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An introduction to lightpainting

on 27/05/2014 | 0 comments

Ideal for a social activity, lightpainting can alter reality to your liking and create fantastic worlds!

This technique is used in the dark and consists in taking a long exposure shot while drawing patterns in the camera field of view.
Therefore there are 2 possibilities :

– Get a picture consisting only of patterns printed by light sources

– Get an image whose content is enhanced by light patterns (design patterns to light in the dark, briefly illuminating the actual shooting)

 Au cours d'une séance collaborative de lightpainting, nous avons réalisé ce tsunami de lumière.

The example above, Tsunami, is an illustration of Option 1.

It is a work in 6 hands (3 people):

  • The wave is made with an iphone and a blue piece of paper
  • The droplets are generated waving light sticks
  • The characters are created with a strong pocket lamp and a white sheet (you can also see his face lit up in red to the right of the characters)

The example above Gozilla, is an illustration of option 2 where we kept the actual items (sofa) and created a fantastic scene around.

It is a work in 6 hands here also (3 people):

  • The car is made with a light keychain with two LED chips and blood with a disco sticks
  • Gozilla lamp is made with a low pocket and a green leaf
  • The characters are created with a strong pocket lamp and a white sheet

Gozilla attacks!


materials Needed


  • Some various light sources ( iphone, flashlights, strobes , candles, lighters, cocktail sticks to light …)
  • Colored leaves in order to change the color of the light source ( leaves candy , dividers old cabinets …
  • a quiet and dark place
  • Ideally several people in order to develop a complex picture in a short time
  • A dark dress (ideally + black gloves and black hood )

modus operandi

  • Place your camera on a flat, stable location (ideally on a tripod) and check the light that the framing is good
  • Choose a low ISO ( 100/200 ) in order to long exposure (eg 30 sec ) time . The exposure time will depend on the brightness of the place . Remember to use a latecomer in order to set you up !
  • Clearly define the desired table and repeat the ” choreography ” at least once (especially if there are several ) . You see , it was amazingly very good marks in the dark and even drawings can seem complex are intuitively successful .

Tips and advice

  • The light that you print on the picture will tend to enlighten you please move to avoid these artifacts in the picture. You can also enjoy to voluntarily inform parts of the decor.
  • Iphone is a light source rather diffuse and broad, not terrible to set sth accurate. Cocktail sticks used to draw fine lines but are not very bright , repetitive passages will be needed
  • This photo technique is very user friendly and perfect as a group activity requiring coordination and imagination
  • Feel free to follow each person in his idea, the possibilities are endless and nothing beats a test to get an idea.

Your turn young Maki, and remember to share your work 😉

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