Light is essential for photography, it reveals the form and color of our subjects. What if we forget about the subject and make €œlight€ our subject? Enter light painting. Grab a couple of glow sticks, set your camera for long exposure and get your rave on!

Light Painting #14 (Vortex)

With light painting you are not limited to capturing reality. You can create a new reality from scratch, or just highlight the parts you want under the light that you prefer. Get your creative cap on and think what you can do with smoke, glowing liquids, a nice black light and a skateboard…

Here are some tips to get you going:

  • Dress in black, so you don’t show in the picture; perfect time to use that ninja mask!
  • Select the lowest ISO to minimize noise, the long exposure time will compensate your exposure.
  • Use small aperture, it will make it easier for your photo to be in focus.
  • Use manual focus; it is hard for most cameras to focus in darker situations.
  • If you have to use autofocus, then use the old trick of the laser pointer with a shape, shine the laser onto the area of interest and your camera should not have problems focusing on that.
  • A steady camera is a must, you do want to use your tripod for this.
  • Angle your light source so some of it is pointing to the camera.

Here are some great examples of what can be done.

Just Add Light

This article gives some useful advice on not seeming suspicious.

Although not technically photos, the images in this article are awesome!

I guess the image below is not light painting, but it is related. Light steel wool on fire and swing it around to get an amazing show! A coffee can on a string with holes in it can help.

A Light Painting Experiment