Light plays a major role in photography. It can not only illuminate the objects being photographed but can also feature as a wonderful subject. This method is also known as light painting.
Also known as light graffiti, light painting is a unique form of photography that employs a very creative usage of light to create a pattern or a drawing with the help of light. In other words, it captures the movements made while holding a light source. The light source could be anything including camera flash, flashlights, spotlights etc.
This is one of the most innovative forms of photography and requires a little touch of creativity and the right tools to take the perfect shot. Following are a few ways to make your light painting photographs stand out.
Before you shoot the image, it is important to have a clear idea of how you want the pattern to be. Compose your shot according to your preference.
It is always wise to know what exactly you wish to include in your photographs. While the pattern made with light will be the subject of your photo, a little bit of the environment will also be illuminated. Ensure that this does not dial down the beauty of the shot.
That being said, you should be open to experimentation since this can usher in an entirely fresh perspective to the photo.
Experiment with Various Light Sources
One of the best ways to experiment with your light graffiti photograph is by using different sources of light for each shot. This will prevent your picture from turning flat. When it comes to light, you have enough room to get creative. You can use flashlights, strobes, laser lights, LEDs, glow sticks and so on. Even fireworks can be wonderful options for your light painting photography.
While choosing a light source, ensure that it has a provision for dimming the light. This is because light painting relies heavily on the intensity of light being used. To make your photos unique, you should be able to alter the light intensity in a way that illuminates every portion of the photo just the appropriate amount.
Take Multiple Shots
Light painting shots take a lot of time to perfect. Not all pictures will be great. Some may even fall flat. Your best shot to extract a good picture out of the light painting shoot is by taking multiple images.
Also, taking more than one shot will capture the various degrees of illumination of each component of the photo. This will enable you to treat every portion of the photo differently.
Use the Right Equipment
While creativity is paramount to take exceptional light painting shots, the appropriate equipment can go a long way in perfecting your shot.
The most important thing you would need is a good quality camera with a large variety of settings for shutter speed, exposure and so on. The next step is to carefully select the light source. You would also need a sturdy tripod to reduce blurring generated from motion. A remote control can also come in handy.
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Apply Night Photography Techniques
Since light painting photography usually requires a dark background, night time is preferred while shooting outdoors. While certain selected techniques are applicable to shoot the perfect light paintings, you can also combine those with effective night photography methods as well to make the photos stunning.
When shooting outdoors, you would find a number of other light sources apart from the primary one you are using. These could include streetlights, moonlight, light from the headlights of the cars and so on. You can combine the ambient light along with your primary light source to add mood and depth to your photos.
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You can merge light painting with illumination to highlight a certain subject in the photograph. Ensure that silhouettes do not impose on the perfect shot. Apart from that, you can also shoot light streaks. For this, you should make sure that the light is moving throughout the shot. Keep in mind that the speed of the light can affect its brightness in the final shot.
Light painting can take a lot of time to master. So do not give up. You can consider improving your skills in order to get the basics right. If you live in Dubai, you can enroll in photography classes in Dubai to ensure that your skills are updated.