light painting

light painting photography – evening at the lake

Here is my second attempt at light painting on a grand scale. I was thinking as I was shooting it that this was going to be a lost cause (I really need to invest in a bigger light…). Luckily I was able to salvage many of the areas by using fill light on my RAW images. So, it’s not exactly what I had in my head but hey, it’s good practice for next time :)

light painting photography - evening at the lake

Background:

f/16

13 sec

iso 100

12mm

Layers:

f/16

30 sec

iso 100

12mm

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Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

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light painting photography – photo editing technique

The extent of my formal education for art/photography is a Digital Art course at Wake Forest University my senior year and Photography 101 my freshman year of high school. I was also the graphics designer for my high school newspaper, but that wasn’t instructional…it was simply a “me coming up with editorial cartoons and story illustrations for each issue” class, which was also a dream come true :) Best.class.ever.

I say this to mean that I am basically self-taught. The internet is an amazing tool and you can find so many incredible how-to tutorials, tips & tricks, before & after…SO very helpful for people (like me) starting out on a new hobby or technique.

Yesterday I discovered Eric Curry’s tutorial videos on youtube and was totally blown away. This inspired me to take light painting to a whole different level. Of course I could not wait to try out a similar technique last night. This is the final result, and steps showing how I put it all together:

light painting photography - reading spot

I had already decided that this was the scene I wanted to capture so I set up my camera and tripod to compose the background image. I knew that I would need to take this shot just before sundown in order to get the right exposure for the windows. I set the focus point up in the spot where I knew my husband would be sitting and then decided to use a wider aperture so that the other areas were not in sharp focus. NOTE: I also taped off around the legs of my tripod just in case I stumbled and shifted it (yes, I’m clumbsy in the dark…) – if I didn’t have the exact same tripod position from the earlier sunset shot then my entire image technique would be ruined :-/

This is the original background image:

light painting photography - editing technique

Settings here are:

f/4

1/100

iso 100

12mm

I cleaned up the cloudiness on the back window but other than that this is SOOC.

For the rest of the images I had to wait for the sun to go down completely.

I first photographed the Christmas lights overhead . I actually didn’t “paint” the lights, instead I quickly tapped the plug into the socket so the lights only blinked for a second to avoid overexposing my image.

light painting photography - editing technique

My settings for the rest of these images are

f/6.3

8 sec

iso 100

12mm

I made the aperture smaller to get the areas I wanted to paint into focus. Plus I needed to lengthen the shutter speed to have enough time to light my objects, so it was a necessary adjustment in order to not overexpose my images.

Next I painted light on the lamp:

light painting photography - editing technique

then the chairs in the foreground:

light painting photography - editing technique

and finally my husband :)

light painting photography - editing technique

For each of these areas I had to take 3-5 shots to get the light painted on exactly like I wanted it…I just check the viewfinder after each shot and it’s pretty easy to tell if you got it or not. I guess the tricky thing with this technique is being able to merge the areas together in your head and envision the finished project while your images are still inside the camera :)

All my images are shot in RAW and I converted the white balance to tungsten. I bumped up the fill light slightly as well.

Here is my layer mask progression:

light painting photography - editing technique

light painting photography - editing technique

light painting photography - editing technique

light painting photography - editing technique

light painting photography - editing technique

The only other edit I made in photoshop was a levels adjustment to bring the whites up to scale.

Here is the final again:

light painting photography - reading spot

I’m still brand-spanking new at this, but I absolutely love the look it creates. The patches of light are uniform yet unexpected and not from one constant direction or source. Pure awesomeness.

The entire process (minus waiting for the sun to go down) took me about 30 minutes. If I had chosen a scene with more than 4 lighted areas it would have lengthened the process of course, but the end result is worth it.

In my next shot I will definitely try to add more light painted areas. Starting out with 4 was perfect…enough to make the photo interesting but not too many to overwhelm me. I think a gradual increase is going to be the only way to go in learning this technique!

I hope this photo editing tutorial on light painting has been helpful! :)

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Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

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light painting photography – my husband in his usual spot

My first attempt at a “large scale” light painting with several images layered together…LOVE it. I discovered Eric Curry on youtube and his video tutorials had me mesmerized today. He’s brilliant!

I would estimate that my husband reads 4-5 books PER MONTH. Yes, he can tear through them like nobody I know! This is his favorite reading spot on our screen porch. Nice breeze, beautiful sunsets, crashing waves…it’s amazing I don’t just find him snoozing all the time ;)

So here is my first try at a combined light painting. I first took a shot of the dark room at sunset to get the background colors in the windows. Then I took the light to the various areas of the image and combined them in photoshop. The only other edit I made was a levels adjustment to brighten the whites.

Voila!

light painting photography - reading spot

Nikon d7000

background image was shot at:

f/4

1/100

iso 100

12mm

all other painted areas shot at:

f/6.3

8 sec

iso 100

12mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – light of the ring

More light painting fun with random objects…very happy with this one!

light painting photography - light of the ring

Nikon d7000

f/10

5 sec.

ISO- 100

35mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – my tortie, Stella

I can not believe that she was still enough for me to take this shot! That is all.

SOOC:

light painting photography - my tortie, Stella

Nikon d7000

f/9

13 sec.

ISO- 100

35mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – vintage wolf dress form

I own a vintage clothing shop on Etsy and started getting more into photography soon after I started it. When you run a store that is entirely online you MUST have beautiful product photography to be successful. Etsy encourages its sellers to take great photos and it has truly helped me to appreciate the composition of everything else I photograph now :)

Wolf is a well-known, sought after brand of dress form that many vintage sellers use to showcase their clothing. I love mine! When she arrived I decided she needed a name, about the same time I found a lucky penny on the ground.

Here is my Penny Lane, SOOC:

light painting photography - vintage wolf dress form

Nikon d7000

f/9

13 sec.

ISO- 100

35mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – crystal candle

Picked up this at random and it took a few tries but I’m pretty excited about the light painting on this crystal candle.  It is simply

resting on our granite kitchen countertop.

SOOC:

light painting photography - crystal candle

Nikon d7000

f/11

13 sec.

ISO- 100

35mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – the old record player

I was trying to think of different objects in our house that would be great for light painting – holy awesome! Usually it takes me a few tries to analyze the light needed but I got lucky and took this on the first shot. Love it!

My favorite so far, SOOC:

light painting photography - record player

Nikon d7000

f/9

13 sec.

ISO- 100

35mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – iris and the moon

Doesn’t get much better than a blooming iris and the South Carolina moon <3

SOOC:

light painting photography - iris and the moon

Nikon d7000

f/10

20 sec.

ISO- 100

12mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


light painting photography – thanks fishing boat!

I was trying to find a new place to paint on our dock and the photos were just coming out pretty blah (because I don’t have that HUGE light I need ;)… until I saw a fishing boat creeping around the corner. Score.

At the right moment I was able to catch them floating by and their lights (the red and white streak at the back of the image) gave this photo some much needed depth.

SOOC:

light painting photography - thanks fishing boat

Nikon d7000

f/10

20 sec.

ISO- 100

16mm

___________________________________

Beth Wade is a Charlotte, NC photographer serving North & South Carolina, Lake Wylie, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Gaston and York County.

___________________________________


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