A Quick Guide to Light Painting

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Perhaps you've seen vibrant photographs like these -- illuminated with all sorts of bright colors and swirling around a subject -- and baffled how it was done. The magic trick lies in this technique called light painting. Not only is it fun to do, but it's really easy as well: you just need to be equipped with a light painting tool of your choice, a tripod, and a camera on Bulb mode. Also, you need to shoot in low-light conditions to maximize its full potential.

Credits: wildholzkamera, juzifer, ccwu, moodification & kylethefrench

What is Light Painting?

Usually done in low-lit surroundings, Light Painting is when you control the light that enters the camera's lens and use it to "paint" on the photograph.

Credits: kleinerkaries, dikasapi, cheenweg & endorphin

The Step by Step

Are you afraid of the dark? We hope not, because light painting is most effective in low-light.

  1. Wait until dusk, or go into a dark room.
  2. Prop your camera on a steady surface or a tripod. Make sure that no one moves it while you're doing your thing!
  3. Set your camera on B (Bulb) mode. The shutter will remain open for a longer time, allowing more light to enter the lens.
  4. Using a light painting tool of your choice, start doodling, swirling, or writing.
  5. Have your film processed and marvel at your light painting masterpiece.
Credits: dogma, tesatscad, 5thdimension, j_robert, dikasapi & moodification

Light Painting Tools

So you've got your tripod and camera ready? Now it's time to choose a light painting tool. You can use a handy flashlight or a glow stick, but if you're looking for an upgrade, consider these items that are exclusively designed for light painting.

From L-R: Translucent Light Writers, Lomography Light Painter, Pixelstick, 9in Rectangle Plexiglass Brush, and 9in Diamond Plexiglass Brush

Translucent Light Writers (set of 6)

Create smooth and silky colorful effects with these handy light writers.

Lomography Light Painter

Explore many experimental light painting possibilities by playing with the different color modes!

Pixelstick

An advanced light painting tool that also allows you to impose images and animations on your subject! Paint the night away or load up interesting textures and images for really cool photographs.

9in Rectangle Plexiglass Brush

When connected to a light emitting device, you can create head-turning light textures in just a sweep. Prance around with sweeping movements and there you go -- you're light painting!

9in Diamond Plexiglass Brush

Similar to the aforementioned plexiglass brush, you can create light textures by connecting this plexiglass brush with a light emitting device and then doing your painterly gestures!

Further reading:

A Video About Light Painting on Smarter Every Day
50 Electrifying Light Paintings From The Lomography Community
Light Painting and Life with Pablo Picasso
Commitment To Sparkle Motion: Sparkler Portraits and Light Painting
A Guide to Steel Wool Lightpainting
What to Avoid When Doing Light Painting


Visit the Lomography Online Shop to see the full range of light painting tools. For more fun facts, tips, and FAQ about this technique, hop on to the Light Painting microsite.

2017-02-26 #tutorials #light #light-painting #light-paint #pixelstick #lomography-light-painters #plexiglass-brush

2 Comments

  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    it's almost a year since dikasapi passed away =(

  2. wildholzkamera
    wildholzkamera ·

    Great! You have chosen a photo of mine! Thanks @lomographymagazine :)

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