What is Light Painting in Photography?

Light Painting

Today I am going to tell you about the ‘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 communication of the photographer’s intention.

Key Light & Painting by Light

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: it is that who creates a pattern of light (and shadow) on a character or subject of filming.

Key light illuminates it, makes it three-dimensional, makes 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 are 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

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 backlight.
  2. To the side of the model.
  3. Diagonal (45 degrees). This 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

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 is able to create a clear volumetric portrait, 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 fully study its specifics, and secondly, we use it to obtain various image styles. This is Nappelbaum’s method of lighting a portrait with one lamp.

At the same time, we can ask our client to both 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, then we will make a flat picture, if from the side, then 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 eye of the subject (the famous Rembrandt triangle).

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

As you can already understand, the painter may well be the main and only light source. But in order to be able 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 , which is designed to level out harsh shadows and remove contrasts.

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

Variants of Using Painting Source

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 contour of the subject).

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 devices) 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 which 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.