Light Painting: People On Magical Fire

Thermodynamic EngineeringHere’s a light painting trick you can do on the cheap that yields a neat result. And besides…Who doesn’t want to look like a super hero?

If you aren’t familiar with Light Painting, check out the light painting primer or the tools of the trade posts here on the blog.

If you are familiar with Light Painting, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to pull an image with this technique.

Start by picking up a few of these electric glow sticks. You can find them in the outdoors section in department stores, or on Amazon right here.

Electric Glow Sticks

All you have to do is backlight yourself against a wall and then fill in the silhouette with the glow sticks.

The backlight will give shape and contour to the not very precise glow stick strocks. You could use a strobe, or stand very still and have a friend use a flashlight.

I think the glow sticks look best when shooting at ISO 400 or higher. For the shot below, I had a speedlite strapped to my back that was triggered wirelessly.

Thermodynamic Engineering

Next Up, Let’s Walk Through a Similar Shot

Fourth Dimensional Vision

First off, I set the white balance to 2500 kelvin, which made the sky extra blue and contrasted nicely with the red colors I was working with.

I framed the shot up a hill with a steep incline so to get more sky in the shot.

Standing very still, I held a red glow stick on a string in my right hand and waved it around my body, then I switched hands and did the other side. I left the glow stick turned on and walked towards the camera with it to get the large streak of light you see over my head.

I left the shutter open a little while longer so the stars would show up in my silhouette and lit the foreground from the side with a red led flashlight.

Making Of Video

It is sometimes hard to visualize how those individual steps are taken. Fear not! there is a video that shows how it is done.

About The Author

All of Dennis’s photography is straight out of the camera with no digital manipulation whatsoever. The effects are all created in camera during the exposure. To find out more, check out or read a recent interview.