Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lights in the Darkness: How to do light drawing with long exposures

My dear husband, being an enlightened muscle man.

I love having a special blog for my photography, but I feel like i can't share all the crazy pictures my family takes on that blog.  There was an hour long power outage last night, and for a little family fun, my husband suggested we get out the tripod and do some light drawing in front of the camera.
I shared some of the favorite pictures on my photography blog, but there were a few more that are too fun not to share.  I also thought it would be really fun to tell how exactly we did it, because it isn't that hard!

If you want to try light drawing, you will need set your camera to a manual setting. (if you don't have this, try a fireworks setting on your camera)  You will set it at a very low film speed or ISO.  Mine was set at 100.  Your aperture needs to be set to a smaller sized opening.  My lens can open up to a very wide f1.4, but for these pictures, I mainly had it set at f5.6.  Then you'll set the shutter speed to somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds, depending on how much you want to draw.  Next, mount your camera on a tripod or other stable surface.  Have your subject positioned so that they will be in the frame, then have the light drawing person behind them point the flashlight (we used small pen lights) directly at the camera, allowing the autofocus on the camera to find a focal point when the photographer presses the button to take the picture.  If you have a timer on your camera, this would be even better, because it would eliminate camera shake from pressing the button to take the picture.

The photos you see below are essentially how the photos looked straight out of camera, except that the power came back on part way through, and we had the street light coming through our window.  Because of that, I increased the contrast of the photos and used editing brushes to darken the area of the windows.  Go try it, then share the pictures with your friends!

Radioactive boy

Why old time portraits involved head braces.
Brandon was making some sort of animal.  Levi photobombed it with some sort of nebulous creature on its back. 
Isaac was trying to break someone's heart
A superhero we like to call dinosaur man: notice the shock waves.
Maia is morphing into Dora.  Help!!!
This is me, being all contemplative and getting an aha! moment.
We are siamese if you please....
my husband gave me a flower

Dance party with a poofy skirt
Another superhero look

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