Light painting photography – tips & tricks to paint with light
Published: April 02 2015
Capturing good-quality images in the dark simply means having the best kind of light to support your photography. Other than the usual equipment like flash, you can use a phone or a tablet for trick photography. It isn’t a replacement for a flash, but light-painting photography is something even better. Light-painting photography is a technique where, in long exposures, you capture the motion of light throughout the exposure duration. In our case, this is done through a phone or tablet, but this can be done through any light source, including a sparkler.
Light Painting by M. A. Cabrera Luengo
Light painting with phone
The basic principle behind this trick photography is that, when there is less light in the surrounding, your camera takes more time to capture an image. So when you are shooting in the dark, the camera’s shutter speed is longer to capture a shot. Now, coming to light-painting photography, to move your source of light, you can either move your source of light (this can be your phone or tablet), or you can move your camera. The first trick photography is fun and you can create all sorts of images from your imagination. The second one gives an abstract effect to your image and lets you give it a blur. Light-painting photography is simple and is all about the long shutter speed. You can use a timer to trigger the shutter. The best part is that you can have fun while doing this sort of photography.
Equipment needed for light painting photography
The most important thing that you need is obviously a camera with a good variety of settings; the most important being the shutter speed. Next is a tripod. Since you are light painting, reducing the motion blur is possible with a sturdy tripod. Next is a light source. You can use anything at all; from phones, to tablets, to LED lights. An electric cable release or a remote trigger is also a good idea if you don’t want to time your shutter. Since time is long in light painting photography, keeping an extra pair of batteries is always a good idea.
Other suggested light-painting tools are Surefire E1L or Olight M 10 Maverick as a light source, if you’re not satisfied with a simple phone light. In case of outdoor photography, SureFire E1L Outdoorsman Dual-Output LED is great. Buy the single-battery model, which is much more affordable as compared to the two-battery one. The next tool is a light diffuser or adapter. The PVC adapters are great for this. Mind you, this is for more professional use and you can do without it too, if you’re just starting with this type of photography.
How to paint with light – camera settings
Light Painting The Guitar by Syakster
Camera settings that you should use for light-painting photography are simple. Use the RAW file format and preset your white-balance setting, otherwise your camera will correct itself and your external light source will lose its meaning. Use the camera’s focus button, since focusing is an issue for the camera at night. Always use manual or bulb mode for exposure settings. For ISO settings, use the lowest ISO possible. This is the only way to minimize the noise in the scene.
Now for the light-painting ideas, you can use an old surrounding, like a barn, some old trucks, or an abandoned farm. You can also use people as subjects and shoot around them, or you can make use of furniture and create a different scene with light painting. Use your imagination while taking pictures, and as you practice more and more, you’ll get many unique light-painting ideas.
Light painting photography is an exciting kind of trick photography. You can master it with practice and patience. For your photos to be unique, you need to make sure that your ideas are fresh and exciting. The best kind of light-painting photography will happen when you are having fun with your surroundings and subjects.