t2d4th's blog

Drawing with Light

posted by t2d4th, Jan 30, 2007 2:39 PM — 24 comments


1) A camera with a bulb setting or shutter setting for up to 30 seconds
2) A tripod or some other way to keep the camera steady
3) A shutter release cable or remote control
4) A light source. Flashlights, LED lights, candles, etc.

Step by step:

1) Set the camera up on a tripod approximately 8 feet from where the light source will be.

2) Set the camera for a aperture of f8 and the shutter to 10 seconds. (this is just a starting point...once you have taken a few pictures you will want to play with the shutter speed and f stop to get the effects you want)

3) Have someone stand in front of the camera and focus on them. Pre-focus the camera while the lights are on.

4) Now is where the fun starts - Turn the lights off (the darker the room the better) and have the person in front of the camera begin moving the light source around slowly and smoothly.

5) Trip the shutter and continue to move the light source throughout the exposure. It will take some practice to get comfortable moving the light source around…not too big and not too small.

6) Play around with different light sources – LEDs, flashlights, candles, etc. Different “heats” of light produce different color effects. Another idea is to tie a string to the light source and use it to make smooth arcs and circles.

This is an easy project that can have some amazing effects. Have fun and let us see the results!

Comments | RSS

1. posted by noohoo, Jan 30, 2007 10:50 PM

I can't wait to try this out. Thanks for writing this tutorial.

2. posted by chupao, Jan 30, 2007 11:24 PM


3. posted by pixelbase, Jan 31, 2007 12:04 AM

Thanks Toby. I can think of lots of creative photos that I can create using your technique of "drawing with light". Excellent "Tute"!

4. posted by jonasjonas, Feb 4, 2007 6:49 PM

crazy but... yeah!

5. posted by anaekramy, Feb 9, 2007 9:31 PM

Thank's very nice tutorial

6. posted by iainuk, Feb 11, 2007 1:05 PM

Great stuff! I actually played about with this method myself in december for a cd cover but placed candle on table and freehanded camera on bulb.

Worked pretty well but there was no gettin it right first time, tripod with moving light i'll have to try :p

7. posted by gnmills, Feb 15, 2007 7:14 AM

Thanks! Great tutorial

8. posted by joshuadio, Feb 20, 2007 8:15 AM

thanks a lot bro..very worthtrying

9. posted by Odyssee, Feb 23, 2007 4:42 PM

Great Tutorial!

Just tried it and I have to say it works very well. Will be a present for girlfriend.

Thanks so much,

10. posted by Ballez, Mar 2, 2007 8:57 PM

Nice! Thanks for the tutorial, I always wondered how those are done.
Keep'm coming!!

11. posted by Slantsixx, Mar 7, 2007 6:55 PM

I say you should put the f stop at the highest setting you can and not have the photo underdexposed. The higher the f stop, the better the focus, and with long exposures and low light, you'll probably want the extra focus. More impotrant than the f stop is ISO; you'll want that at the lowest setting, to avoid noise.

Good tut!

12. posted by mattash88, Mar 13, 2007 8:53 PM

Awesome tutorial!! One setting i found to work well is 2.5 sec and f8.0. Also use a really bright light, and movie it quickly. It also helps if you have someone to do the light while you snap the photo.

13. posted by quirolant, Mar 16, 2007 8:52 PM


14. posted by tigone124, Mar 26, 2007 1:33 PM

thanks so much

15. posted by RStars, Mar 28, 2007 4:26 PM

Thank you

16. posted by sgomez84, Apr 5, 2007 8:20 PM

thanks so much for this tutorial. There was a power shutdown the today and it gave me the chance to draw with light. These are some that came up, using my mobile phone and a candle.


Please comment.

17. posted by tyoshya, Apr 19, 2007 6:35 PM

it sounds good!

i'll try it. thanx

18. posted by SpencerJ, Apr 26, 2007 4:47 PM

Can I just add that i use this technique a lot and you dont need a remote or cable release. Just use the self timer, Works a treat and gives you time to get into position.

19. posted by SpencerJ, Apr 26, 2007 4:48 PM

Here is one of my images:


20. posted by ericneuvel, Mar 8, 2008 3:58 PM

That's just AWESOME!


21. posted by joke, Apr 11, 2008 5:16 AM

cool man!

22. posted by sujeshak, Apr 27, 2009 11:27 AM

pakka bore

23. posted by sumppump, Jun 26, 2013 12:32 AM

That's just AWESOME!


24. posted by chrissaluu, Jun 28, 2013 4:36 AM

it sounds good!

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