Light painting is when you control the light that enters the camera’s lens and use it to "paint" something on the photograph. It’s usually done in low-light situations and is a great way to create unique photographs which explore the endless possibilities of photography. There are an infinite number of ways to light paint, beginning with your source of light and ending with what you draw!
Light painting works best in low-light conditions. So either wait til dusk or go into a dark room.
Set up your camera on a steady surface or tripod. Make sure no one moves it while you’re creating your light painting!
Set your camera to the B shutter setting. This allows for a long exposure. It means that the shutter will stay open for a longer time so that more light will enter the lens.
Grab your light source, hit the shutter release, and start getting creative. Try using a sparkler to see sparks fly!
If you want to write a message on your picture, remember to do it backwards if you want it to be legible after processing. Alternately, just draw something, wiggle around or trace something — experiment!
Get your pictures developed and marvel at your newly-discovered light painting skills!
You’ll need a camera with a Bulb Mode function. Any of these cameras will work!
You can also just use a super flat and solid surface like a table top, but for adventures further afield, you’ll need a tripod. One of these will do the trick!
Anything that emits light will work — a torch, a glow stick, a sparkler, and so on. There are tons of special light painting tools that you could use, too! These are purpose-built and have awesome features that create super cool effects. Check them out!
If you’re in the city at night, set up your camera and take a long exposure of the light trails cars leave as they drive past. At a carnival or amusement park let a spinning ferris wheel do the painting for you.
Take a picture of your cat, a flower, a car, whatever; then light paint a cat, flower, car on top of the initial image for a crazy effect! The possibilities are endless!
Set up an ultra-long exposure, position your camera on a tripod, point it up at a clear night sky and see the path that the stars make once your image is developed. Read more about star-trail photography in this article by blueskyandhardrock.
It’s so easy to get carried away with this fun technique. Make sure your shots are effective by following these helpful pointers!
Read more →
Here’s to the bold and the brave: something to try if you’re feeling mischievous with light painting.
Read more →
How do you make your photos shimmer and sparkle? This trick shows you how.
Read more →
Here’s a fun way to explore the creative possibilities of light painting — by doing some graceful dance moves!
Read more →
This depends on what you are trying to capture. If you are drawing something, just leave your shutter open for as long as you are painting for. If you want to capture a night scene with moving objects, you should be safe with a 5-10 second exposure (depending on the speed that the light source is moving at). But these are just guidelines — experiment and find out what works best for you!
Try and take a look through your viewfinder. If you are in the dark then illuminate the scene so you can see, then try and mark how far you can go vertically and horizontally so that you’ll remain inside your frame when the photo is taken.
This can definitely be tricky! But some letters such as T,I,O,M,H,Y,U,W,X,V & A are disaffected by this mirror writing rule, so if you don’t want to bother with writing backwards just fiddle about with those letters. If you do want to use the rest of the alphabet or want to draw an image, just imagine you are looking at it in a mirror and write it that way.
Maybe your camera has a manual shutter release? If that is the case then get your friend to hold your shutter open for you while you do the painting.
Since you will be in relative darkness, nothing will really affect your picture until your light source starts shining.
It all began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, when two students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat — a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking shots from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded by the mind-blowing photos it produced — the colors were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot — it was nothing like they had seen before!
Upon returning home, friends wanted their own Lomo LC-A, igniting a new style of artistic analogue photography that we now know as Lomography!
The amount of time that passes while the lens is open, allowing light to hit your film and an exposure to be made.
This is the speed or time in which your shutter opens and closes, allowing light into your camera. It is closely related to the exposure time.
The button you press to take a photo!
This is the size of your lens opening. Apertures are described using f numbers. A large aperture (large lens opening) will have a small f number like f/2 or f/4. A small aperture (small lens opening) will have a large f number such as f/16 or f/20. If you would like a lot of light to enter your lens, you should use a large aperture (with a small f number). If you would like less light to enter your lens, you should use a small aperture (with a large f number).
The B stands for " Bulb ". The B setting allows you to manually hold the shutter open and this gives you full freedom over how long you want to expose your photo for. Some Lomography cameras which have a B setting are the La Sardina, Fisheye No.2, Sprocket Rocket, Belair Cameras, Lubitel 166+, Diana F+ and Diana Mini.
This is the window in your camera which you look through when composing your shot.
Join the Lomography Community to share your light paintings with millions of creatives all over the world! There are tons of artistic light paintings on our Community page, too, so it’s the perfect place to go for inspiration. Comment on your favorites to ask for tips from your fellow Lomographers!
Don’t forget to show your friends your new light painting skills on social media, too. Use the hashtags #mylomo #lomography to connect with other Lomographers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.