All You Need to Know About Light Painting in Photography?

Light Painting

Today I am going to tell you about light painting in photography. It will help you to understand the role of light as an artistic medium in the art of photography. Also, to understand the role of texture in the frame and its influence on the photographer’s intention.

Key Light in Light Painting Photography

The painting source is called the key light in the photo studio and in general throughout the photography. Why is it so named? Everything is very logical: who creates a pattern of light (and shadow) on a character or subject of filming.

Key light illuminates it and makes it three-dimensional, making it stand out from other things and the background. Its distinctive characteristic is high power compared to other devices and types of lighting.

As a standard, it is located in the anterolateral position, and you need to notice that, preferably, there is glare in the eyes. About a height above the subject’s head, as if the light is set too low, strong shadows will appear, and too high – bags under the eyes, and in general, you will get a dramatic image.

light painting in photography
Light Painting in Photography

The direction of the main luminous flux can be adjusted. There are three main options:

  1. Frontal – forward position. Such a light located directly behind is already called a backlight.
  2. To the side of the model.
  3. Diagonal (45 degrees). It can also include intermediate types – sliding, for example, located between this and the second type.

Types of Lighting Painting in Photography

Types of Lighting Solutions
Light Painting in Photography

If MS has to be strong, does it have to be tough? Everything is at the discretion of the photographer. Therefore, we can say that lighting solutions are of different types:

  • Black and white clolors can create a clear volumetric portrait, with a lot of shadows and contrasting areas. More suitable for male filming, also appropriate images (dramatic, mystical, etc.).
  • Light tone: the light is soft, diffused, similar to the dim light from a window – ideal for photos of women and girls, romantic and family photo sessions.

Variants of Using Painting Source in The Studio

I want to give my favorite example; when we include only one painting source and, firstly, we thoroughly study its specifics. Secondly, we use it to obtain various image styles. It is Nappelbaum’s method of lighting a portrait with one lamp.

At the same time, we can ask our client to turn to the light device and turn away from it, thereby creating a shadow or light effect. Here we need to go back a little and remember the three directions of light.

So, if we shine directly on a person, we will make a flat picture; if from the side, then the volume will appear due to the distribution of light and shadow. And if the device is placed at 45 degrees, we can see a light spot in the subject’s eye (the famous Rembrandt triangle).

In addition, you can rotate the model in profile – and you get a completely new vision of seemingly the same face.

As you can already understand, the painter may well be the primary and only light source. But to experiment with lighting and create unusual photos, it is worth considering purchasing other devices.

The arsenal of the amateur photographer may include both expensive devices and simpler and more affordable ones. For example, you can purchase fill light for your future photography studio, designed to level out harsh shadows and remove contrasts.

At the same time, it can be replaced with common reflectors. Fabric, paper backgrounds will also come in handy, as well as different lights for them.

Variants of Using Painting Source
Light Painting in Photography

A beautiful photograph can be obtained with the exposed key light in a diagonal position, filling (in the frontal) and background and/or backlighting from behind the hair and human figure (the subject’s contour).

Auxiliary Nozzles

In your work, try different options, different ways of playing with light. Pay attention to attachments such as:

  • The beauty reflector dish belongs to the category of reflectors. It provides harsh, directional lighting on the subject. If you shoot outdoors on a clear day, you will get the same bright and powerful light.
  • The tube, like the previous one, is a metal nozzle. It is a cone-shaped device that creates a narrow luminous flux.
  • Umbrellas are light or black, that is, for light or reflection.
  • Softboxes (fabric) of different shapes and dispersion areas. With them, you will get delicate light photos.
  • The Octobox is suitable for photographing groups.
  • Blinds and honeycombs for additional possibilities in limiting and generally regulating the beam path. They can be perceived as a lens hood on the camera, thanks to the light is not sprayed to the sides.

In addition, light filters can be installed on the drawing source to slightly tint the flow or completely change the colors on the object.

You may also like to read: Lighting in Filmmaking and Photography: A Complete Guide.

That’s all for today. Now I hope you figured out this kind of lighting and have an idea of what it is, how and why to use it. Bye and see you soon.

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