Light Painting Photography is the Art Form of using handheld lights to paint and/or draw in a scene while the shutter of a camera is left open during a long. Light painting, painting with light, light drawing, or light art performance photography are terms that describe photographic techniques of moving a light source  ‎History · ‎Techniques · ‎Equipment. In this two part series I'm going to take you through step by step how I created the image above using light painting techniques that are actually quite easy.


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Once you know your exposure and your shutter speed is at least 30 seconds long, you can get started. If you can bring a friend along they can press the shutter release for you, so you can go in and out of the scene without returning to the camera after each shot to press it again.

Or a wireless remote painting with light in handy here too. My first shot to establish the base exposure.

Adding the flashlight — tips for light painting To keep yourself invisible, always make sure the flashlight is aimed at the subject, and that you do not light up yourself, dark clothing helps too.

Light Painting Part One - the Photography

Also keep moving during the whole exposure. Sometimes you can use painting with light technique on purpose to create streaks of light and outline your subject, and that can work well also.

See the image of the little red wagon above for an example of light bugs.

I believe I accidentally had my headlamp on while I painted and it painting with light the light bugs — but I kind of liked it so I kept it. Happy accidents are great!

Painting With Light - DIY Photography

Keep painting with light light moving the whole time so as not to create any harsh lines or bright spots. I like to make outlines of the shape of my subject or parts of it. Discover what works for you.

By that I mean about feet away from the subject.


YES you are going to get right into the scene. But if you keep moving, and keep your light painting with light you will not show up in the photo. There was no way to determine if any of the exposures were correct or not. To paint a whole scene you had to get it right in one frame or exposure.

You can even paint a scene in stages, or sections, and build them all into one image later in Photoshop. The things you want to look for in your first image are: How did you do with your flashlight painting?

: Painting With Light : John Alton, Todd McCarthy, John Bailey: Books

Here are some great ideas to painting with light this technique with: You can use several colors to make painting with light strong effect or to draw different even imaginary parts of your object. Image by Rodrigo da Cunha Location shot — find a location with some ambient light.

Also the white balance will be different on ambient and painted — another cool side affect.