Get Special Effects On Pictures Using A Flashlight

Learn how to create fun effects and unusual light painting technique, using just a digital camera, tripod and light.

If we stop to analyze a photograph is nothing more than a drawing done with lights-which means you can literally create your own images using a light in a controlled way.

Some software creates this effect, known as Light painting in an ordinary photo, but we’ll see how to create this same effect using only a camera with manual controls (at least that allows working with long exposures), a tripod and a flashlight.

Setting up the scenario

To begin with, as we have already mentioned, it is necessary to have a camera that has long exposure mode. Some people use the shutter speed in 8 seconds, but our results with this time were not good. The ideal is to use speed between 16:30 seconds.

As the long exposure mode may cause blurry images by a simple noise when holding the camera, it is wise to use the tripod for a more stable image. If you don’t have one, you can use a flat and firm surface such as a table, Chair, etc.

And of course, you will need one or more lanterns. If so, use your external flash (the one that you fit on the camera), but does not mount on the camera, because it will be used only to illuminate manually.

Creating the photo

Once you are with all the necessary equipment, you will need to wait until dusk or else create the pictures in a very dark environment. Then mount the camera on the tripod, activate the long exposure mode and inject the lantern light directly on the lens of the camera or as part of the scene.

In this example (fig. 1) positioned two men in a dark environment, we engaged the long exposure mode and created the first lighting with a flash shooting.

Then carefully insert the light beam of the flashlight in a straight line, linking the man down with the man in the foreground. To top it off, pulled from the scene the man in the foreground and again we engaged the flash, to create an effect as if the man were disintegrating.

In these other examples with a girl, we created an interesting effect and less predictable, since the result is given as you vary the intensity and direction of light from the flashlight.The important thing is that anyone with a flashlight don’t stand close to the person or object that is being photographed, because sometimes you can see a part of the body of who shouldn’t be in the picture.

Controlling the light

As the technique depends on the movement of the light in a dark environment, obviously not always the results will be satisfactory–so this is a trial.

As the shutter has to stay open for a long time, this means that the only function of the camera that you can control is the opening of the diaphragm. If you use a small gap (which leads to a large number, such as f/18), the lighting effect will be negligible according to TRAVELATIONARY.COM. A larger aperture (smaller number, such as f/5.6) will bring more light, and also means that any light in the environment will light up the whole scene.

But it also means that the lantern light will be lighter, which can be nice to create a ghost image of a person to get around it with the flashlight. Start with an aperture like f/8 intermediate, and testing different aspects of your image.

Positioning the flashlight

Depending on the form that you point the lantern light, will be created a different effect.The ideal is to point it directly toward the camera lens, because it will give a more dramatic result and with most striking lights.

But Alternatively, try to illuminate the objects in the scene. In a very dark environment, position objects and even people and the light of way with the light, illuminating a few points for a few seconds.