How to Indoor Light Paint

Indoor light painting is fun, unique, and definitely addicting. At least for me! I will show you some quick tips in my video on how to indoor light paint, but I have also listed the steps below for more detailed descriptions on how to do this! Good luck, and show me what you can get!


Set Up Gear

With light painting you will need the following things

  • Tripod: to stabilize your image, because you have a long shutter speed.
  • Flashlight of any kind: anything that makes light to paint light on your image.
  • Subject: Old textured things look beautiful, but literally everything works!
  • Black background: helps a lot, just trust me!
  • Camera… obvious.

Camera Settings

The camera settings are pretty flexible and can change based on your environment and what kind of lighting you need, but here are some basic rules to start out with.

  • Shutter Speed: Between 8 seconds and 15 is where I like to start. That gives me enough time to run around and light everything up. 
  • Aperture: f8 is where I like to start, but you can always make it darker or lighter by moving this up and down. f22 ish will be darker and more things will be sharp. f5.6 ish will be lighter and less will be in focus.
  • ISO: 100 is usually the best. So start there, but if all else fails and you need more light, boost it up just a little.
  • White Balance: Auto White Balance works most of the time. If you want different coloring then go ahead and play around with switching those!

Remember that you want the entire image to be black except for what you shine the light on. So make sure you can take a completely black image, and then take the second shot and add in the light!

Paint the Light!

Once you have everything set up, just start shooting like crazy! Here are my tips for taking the images.

  • Take lots of shots. You will find out areas that you like to light more than others, and you get a different shot every time. And the great part about a tripod is you can mask in different parts together in Photoshop later! 
  • Create a triangle between the subject, the camera, and the light. You want to light the subject from the side, or even behind! It makes it much more interesting.
  • Try only lighting part of the subject, rather than lighting the whole thing.
  • Don’t point the flashlight at the camera. It will make streaks of light (unless you want to do that!) And watch for other types of light streaks like when your hand glows from the light and shows up.
  • Practice! Practice! Practice!

Good luck! =)