Tom and I love to light paint. Olympus' Live Composite and Live Time features were the main reason why we switched to Olympus a few years ago. Being able to see your night (or light painted) image "develop" on the back of the camera makes that type of photography not only more FUN, but much more productive as well!
We usually light paint outside, often with the night sky was the backdrop. However, there are so many subject inside to light paint (we collect rusty things for still life photography, closeup photography, and for light painting). There are lots of ways to be creative at home.
Here is one project that can be setup anywhere and most subjects can be painted with light. We have lightpainted food, flowers, bottles and more!
Our home setup is s simple black science fair tri-fold poster board with a similar black price as the bottom. If you have foam core or poster board but no tri-fold, you can tape three pieces together with duct tape.
This setup can be located on your kitchen table or even on top of your dryer.
For lighting use a small dim flashlight. Try to find one without a center "hotspot," and use some gaffers tape to make a snoot to narrow the beam. We place gaffers tape around the opening and then cut a diagonal bevel to direct the light narrow and more one directional.
With Live Composite, ambient light is taken into consideration so we light paint in the middle of the day, since our home has a vented roof and there are lots of trees around so the neither the laundry room or the kitchen gets bright sunlight.
For daytime light painting, we usually have the camera set to 1/2 or 1 second intervals, ISO 200, with apertures of F8, F11 or F22. Those settings allow for the ambient light to be controlled and not be a part of the scene when we light paint. The tri-fold design also keeps side lighting from coming into the scene.
When we light paint inside in the evening we usually have the camera set to 1-4 second intervals and ISO 400, with apertures of F8 or F11.
If you are able to get outside, you can try using Live Composite to light paint objects around your house - like cars!
Live Composite is for so much more than night photography – so have fun, use this time to learn something new, and keep feeding your creative soul!
Lisa and Tom Cuchara are known for their "Creativity is Contagious, Pass it on" philosophy, expertise in teaching Photography and Photoshop, inspirational & informative photo workshops, two books published with Amherst Media, and numerous award-winning photographs. They enjoy sharing their passion and knowledge.