Discussions (79)

How To: Draw with Light

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Yamaneko_ says:

Since I've seen a lot of great tutorials in this group and I was asked how I did pictures like this, I decided to write a short tutorial on something easy for a start ;)

1. Put your camera on a tripod or a shelf, choose a free area in front of your camera, you will be working in complete darkness and you don't want to stumble, do you? Plan your framing now, you should neither be too close nor too far away from the camera so you don't have too much dead space or cut off lights in your pictures.

2. You'll need settings on your camera that allow a slow shutter speed without letting too much light in. So you have to choose a very narrow aperture, I chose F13.6 for my camera, but I can't close it more, try F22 if you can. Your ISO should be very low too, 100 or 64 should work out.

3. Make your shutter slooooooooow. 4 seconds are good, if your camera offers slower shutter speeds you could try them, but remember that your aperture needs to be even narrower or else you'll see things like the background or your body in your pictures.

4. Most important: Make it dark! Really really dark! Wait until after sunset, draw the curtains close or close the shutters (the one on the windows, not in the camera! ;) ). Turn off any electrical equipment that emits light, even small diodes can cause a bright spot with your settings.

5. Choose your light! You can use anything that can be lighted, candles, flashlights, LED-flashlights, fibre glass lamps, lava lamps, LED-lamps that slowly change their colour... Every type of light creates an interesting new effect.

6. Setup the self-timer, 10 seconds, or 2 if you're quick. Place yourself in front of the camera, light in hand, and perform your moves. Make it random or plan it carefully, it's your artistic freedom!

7. Try different settings, if you look at my pictures, you will see that the background is completely dark, but there are other possibilities this or this that also look great. If you want your background lighted, increase the ISO or open the aperture a bit, the latter will be more effective.

8. (optional)
If your background isn't completely dark or some parts of your body are visible, you can easily fix this in post-processing. Those parts are visible, but quite dark, if you darken the complete picture, those parts will disappear, but the light will still be visible. You can also increase the contrast.
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I hope you are interested in this technique and don't find it boring or too easy ;) I know it's not that difficult, but I thought there should be a tutorial.

Have fun!
12:41PM, 21 January 2009 PDT (permalink)

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scalespeeder is a group administrator scalespeeder says:

Great post, I'll have to have a go at that!
ages ago (permalink)

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Mauritius100 says:

Thanks, Yamaneko - I think it's a very nice idea to share something you have learned with the group!! Another idea to keep in mind for the future!!
ages ago (permalink)

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The Laddie is a group administrator The Laddie says:

I bet you can't wait to try this out on the 450D!!!!
ages ago (permalink)

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Yamaneko_ says:

Yeah that's right! I really want to try 10 or 20 second exposures! The camera will be sent on Saturday, so it will be here on Monday or Tuesday :)

Edit: It was sent out today! So it will most likely be here tomorrow, I guess I have to postpone my trip home until the DHL people came :D
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
Yamaneko_ edited this topic ages ago.

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The Laddie is a group administrator The Laddie says:

NICE!!!!
ages ago (permalink)

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Mayur Kotlikar says:

My first try!
Well I did the reverse way, I had my battery charging ON and the LED glowing. I moved the camera in cycles instead of light source.
Really nice idea and will try keeping camera steady and move the lightsource

Panasonic FZ28 Light works with slow shutter speed 3
ages ago (permalink)

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Yamaneko_ says:

Cool! the dot-ish lines are nice, great idea!
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
Yamaneko_ edited this topic ages ago.

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Em0312 says:

Thanks for the tutorial, I may give this a bash some time :-)
ages ago (permalink)

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Yamaneko_ says:

I'm very happy that you like and want to try the idea. I'm also very happy that this tutorial was linked on the blog, thanks!
ages ago (permalink)

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Arki Amit says:

Hey thanks a lot for your creative ideas.. Will give it a try soon.. :-)
ages ago (permalink)

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JAMES MARSHALL D says:

ELECTRIC GRAFFITI                                  *                               DSCF3745VALENTINE                         *                         DSCF3808

Juz` remembered `bout this article and gave it a few tryouts for a Valentines card. "She" wuz pleazd... :-D
ages ago (permalink)

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JAMES MARSHALL D says:

by the way....remembered I saw this a while ago on DPS :
digital-photography-school.com/tips-on-how-to-light-paint...

And for those of you that play around with video (mode) or quick sequence :
matos.art.free.fr/lightgraff_video_lightgraffiti.html
Originally posted ages ago. (permalink)
JAMES MARSHALL D edited this topic ages ago.

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A.North1 says:

James that is awesome, here is what i did a few weeks back to get the feel for a long exposure, i certainley need to have another go after seeing these on here.

Blue wisp 2 by A.North1

Blue wisp by A.North1

ages ago (permalink)

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JAMES MARSHALL D says:

Thanks A.North1. Took me 3 nights and another half day locked in the bathroom ( lol..dark room ) + lots of batteries & duck tape to take about 300 shots in continuous shooting mode with the S5700. :-D
Got a few decent ones....
That second picture of yours it`s awesome. I like the effect u obtained !
ages ago (permalink)

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