The 'Toying with bright ideas" series: Painting with light

Lighting, in photography, is one of those things that looks simple to do, right? Shine a light, pop a flash and WALA! You have a great picture. But being able to understand what the light is doing and being able to control it is a skill and can make or break a good photo.

I recently read teddi_toyworld’s article titled indoor lighting woes. She explains the same scenario that I mentioned above; see a BTS of a toy setup and think, that doesn’t look hard to do? So I thought I would do a series of posts entitled "Toying with Bright ideas". In this series, I'll be giving some tips, tricks, and techniques into lighting for toy photography.

Now straight off the bat, I am not claiming to be an expert, there are many ways to skin a cat. But I have had many years of experience with lighting (advertising, wedding photography) and more recently with toys. I also thought it would be more beneficial to make videos on this rather than writing about it, allowing you to see the results.

So let jump straight in…
The first installment of this series is showing you a really cool technique called "painting with light". Many of you may have heard of this and used it to create your images. What I find really cool about this way of lighting, is that you can create an amazingly lit shot with only the torch on your cell phone.

This shot above of one of the greatest evil bosses of all time, in my opinion, is an example of what you can achieve with 1 light.

So here is the video of the setup and the method for painting with light... ENJOY

So to recap:
  1. Make sure you have a tripod
  2. A camera that you can shoot manually
  3. A very dark setup so there is no other light affecting your scene
  4. Shoot with a big aperture (F13-F22). This allows you to shoot with a longer shutter speed and also makes the light source a little more defined.
  5. Shoot upwards of 15 seconds. This is not set in stone but the longer the shutter speed, the more time you have to paint. If you have a trigger, set the camera to bulb mode and you'll be able to shoot far more than 30 seconds
  6. Always more the light around, this way it gives a softer light
  7. The closer the light, the brighter, the further away, the darker the light
  8. Make sure you give yourself space so that the light doesn't become visible in your shot
  9. The longer you hold your light against your character, the more light will fall on it, give it a brighter look
And there we have it.
Look forward to seeing what you guys can come up with using this technique.
Till next time,


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