Light Painting Techniques: 7 Useful Tips

Light painting is a fun photography technique where photographers use camera flashes, flashlights and spotlights to paint light in a scene. It can easily qualify as the best/most fun night photography technique. Although many photographers have attempted it before, only a few have mastered the technique. Below are some very useful techniques to consider when you want to perfect your light painting skills.

1. Try out different light sources

This is one very important technique. You shouldn’t try painting everything using the same light. To avoid odd and flat pictures, consider using different light sources otherwise your work will defy the sole purpose of light painting which is creating different unique light impressions on different landscape parts at night.

2. Use dimmable light sources: For the best results, you need to choose dimmable light sources for obvious reasons i.e. because light painting relies heavily on light intensity. To get the best results, you must be able to alter light intensity whichever way you like to ensure every part of a photo gets the right amount of light.

3. Take care of the noise: It is important to note that long exposures create more noise. Because of this, take time painting in light but don’t forget to factor in this small detail because it can be the difference between good and bad lighting photography.

4. Take multiple shots: To get the best light painting photos, you need to take as many shots as possible. Multiple shots help you treat different parts of a photo separately which should be the case in light painting.

5. Use flashlights which don’t have hot spots: Moving your flashlight beam randomly when taking light photos doesn’t make a big difference even if your flashlight has a hot spot (a bright circle located at the center of the beam). The hotspot however makes a big difference when you are considering fine details in scenes. If you don’t have money to buy the perfect flashlight, consider taping tissue paper or wax paper over your flashlight lens to eliminate hot spots.

6. Include night photography techniques: This is another important tip to consider. Just because you are light painting shouldn’t mean you forget typical night photography techniques. You must consider techniques like mirror lockup, cable release, long exposure noise reduction e.t.c. to ensure you get the best outcome.

7. Mix ambient light: You should also remember incorporating ambient light like street lights, moon light e.t.c. to add mood in your photos. Using flashlights shouldn’t mean you ignore all other light sources.