Falling in Love with Still Life Light Painting Photography
Oh. My. Heart. I have found a new addiction, and I don’t want to recover. Still life light painting photography is new to me, but I LOVE it so much.
First, let me explain a little bit about what I mean when I say “light painting.” Light painting is a form of long-exposure photography that has largely been pioneered and given a name by Caryn Esplin, a master of light in photography. The idea is the same as most long-exposure photography in that it takes place in a dark room, and you manipulate light. The idea with still life light painting photography is that you use a flashlight to create interesting highlights and shadows during a long-exposure photo. I’ll show some examples, but you should go read Caryn Esplin’s webpage on the topic for more on the technique!
I’m starting off with one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Over 15 seconds, another photographer and I took this photo while he danced a flashlight over the objects in our still life. He took a couple extra seconds on the clear glass objects to make it look like light was coming from them, and put a little less light over everything else. This is the result, and I’m honestly in love with it.
This was one of my favorite examples of creating shadows with light painting. Believe it or not, this photo was taken in a bathroom, with a fancy cloth over the toilet. It was a long 15 seconds for my hand model, and it required some Photoshop work in post, but it turned out with the dramatic flair I was hoping for. Some of my Photoshop edits included a basic black paintbrush taking out parts of the background, and adding exposure masks on parts of the image to bring out shadows and highlights more.
More Examples of Still Life Light Painting Photography
This was one of my favorites! I decided to focus on the tower of this fairy castle, and in post I added an exposure mask to make the windows look like they’re lit. I had tried to light them up more with the actual still life light painting photography, but it didn’t quite work so I did it in post.
These next few photos are some more examples of still life light painting photography, using similar techniques!
I had SO much fun with this light painting. I loved using lights to create interesting highlights and shadows on these still life setups. If you want to see more light painting outside, go see my other light painting post!