Painting with Light!


Photography, by definition, is writing...or painting...with light. Learning to become a great photographer is learning how to work with the light you have, what is called ambient light. But sometimes, it is just plain fun to experiment by adding light.


There are three main types of Light Writing (aka Painting with Light).


The "Painting" can be done with multiple flashes (you can even use color gels on the flash heads), flash lights, lighters, sparklers...and in recent years...lasers.


Check out this link: for a whole page full of examples.


In the following example, a flash was used to ADD light to the long exposure.


    Picture deleted until I can find a better example






Internet Examples:

Long exposure with a light...the actor used the light to illuminate themselves at the end.








Another dimension in Painting with Light:

3d Virtual - - do NOT view at school. Although this exact example is clean, it leads to minor inappropriate images in a couple of clicks. So, ask your parents before viewing the link.

Painting an Object - Light Painting can also involve "brushing the object" into existence. Starting with a completely dark exposure, and then adding the light ONLY where it is desired.




Painting with Light Shooting Project Instructions

Adapted from


Basic Setup:

Once you've mastered the basics, play with the light in different ways:


Sprint Commercial Effect - The movies are simply a series of shots taken on a tripod.


Smart Phones: You can SHOOT and PAINT with cell phones. Please send links to apps that you find so I can list them here. Some are free...others are less than a cup of coffee.


Android OS: 


2016-17 Klein Park


2013-14 Klein Park

2011-12 Klein Park


2010-11...Thanks to the ~10 students who showed up ...we got some of the best Painting with Light Pictures to date!



Then they got a hold of a red light:


You can try this on your own any time, indoors, outdoors. You just need a dark place, a tripod and a long exposure.


2009-10 - Lots of good examples, props, members from the Beaumont Camera Club, etc.



Resources:  - includes instructions and tips