Search This Blog

Painting with light

Painting with Light

Light painting, also known as light drawing or light graffiti is a photographic technique in which exposures are made usually at night or in a darkened room by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera. In many cases the light source itself does not have to appear in the image. The term light painting also encompasses images lit from outside the frame with hand-held light sources. The first known photographer to use this technique was Man Ray in his series "Space Writing".

A variety of light sources can be used, ranging from simple flashlights to dedicated devices like the Hosemaster, which uses a fiber optic light pen.[2] Other sources of light including candles, matches, lighter flints, glowsticks, and Poi are also popular.

A tripod is usually necessary due to the long exposure times involved. Alternatively, the camera may be placed on or braced against a table or other solid support. A shutter release cable or self timer is generally employed in order to minimize camera shake. Color Gels can also be used to color the light sources.

1 comment:

  1. John Cohen invented his own unique form of 'Painting with light' (a very different and original 'special effect' technique), without using any computer, darkroom chemicals, or expensive equipment to create his unique top international award winning transparencies.

    His technique is pure photography on film and has nothing to do with moving lights to make light graffiti, or of lighting specific parts of a dark scene with a long exposure. What it does involve is the photographing of projected images on to other things.

    John has found that the projector really lives up to its earlier known name - 'the magic lantern', as what can be done with projectors for photographers really is magical!

    John N. Cohen is an artist and international top award winning photographer, have a look at

    To see more of his new pictures please see
    John's Facebook fan page