Saturday, March 21, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Light Painting

So first off - I'm no light painting expert and don't claim to be. I've done it a few times, and I've done things that have similar technical problems (like shooting fire spinners) but this was my first time really sitting down with a model and a bunch of flashlights and other light sources and going for it.

So for those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about - imagine you have a dark area, and a camera on a tripod. You set it to take, say, a five second exposure. The shutter opens. You shine a light on what you want to be illuminated, and move around being careful not to get any light on yourself or to stay in one place for too long. People actually do this outside with giant areas and big lights but let's imagine it in a studio. Oh, and don't point the flashlight anywhere near the camera unless you don't mind weird light streaks showing up in the shot.

So there you go. I think it's a nice shot. Note that if you didn't like the look of the flashlight above the model you could just erase it or be more careful. Note also that if you give the flashlight to the model she's likely to paint a dirty picture when she thinks you're not paying enough attention.

But what if this goes terribly wrong? You might need to click on this one to see what's going on.

Yeah, that's me. I was mostly backlighting her, and she's lit up OK but not really what I intended. But more interestingly I spent a lot of time behind her, and mostly in one place... and the light reflected back at me.

Creepy, huh?


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