All you need is a torch!
Many light painters - myself included - have a vast array of light sources. Some homemade, others commercially available and in a dazzling array of colours. All sorts of different effects can be produced with a range of tools but sometimes the most efective shots can be produced with the most basic equipment.
If you are thinking about giving light painting a try but are worried about all the equipment needed then take a look at the pictures on this page. Each image was produced using only very basic equipment which is widely available and won't break the bank. Light painting, like all other photography is all about the photo, not the equipment. Sure, the latest camera and funky gadgets can help but ultimately it's your ideas and creativity that matter.
To get started in light painting, all you need is a torch and a camera capable of long exposures.
Any torch (or flashlight for my American friends) will do the job. There is actually a great deal to think about when purching a torch (light intensity, beam width, colour temerature, focusability, weight, size, battery life... the list goes on) but to get you started that old torch in the bottom drawer will do just fine.
You need a camera that is capable of long exposures. Don't be put off too much by that, a surprising number of cameras can do this. Of course the full manual control of a DSLR is ideal, however even many compacts can manage a long exposure in night mode. If you can manually control the exposure time set it to the longest exposure possible (usually 30 seconds).
Now, you're set to go! Frame up and secure your camera on a tripod, table, or any stable surface, open the shutter and wave your torch around like a mad man! You can either keep your torch out of shot while lighting objects within the frame, or have your torch itself in the shot. Each technique will produce very different effects so play around and see what you get. Try combining these two techniques.
You'll soon start to get a feel for it, and I'm betting it won't be long until you have inspiration to get more lights! Have fun.
Posted on: Aug 12, 2012