How to: Light Painting

When you feel like painting but don’t have the art materials, you can simply grab a camera and a flashlight. When you combine light with long exposure photography, this method is called light painting.

What you need:

  • A digital camera with manual exposure settings
  • A stable surface (ideally a tripod)
  • Light source (you can be creative with this, use anything ranging from a flashlight, colour glow sticks to sparklers!)
  • A dark location or a dark room

Setting up:

  1. Set up your camera on your tripod and pick a focal point for your camera to focus on.
  2. Take a test shot with no flash to make sure the exposure is overall dark enough.
  3. Adjust your exposure time (aka shutter speed) to however long you’re painting, here’s a sample setting to use: Aperture f/11-f/22, exposure 30 seconds and ISO 100.

Tips on painting:

  • If you’re painting a subject with light, make sure your light is pointed towards it.
  • Keep the light moving to avoid harsh lights (unless that’s the look you’re going for).
  • The slower you move your light, the more lit up it’ll be in the photograph.

Here are our examples 🙂




An Artist Created a Stop-Motion Short Film Using 1139 Light Paintings
Painting With Light
Light Painting Part One – the Photography
Light Painting Photography For Beginners

Photo Cred:
Claudia Cheung
Anujaya Dissanayake

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