Absolutely Mesmerising Light Painting

What is it?

Otherwise known as long exposure photography, light painting is a pet passion of ours in the studio.

A ‘light painting’ is created by the movement of a light or lights, using a slow camera shutter speed. This type of photography requires a long exposure (typically from one second to ten seconds), it is usually done at night or in an unlighted room. The smallest margins can, like a small amount of outside light, dramatically impact the final image, which makes it a difficult technique to get right.

You can simulate similar effects in Adobe Photoshop or using other image manipulation software, but ‘light painting’ refers to the actual in-camera effect.

This area of photography is incredibly diverse and now with digital photography and new technology it is becoming easier to experiment with.

The Impact of Digital Photography

Digital photography, with immediate feedback on a LCD screen means you can experiment and adjust your photography easily, and so more and more people have been playing with the format. You can quickly adjust exposure, colour balance, the focus along with other minor features to improve the overall composition of the image.

Light painting is possible with any camera, but with film it is much harder to get good results simply because you have to wait so long to see the image and you have no way of knowing quite how you need to adjust the camera settings. The exposure and the resulting image are incredibly hard to judge (and the photographer can’t be sure until the film is developed), this type of photography was very hard to work with until the advent of digital photography.

Photography is a much more variable artistic style than often people give it credit for, and with digital cameras new creative avenues are opening up all the time.

You can achieve anything from realism to abstract.

There are some truly weird and wonderful things.

Equipment Required

  • Digital Camera
  • Tripod
  • Light Source
  • An open mind!

A Few Mesmerising Examples

Ross Jukes Photography Birmingham