Creativelive Photo Challenge – Paint with Light

The Challenge

Photography translates to “painting with light”, but let’s make this more literal! Utilize your photographic knowledge to paint your scene into existence using light to sculpt your subject and environment. You will utilize ‘light painting tools’ of your choice to selectively illuminate your subject during a long exposure at night or in the dark. Create a portrait with light-painting techniques, make it eye-catching, and make it fun!


Painting with light helps you create surreal imagery that utilizes unusual light sources. The light you hold becomes your paintbrush, and if you’ve never tried this technique before, it’s addicting!

Another thing I like about light painting is that it is not something the average iPhone owner can create. Nowadays as I walk down the streets of New York I see people having little impromptu photo shoots with their cell phones. Maybe it’s a selfie getting just the right light. Maybe it’s their friend posing them in front of an interesting background, showing off that day’s clothing trend. Photographers and non-photographers alike are constantly creating images, so now more than ever I need to find a way to stand out. Lighting (and unusual lighting) is one way I can do that. I am not saying that your business can (or should be) focused on creating surreal paint with light images — instead, it’s just one more tool at your disposal to create something that catches the viewer’s eye. In fact, I used a light painting image as the cover of my book Creative 52 with the hope of arresting the viewer’s eye and getting them to flip through the pages!

Possible lighting painting sources:

  • Pen lights
  • Lasers
  • Tikki Torches
  • Flash lights
  • LED flash
  • Christmas tree lights
  • Sparklers
  • Glow sticks
  • String lights (used sometimes for car decor or rave decoration)
  • Candles
  • iPad/iPhone
  • and more

Of course your sear

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