Long Exposure Tips and Painting with Light

13

Doing long exposure shots and light paintings can be an easy and enjoyable experience. By remembering some tips and tricks, anyone can do it well.

Today I will give you some long exposure tips:

Credits: suizidekid

What do you need for Long Exposure Shots?

1.) A Tripod
2.) Cable release
3.) Low ISO Film
4.) Darkness

The most important part in doing long exposures is stabilizing the camera. With this you will need a tripod. But if you don’t have one and you still want to test long exposures, lay it on a flat surface and don’t move the camera while shooting. In order to get sharp photos it is highly recommended that you use a cable release too. Unless your hands are very steady there is a possibility that the camera will jiggle while pressing the shutter.

Since you are using a tripod you should use a low ISO Film in order to have nice photo quality. Otherwise your photos will be grainy and grey if you use an ISO 400 for example.

What camera should you use? It does not really matter. I made long exposure photos with my expensive Mamiya 645 and with the cheap La Sardina. Use the camera you feel the most comfortable with and follow the tips I just mentioned.

Now let’s talk about the different effects you can do on Long Exposure Shots:

1.) Still shots, I cannot really tell you about the exposure times because it really depends a lot on what you are shooting and how bright it is. If you don’t have a Light meter or an Automatic Mode, just try different time settings. After your first tests you will get a feeling for it.

Credits: suizidekid

2.) Shots with Motion, The longer your exposure time is the more motion will be in your photo. You can try out different time settings to see the different motion effects.

Credits: suizidekid

3.) Light painting, First you need something to paint with. You can use anything that gives light like a flashlight or a Snap Light Stick. I would suggest one or two LED flashlights in different sizes. To get some color variations, just cut a piece out of a plastic shopping bag with every color you want and attach them with an elastic band on the flashlight. In this case you can change the color quickly.

For the technique on how to light paint my brother @rar01 will give you some tips:

Hi everybody! Light painting is of course mostly based on improvisation and just trying stuff out. But I will still try to tell you a few tips and tricks on how to make it a little easier if you’re just starting out to explore this technique.

The biggest challenge in light painting is probably drawing in open space with no way to see the lines you’ve already done and a lot of times you don’t have reference points for your orientation like the edges on a piece of paper.

Probably the easiest way to work around this is to outline people or object with your light source. Since the objects and hopefully your models as well don’t move, it’s pretty easy to know where you started your line and what you did at which point in the photo. Just keep in mind that a photo is 2 dimensional, so everything you do just works as long as the camera can see it. This is also important when you put your objects in position or think of a pose for your model. It has to be recognizable or look dynamic or whatever you are going for from the perspective of the camera.

Credits: suizidekid

A bit more difficult but still a big help is to add drawing to the object or person you’ve been working with in our first step. Make them visible on your shot by using a flash or a flashlight and after that start with the painting. You’ll have to do a lot more improvising here, but if you started let’s say right beneath the nose of your model and you’re painting him/her a trendy mustache, you still know that your line also has to end there. If you add more to the photo than just one element, again keep in mind that the shot will be 2 dimensional. Too many overlapping lines and shapes could take away the recognizability of your drawing. Also, color mixes with light, so if you’re using too many colors on the same spot it will probably appear as white color on your shot.

Credits: suizidekid

Probably the most difficult thing is drawing in open space. The only way to remember starting points and areas is to use your own body. One thing you can do is to use your non dominant hand ( or your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa) to mark the starting points of your lines or edges of shapes you draw. As you draw and move your body you will most likely also move your hand but it should still give you a rough imagination of where this reference point was.

The second trick I found to be useful is to pick starting points that you remember like for example right in front of your own shoulder while you’re standing up straight. As long as you don’t move your feet it should be no problem to remember this spot and find it again at every time. If you combine those two techniques it should be a lot easier knowing where you drew a shape and to find the spots where you want to add more lines to it later on, like a face inside of a circle to draw a little smiley face. The rest is as I said earlier, experimentation, getting a feel for it, and just having fun! I hope this is helpful to some of the ambitious beginners out there.

Credits: suizidekid

written by suizidekid on 2013-01-23 in #gear #tipster #flash #light #tripod #tipster #cable-release #art #light-painting #flashlight #long-exposure #night

13 Comments

  1. clownshoes
    clownshoes ·

    Great man

  2. 134340
    134340 ·

    nice article

  3. sudhashunmu
    sudhashunmu ·

    awesome article could u tell me the exposure time for the black and white film...itwill be very kind of you.....as i am sruggling with the exposure timing only thank you

  4. robotto_dawad
    robotto_dawad ·

    nice :D

  5. suizidekid
    suizidekid ·

    @sudhashunmu that depends on what B/W film ... how many iso it has, and what you are shooting, I had on my b/w photos you see here a 400ISO roll and 8 seconds exposure time

  6. suizidekid
    suizidekid ·

    @clownshoes @134340 @robotto_dawad thanks a lot :)

  7. sudhashunmu
    sudhashunmu ·

    sorry for the spelling mistakes there.....well thanks a lot for that bit of info...LE yeah i use mostly 100 or 200 asa films for less grains and usually assume for more than 12 mins .....thanks for the tip again .
    its a wonderful pic indeed

  8. filipdr
    filipdr ·

    thanks for the tips and tricks

  9. suizidekid
    suizidekid ·

    @sudhashunmu i guess you mean 12 seconds not minutes ?

    @filipdr you are welcome :)

  10. kbear
    kbear ·

    I remember when light painting got really big a few years ago! Those German guys used to actually make little films with painted light.

  11. grazie
    grazie ·

    thanks for the tips!

  12. hodachrome
    hodachrome ·

    Great tips! Thanks @suizidekid

  13. suizidekid
    suizidekid ·

    thanks @hodachrome and @grazie

More Interesting Articles

  • 50 Electrifying Light Paintings From The Lomography Community

    written by tomas_bates on 2015-08-17 in #gear #news
    50 Electrifying Light Paintings From The Lomography Community

    Light Painting is a cool technique that we love to do when we're in the mood for experimenting with photos. It's super easy and fun, and it only requires a dark room, a friend or two to collaborate with, a camera with long exposure mode and a light painting tool to get started. Check out 50 of the most vibrant light painting photos taken by your fellow Lomographers after the cut!

    5
  • Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Adam Powell

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-11-04 in #gear #tipster
    Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Adam Powell

    There are so many exciting things you can do with the Lomo'Instant camera, it's hard to know where to start! We've been giving this lovable Lomo camera the full test drive so that you can experience its full potential in an instant! Here are some top tips on shooting very long exposures in dark places.

    3
  • An Instant Review: Pixelstick Shots from Lomography Hong Kong!

    written by candilsw on 2015-05-21 in #gear #lifestyle
    An Instant Review: Pixelstick Shots from Lomography Hong Kong!

    Pixelstick is exactly the must-get tool to create mind-blowing light paintings with different colours and patterns: 1.8 meter long, 200 full colour and high fidelity LEDs! Grab your camera with long exposure mode and a tripod, and you can create dozens of dreamy pictures just by moving your Pixelstick in the dark. Take a peep at our friends from Lomography Hong Kong’s shots with the Pixelstick!

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • First Brush with Light Painting Competition

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-07-01 in #world #competitions
    First Brush with Light Painting Competition

    Do you consider yourself a light painting wizard? Show us your mad tricks and score an amazing set of light painting tools from Light Painting Brushes!

    2
  • Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    written by tomas_bates on 2015-01-21 in #gear #tipster
    Chemical Manipulations with the Lomo’Instant

    Perhaps you’ve already had chance to try light painting, multiple exposures and long exposures with your Lomo’Instant, but what can you experiment with next? Well, that’s exactly the thought I had which led to giving this Tipster a go. I wanted to shoot Lomo’Instant photos which felt a bit “messier” than what I’m usually used to and to use a technique which would open up new possibilities with the kinds of images I could create with my favorite instant camera. Well, here I go!

    2
  • Lomo'Instant Light Painting LomoAmigo: Ian Hobson

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-08-18 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Lomo'Instant Light Painting LomoAmigo: Ian Hobson

    Ian Hobson is a photographer based in the United Kingdom who specialises in light paintings. He recently tested the Lomo'Instant with his Pixelstick - an unbeatable light painting combo! Here are some of his amazing shots, as well as a few pointers on light painting and shooting at night.

    12
  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Hannah Brown

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-10-28 in #gear #tipster
    Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Hannah Brown

    There are so many exciting things you can do with the Lomo'instant camera it's hard to know where to start! We've been giving this lovable Lomo camera the full test drive so that you can experience the full potential of this camera in an instant! Here are some top tips on shooting graffiti and doubles with Hannah Brown.

  • Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Adriana Brioso

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-12-09 in #gear #tipster
    Lomo’Instant Quick Shots: Adriana Brioso

    There are so many exciting things you can do with the Lomo'instant camera, it's hard to know where to start. We've been giving this lovable Lomo camera the full test drive so that you can experience the full potential of this camera in an instant! Here are some top tips on shooting graffiti and doubles with our UK intern Adriana Brioso.

  • Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    written by jennifer_pos on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news #lifestyle #tipster
    Painting Delights: Going Wild with the Pixelstick

    Ever since light painting was invented, it inspired artists from all around the globe to magical creations that capture hidden movements and reinvent the world we live in. "Life is a fairy tale, stay wild little child!" is what they want to tell us. Bringing light to life became the next challenge for anyone rigged with a film camera and a creative mind. Now, how can you take your analogue light paintings from the ordinary to the outstanding? After the carriage came the car, so we definitely need some spacy inventions to follow the old school light pen. So here it is, our new best friend: The Pixelstick!

    8
  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Welcome to 365 Days of Lomography!

    written by Derek Woods on 2015-02-05 in #people #lifestyle
    Welcome to 365 Days of Lomography!

    Throughout this project I will be shooting with a variety of Lomography cameras to explore how they render the world in their own unique ways, as well as some tips and tricks I learn along the way.

    2
  • Illuminate Your Life with the Brand New Lomography Light Painter

    written by shhquiet on 2015-07-27 in #gear #news
    Illuminate Your Life with the Brand New Lomography Light Painter

    Think you can’t paint? Well, we think you can….with light! Enhance your photographs with stunning light effects in just a few easy clicks of the Lomography Light Painter. Brand new to the Lomography repertoire, this wonderful gadget is equipped with eight different light variations that allow for ultimate light painting experimentation.

  • Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-04-20 in #gear #lifestyle
    Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    Ever since the Pixelstick came out, I've been dying to try it out. This past week, I finally got my chance! With one goal in mind — getting some super cool light-painting shots — I grabbed some friends for an amazing session with my Lomo'Instant and the Pixelstick. Take a moment and have a look at these priceless pics!

    4