Portraits With Light Painting

As referenced in a previous post or two, this past few weeks in class saw the introduction of light painting in a studio setting. In general it’s a surprisingly useful technique that extends far beyond more the more familiar application of drawing with sparklers. In class last week my girlfriend, Mel, offered to sit for our class for some general studies utilizing flash, however; rain set in not long after class started. Feeling motivated and curious after our professor, Pete, showed us some examples of light painting used in an even less conventional sense (in portraiture) I figured I could try my hand at it.

One of the more or less directly characteristic qualities of painting with light is its somewhat haphazard nature, you can totally get familiar enough with it for there to be an element of predictability in your work, but there is also still a fairly prominent “luck-of-the-draw” element in play. This proved to be the case especially one a human subject is utilized rather than a pair of sunglasses (with 15 second exposures I’m pretty much shocked that everything isn’t blurry). In general the approach I was trying to take could be summed up as trying to splash color on Mel with a softbox app on my phone, while trying to fill in the seamless paper in the background, after a little while it turned more-so into just general experimentation. That was the case especially with images such as the one with the multicolored ribbon of light in the background, which was formed after I discovered the color of the softbox changed if you shook the phone around. Perhaps the most compelling thing about this technique is its potential to replace more dedicated studio lights in certain situations.

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