Analysis: The Perfect Picture - LightPaintings

light art, light effect, light painting, light tube, light tube painting, light tubes, special effects -

Analysis: The Perfect Picture - LightPaintings

What a super fun extra season of the Perfect Picture. It is not only fun to look at, but also to analyze for yourself why one photo is better than another. And sometimes I want to climb through the image to give some extra clues... recognizable?

I am a bit behind with the series (long live looking back) and yesterday it was my turn to make a light painting. Immediately I was on the edge of my seat. Super cool of course. They got to work with stars, bicycle lights and tube-like things.

Tim was unfortunately struggling a lot and Jochem also had a lot of blur. How is that possible my daughter asked... an interesting question. Do you have an idea? And why was Thomas not bothered by it?

Let's start with the basics. Lightpainting revolves around a slow shutter speed. You leave the shutter open for as long as the time you need to draw or create the light effect. This is often between 6 and 15 seconds. 

If you photograph, you already know that a shutter speed below 1/60 can cause motion blur. So 6 or 8 or 10 seconds all the way. That goes wrong with Tim and Jochem. They have the shutter length open, but on a tripod, but the tripod does keep the camera still, but not the model. And the face receives light from the light source that passes in front of the face. That is not 6 or 8 or 10 seconds, but a few seconds and you can never really let someone stand still for a few seconds. 

So we see motion blur coming here right away. 

But what about the picture of Thomas? Where was the light source? 

That's right... behind the model (Tim) and not in front of him. So he became a silhouette. And movement in a silhouette is almost impossible to see because you do not see any details in the silhouette. And that's why his photo is so successful!

But if you don't want a silhouette? Surely that's not possible?

I have good news. This photo was taken by Nicole during a LightPainting workshop in my studio. And you see the model lit and no movement. 


What we use is the flash light in the foreground and the lighttube (durable light) in the background. 

The flash only lasts 1/2000 of a second and the rest of the front... is black (because the tube only comes from behind like Maurice's silhouette photo). So then, photo-technically, nothing happens with light at the front. 

And so with a longer shutter speed you can still get a well-exposed model without movement. 

Would you like to participate in a LightTube workshop? Then keep an eye on the dates here:

Leave a comment