart objects. Window>timeline>transform – I chose the background positions to start and finish in rotation actions, this created movement for the smoke.
The mini shoot was also created in the studio, a piece of card was cut out in the shape of my models face profile. This was held up on half of his face while the incense burner smoked, so it remained clear. The shot was set up in advance with a tripod and when the card was removed, the shot was quickly taken. This created smoke on one side of the face.