Monday, September 12, 2011

Light Painting - Photography Tips

Light painitng is simply a photographic technique that uses a long exposure at night (or in a dark room), and which a light source is moved to "paint" a scene.  The light source itself will generally not be visble in the end result, nor will the artist.  Of course, the light could be coming from inside the frame or outside the frame.

There a some great photographers out there who have some amazing light painting lesons you can purchase (like from Evan Sharboneau).  I highly recommend his course.  As a starter though, here are some basic photography tips on light painting that you can start with.

Stability - since you will be working in low lighting conditions, you will need to have ensure has zero shake.  A tripod of some sort is a must!

Bulb Mode/Remote Shutter Release - I find that you will want to have the shutter opened and stay that way until you are done "painting" your scene.  Most DSLRs will have a bulb mode you can use.  Since they are built in, they can be handy.  However, they can produce tiny amounts of shake when you press the shutter open and closed, which is why I recommend a remote shutter release if you have one.

Manual Mode - you will want full control on the scene, so put the camera in manual mode (which is normally needed for bulb mode anyway).  You will need to do some trial and error with the aperture size based on your lighing conditions and how long you want to have the shutter open.

Light Source - light graffiti requires your "paint brush".  It could be a small, bright flashlight in which you would jump around the scene with or a laser pointer where you draw by projecting.  Note I've read that a laser pointer to the sensor can damage your camera, so be careful.  It can also damage a persons eyes, so never point it at someone.

Photography Special Effects
Trial and Error - with these basics of light painting, you can go nuts and create amazing effects (like Evan did above).


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