Getting Started Guide: How to Make Your First Photograph “Lightpainting”

Home / Getting Started Guide: How to Make Your First Photograph “Lightpainting”

Photographers and plants have something in common: both need light for their livelihoods. Plants for photosynthesis, and you to capture those amazing scenes with your camera.

And for amazing photos, which are made with the technique of Light Painting … they are an excellent example of them. With just cheap trail cams, some lights and squeezing a little imagination, these amazing photos without any editing are obtained. Without Photoshop!

Surely this kind of photographs have caught your attention, maybe even ever you wondered how do they do? Today’s article will learn everything you need to start painting with light yourself and dazzle everyone.
What is photography “Lightpainting”?
The photograph Light painting (pronounced “lay Péintin”) or “painting with light” is one of the types most curious and striking photography today, despite being a technique that has been used for quite some time. It consists of drawing with light directly on the picture, lines, shapes or whatever that you might come up, using air as the frame and shooting at slow shutter speeds exaggerated.

The streaks of light are captured by the camera sensor and are “drawn” directly in the final photograph. To give you an idea of the possibilities offered by this technique, here you have some amazing photos:

Many photographers have mastered this technique, not only professionals but also amateurs and amateur. So if you want to see more pictures of this style, just do a search on any network like Flickr or 500px photographs, to find thousands of examples.

How do I get a picture Lightpainting?
Painting with light is relatively simple and does not require a costly and much less equipment. You just need a lot of practice. Once you master this technique, the possibilities become endless.

The general idea of such pictures is nothing more and nothing less than, as its name implies, painting with light directly on the scene. To do this, you can use lights, flashlights, flashes or anything else you can think of, to draw the lines or illuminate objects you want to leave exposed in the final photograph.

As you have seen in the example photos at the beginning of the article, despite being a simple technique it requires some practice to master it can be. And as it is a type of photography that integrates several techniques I recommend that if you have not already read it, you take a look at the following articles to help you dominate from the outset:

• Long exposures: as a type of photography where long exposures are used, if you are not very familiar with them, you need to read the following article: Long exposure photograph.
• Lighting: If you also get a few lines, shapes or drawings you want to work on the whole scene, you probably also need a flash, so you need to read these tips for better use of flash.
• Movement: as this technique gives much dynamism to the photos, I also recommend that you take a look at the article about how to capture and transmit the movement, as it will be useful as an adjunct to this technique.
• Later in the article, I will give you a step by step so you can start experimenting yourself.
The equipment
As I said earlier, it is not required for an advanced camera. With any camera that has manual controls and allows you to lower the exposure time to at least 10 seconds will do. It is an effect that you can entirely use household items.
To carry out this technique will need at least:
• A camera with manual controls.
• A tripod.
• A relatively dark environment, although this may change as you get master more technical.
• Lanterns, lights, flares, fireworks or any other element that serves as a light source. Creativity is your ally and the Internet also. There are thousands of ideas and alternatives floating around.

With these elements and you will get up with the technique, but … if you want to take this a step further effect will also need to:
• One or more employees, a remote trigger, or set the camera trigger mode delay to allow time to “draw” the scene.
• One or more flashes.
• Bulb camera mode that is, which may expose the scene for more than 30 seconds.
• A good site or landscape that allows giving a spectacular frame to your picture.
• Accessories for photography light painting
• Accessories for photography light painting

Types of effects
Here I leave some of the most common effects you’ll find the vast majority of light painting photographs. You can try to perform them yourself to practice, as you develop your own.
1. Ties or streamers: this effect is by a light or lamp cold cathode tube or, draw ties facing the camera. It is important that for the tapes are not cut or refine, always keep the light shining into the camera.
2. Silhouettes: this effect is to draw shapes in the air with light while the camera captures the entire sequence. To do this will need a flashlight or any source of light rather timely, i.e., that does not emit light and leave too thin strokes. You can draw silhouettes, outline objects, people or whatever you can think of.

3. Spheres or Orbs: To perform this spectacular effect must make a couple of extra elements such as a rope or the handle of a paint roller without the roller. This effect consists in tying the flashlight rope or paint roller, to make it always rotate in the same orbit. For this, you can stick your hand to your pledge and a turn of the wrist so that the circumference that perfect and constant. As you spin, you must be rotated, but with due care to keep the rotation axis in the center, that is, you should rotate you, but trying your hand always remains in the same place or the same height, to get a perfect circle. There are many videos on Youtube of how if you have found a confusing explanation.

4. Rain lights: how to make this effect is very similar to performing the areas just talk to you about, with the difference that instead of tying a rope flashlight or roller, must attach steel wool. Yes, you read well, these steel wool pads that have in the kitchen. The magic begins when you set the fire, as they are highly flammable and if you spin very quickly start to release a shower of sparks that produce a dramatic effect. (Do not do it at home, do not do if you’re not adult or adults do not have near you, and do not do it near flammable items).

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