What are the best tips for light painting?

With Light Painting there are no strict rules on the outcome, but here are some valuable tips to help you get the best shot.

One of the biggest tips that will help you achieve mesmerizing photos is to have a tripod or a surface where you can firmly place your camera. This will minimize any movement and keep the camera steady when taking the photo.

Shoot somewhere dark. Despite it being harder to focus, shooting in the darkest possible location will allow the results of light painting to be seen more clearly and take center stage.

When creating text for light painting one thing to remember is that your camera will treat the text as if you are in a mirror. This means you’ll have to write the text from right to left and in reverse rather than doing it as if you’re writing on paper.

Try shooting a busy highway at night. Doing a long exposure in these areas is a popular subject as the moving cars act as your light source. Despite not being in control of the lighting, it can lead to interesting and breathtaking photos.

When trying to create silhouettes always remember to shoot in a dark room. To create a silhouette shine your light source on a person or an object the silhouette will be based on. Because of the dark room and lack of light instead of seeing the subject you will simply capture the outline of the shape.

Combining light painting with multiple exposures will also give fascinating results. Shooting first a dark room or image as the first exposure, then using the additional exposures, you can go wild with lighting and see how the results come through from this technique.

Beyond these tips – trial, error and experimentation are what make light painting truly unique and a favorite among Lomographers. So improvise and have fun!

photos by @oukrid, @zeihha, @ 1conocla5t

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More Courses

  • What is light painting?

    What is light painting?

    Light Painting (sometimes known as Light Graffiti) is a technique where you can alter the photo by creating movements of light within the image.

  • How to do a long exposure with an instant camera?

    To do a long exposure with an instant camera, make sure your camera has a bulb or a long exposure mode as one of its settings. Lomography’s instant camera range whether it’s Lomo’Instant Square or the Diana Instant Square, have previously mentioned features that will allow you to experiment with long exposure and light painting

  • What do I need to start creating long exposures or light painting?

    Having a camera with manual or bulb mode, as well as a tripod, and a portable light source is all you need to start creating long exposures and light painting.

  • Which settings should I use on my camera for light painting?

    For light painting make sure to be on manual or bulb mode when shooting. Depending on what you want to do with your light painting you can set the shutter from 30 seconds to a few minutes in order to create your photograph.

  • How long should I expose the frame for a long exposure photo?

    To start creating a long exposure you should set the shutter to stay open for at least 2 seconds. From here you can start to experiment and figure out what shutter speed works for the effect you want to create.

  • Which Lomography cameras can be used for long exposures or light painting?

    Which Lomography cameras can be used for long exposures or light painting?

    Most of the Lomography cameras come with a bulb function which allows the shutter to stay open for as long as the user is holding the shutter release button. Other Lomography cameras also have the option of using a shutter release cable.

  • What film should I use for light painting?

    Any film can be used for light painting but film stocks with an ISO 400 or 800 are commonly used since it does well in low light situations. It is mostly your camera and the settings that will determine the success of your light painting photo. Film stocks with an ISO of 400 or 800 are commonly used since they do well in low-light situations.