What makes Light Painting photography so magical?

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Today, I'd like to talk about light painting photography technique. 

So, what is it that makes this technique so special?

Light painting can help you create a result that cannot be achieved with any other photography technique.

The technique itself involves a mixture of photography and painting skill sets. It works very similar to painting - but instead of a brush, you use the light to paint.

And the resulting photograph is truly unusual and magical. Every photo has a unique painterly look to it - every single photograph has a deep and rich texture and a very dramatic, atmospheric look and feel.

light painting photography

Light painting is a relatively rare technique which is why any works made with it are highly collectable and desirable for acquiring as a piece of fine art.

It is also used in various areas of the commercial photography industry, such as product photography, e-commerce, branding and food photography.

Why am I the one to talk about this all?

I am a still life photographer and light painter myself.

I started my photography journey in 2005 and have been working on different commercial and still life photography projects in London, UK. I photographed collections of such well-known designers like Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin and Alexander McQueen. I also feel honoured to have photographed one of the largest collections of Rolling Stones.

Having acquired sufficient commercial experience, I formed my own photo studio in 2009. In recent years, I decided to focus solely on fine art and light painting photography and brought my own approach to the technique.

You need a strong imagination and skill to use light painting to achieve the results that you envisioned.

And here is a list of steps that I usually follow:

  1. Sketch
  2. Composition & Camera set up
  3. Photography process
  4. Post-processing
  5. Print

Most of the time, you start with a sketch. The more details you can imagine, the more accurate will your final result be.

Next, you turn this sketch into a composition. You place the objects in their desired position, making sure that the whole construction is very stable.

One slight movement can jeopardize the whole photo session and you may need to start all over again even with a 1-millimetre movement.

Here's a couple of examples of how I am usually setting up the composition:

Then comes the most interesting part. You turn off the lights. The whole process needs to happen in close to complete darkness. So, you will either need some blackout curtains or wait until it's dark enough outside.

Then you take a small torch into your hand and start painting with it. You use the light as a brush, brushstroke at a time, for hours and hours, just you and your camera. 

Then you polish it all in post-processing, which is the final step of the artistic process. 

It is crucial to make sure that the photograph is prepared properly for printing for a particular type of paper (archival Canson Baryta paper, in my case). If you don't take this into account, your image may lose valuable details and colour.

Today, we spoke about what makes light painting photography so magical and touched a bit on the process that goes into each photograph.

Would you like to see some of the artworks that I've done in the past?
Feel free to visit my online store here. 

Are you a photographer who would like to learn more about the technique?
Book a free 30-minute call with me on Calendly.

And if you'd like to follow along my journey and learn more about what light painting is all about - let's connect on Instagram(@photoportrayal_studio), Facebook or Pinterest - I will be happy if you reach out and say hello.

Until next time,


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