Tips & Tutorials

Tips to Create Light Painting Photos with Torch and Glow Sticks

Light painting is a fun and creative way to capture shapes and drawings of light. It is a photographic technique that uses long exposures with an illuminated object. While photography is mostly about light, this genre of photography takes light to a new level. Learn how to create your own light paintings with these easy tips.

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/20, 22mm, 26 secs, ISO400

What you will need

  1. Camera
  2. Tripod
  3. Flashlights
  4. Glow sticks
  5. Human subjects
  6. Canon Camera Connect app

What to adjust on your camera settings

Make sure that your camera battery is fully charged and you have ample space on your memory card. Set your camera to BULB mode (learn more about this mode in Panning Mode and BULB Shooting), or Manual mode with shutter speed between 11 to 30 seconds, aperture of f/8 or higher, and ISO between 200 to 1250, all according to your environment and how dark it is.

Getting the shot

Find a location with minimal light, set your camera onto the tripod, and connect your camera to the Canon Camera Connect app and turn on the Remote Shooting function. In this way, you are able to control your camera remotely without physically touching your camera.

Using a person as the subject, stand behind him/her, and shine the flashlight towards the camera. As you press the camera shutter, start drawing around the silhouette of your subject (see below). Press on the shutter again to stop the shot, and switch off your light simultaneously. 

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 15 secs, ISO400

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 15 secs, ISO640

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 15 secs, ISO400

You can also write different words using lights, but remember to draw them in mirror image to get the letters right.

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 15 secs, ISO640

Quick Steps:

  1. Set camera on a tripod
  2. Switch to BULB/Manual Mode
  3. Adjust settings accordingly
  4. Press the camera shutter
  5. Turn on he LED light and trace it around your subject
  6. Press the camera shutter once more

Playing with colours

Instead of white LED lights, you can opt for a rainbow of colours using glow sticks. Start a ‘sword fight’ with your friend, or create psychedelic waves by swinging your glow sticks and walking from one end of the frame to the other.

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 5 secs, ISO1250

EOS M5, EF-M22mm f/2 STM lens, f/11, 22mm, 10 secs, ISO1250

Quick Steps:

  1. Set camera on a tripod
  2. Switch to BULB/Manual Mode
  3. Adjust settings accordingly
  4. Break glow sticks to light them up
  5. Press the camera shutter
  6. Swing around to create light trails
  7. Press the camera shutter once more

 

Learn why it’s better to use a mirrorless camera instead of a smart phone camera to create shots like these; or explore more ways to get stunning night shots with EOS M6: Three Features You Can Use to Achieve Stunning Shots of Night Cityscapes.


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