Learning Light Painting

We have published some articles about Light Painting, and in this post we will share some basic information about this technique. We will talk about the tools, the camera settings, the light and the technique. Also, we want to say thank you very much to Christopher Hibbert, the author of this article.

Light painting, also known as light drawing is a photographic technique in which exposures are made usually at night or in a darkened room by moving a light source or by moving the camera. Wikipedia.org

1. The tools

Besides your camera you will need a tripod and a torch (or any other kind of light you can handle and move). Why a tripod? Because you will choose a shutter speed slow enough to do your drawing. In my case, it usually takes me 20 to 30 seconds to create the scene.

I recommend using a remote control which gives the option to lock the shutter in bulb mode. Like that, you have all the time you need to be creative! I use the Nikon MC-30 with my Nikon camera and it works well.

2. Light

All kind of lights can be used. Don't worry about your sensor, it won't be damaged if you point the torch (laser etc) directly on it while you shoot.

I use a little light also used as a key chain. It s powerful enough to draw the characters and can be turned on/off just by pressing a button.

3. Camera settings

  • Shutter speed: As long as you need to create the scene.
  • ISO: I usually put it on 100 so I can set the shutter speed on a very slow value and I don t get any noise on my photographs.
  • Aperture: Set it doing a test shot without drawings, focusing on an element close to what you are going to draw.
  • Flash: Can be used to fix a person or a moving element in the scene.
  • White balance: Set it doing a test shot. Street lighting is usually yellow.
  • Focus: Obviously on manual if there is not enough light.

4. Tips

  • Light is your friend, you could use moving lights from cars etc.. for exemple, I did one while a train was passing under a bridge.
  • Wear dark clothes if you want to lower the chance of being visible on the photograph.

Light painting is about light, creativity and fun!

Some examples

About the Author:

Christopher Hibbert

Born on the 12th of november 1983, freelance photographer since 2006, I have been working exclusively with Nikon equipment.
Concerts, private parties, weddings, sports events, books and portraits .. I do shoot all kind of events. Versatile, I adapt to the situation in order to take the best pictures.

For more information about Christopher's work visit his website at http://www.christopher-hibbert.com/

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