light painting

How to light paint a car

This mean looking mx5 was taken last year for a friend. This is the final imagine which comprises of roughly 6 images blended in photoshop. All photos were shot in raw in auto white balance and with a shutter speed of 10 seconds. Kept the ISO at 100 to preserve as much detail and reduce noise as possible and aperture was f9. This was shot with a standard kit lens (18-55mm canon), and lit with an LED camping light from amazon which cost a vast 5.99! lol

Trial & Error

I must admit with any shoot like this there has to be a lot of trial and error.  Every scenario is going to be different with a mixture of different coloured lights and levels of light, so just persevere and tweak things until you get the shot looking exposed to your taste.  As with many shots like this it has been created from not one single image but from several. Basically different parts of the car are lit separately and then combined in photoshop using layer masks (If you don’t know what these are just do a search on youtube), and blended to give a nice even exposure on the wheels, the body, roof, bonnet etc.

Do I Need Fancy Gear?

Shots like this do not need any fancy equipment just a camera which will allow you to shoot in full manual, a tripod is a MUST, this shot could not be possible without one, and finally some sort of light to illuminate your subject.

The Shoot

Lets get on to how this was actually shot. Got a composition I liked then did a few test shots. This involved putting the camera on a timer for the shutter and getting ready to run,  get into shot, turn the torch on and light up the parts of the car. It helps having someone to help with this either so you can stay at the camera and look at what you need to change or just to give you a rest! lol. It is a fine line getting this right as I found out as if you move slowly with the light you can show up in the shot especially if you let light from the torch spill onto your legs! Just like anything practice makes perfect so just get out there and shoot!

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