Create Unique Photos with a Simple Flashlight

Editing in streaks of light with Photoshop is a thing of the past! You can actually have light in your photos in a pitch black environment using a simple flashlight. All these photos were done indoors in complete darkness! The light was not added with a flash but a flashlight. The method of creating these shots is called ‘Light Painting’. This is when you use a flashlight like a paintbrush and paint light on the different part of your subject/subjects.



Photoshop Where?

I shoot with a Canon t6i in manual mode because this allows me to have more control over my settings. You will want this when working with light painting. All the photos in this post were taken in one shot. This means I did not layer any images or add any extra light in Photoshop. The above photo was taken in one shot with a flashlight that changed colors. Light painting is all about trying to get the best shot straight from your camera. This can be changing your white balance, changing the strength of your chosen flashlight, or the direction in which you paint with light on your subjects. Keep reading to see what you need to do to recreate your own amazing light painting shot. Your settings should be as follows.

What are the Settings?

The ISO should be kept low to keep your noise levels low (like at 200-400 which again is all dependent on your environment). The next step is to change up your shutter speed. You will want to set it to roughly 10-15 seconds at a time. This will allow your camera to let in lots of light (since it is pitch black we want this). The next step is your aperture settings. You should start at F/5.6 and see how your photos turn out. Again this all depends on what type of lens and what type of camera you have but these settings are all good starting points in your light painting.


Ready for Action

After your settings are in order you will want to start creating your shot. The best method is to use a trigger or a 2-second timer when you take your photo so that you don’t have any camera shake. When your camera clicks you will quickly paint over your subject with your flashlight on your subject/subjects of emphasis. Try to see which angle gives the most dramatic shadows. This will create the most interesting and creative shot when shooting a stylized shoot. Check my friends Mayra Lopez’s website to find inspiration for your next shoot!