Photographer Jason D. Page recently shared with us some of amazing light painting portraits he created along with his team. Photographing people this way can be quite a challenge, especially if you want to create the shots in one take. As you can imagine, keeping the subject sharp is pretty difficult when you’re shooting in the pitch-black environment. In this video, Jason shares his techniques which will help you to keep the subject sharp and nail focus every time when shooting light painting portraits.
Jason explains that there are essentially two main ways to avoid blur. First, have your morel stay as calm as possible as you shine the light onto them. And second, illuminate the model only one time, in a single pass of light. If the model moves just a little bit at the second pass of light, you’ll end up with a blurred image.
In the video, Jason shows you both the right way and the wrong way to illuminate the subject, so you can see the difference. However, this blur could be the desired effect. In this case, make the movement intentional to get the effect you want.
For creating his light painting portraits, Jason uses Portrait Light from LightPaintingBrushes to illuminate the model. Plus, he draws with light behind her using a flashlight and a universal connector paired with different light painting tools. As for the settings, he shoots at ISO 200, f/8, in bulb mode. The room is completely dark, so the only light is the one he “paints.”
Finally, to make sure that your subject is in tack sharp, use manual focus. If you turn on the autofocus, the camera will struggle in the dark. Alternatively, you can turn on the light, use the AF on the subject, and then switch back to manual for the shoot. I’d add another suggestion. You can use AF, but pair it with a flashlight and a remote trigger set to 2s delay. Illuminate your subject so the camera can focus on them. Press the trigger and you’ll have just enough time to set the light where you want to start light painting.
These techniques will help you get tack sharp subjects and create some stunning light painting portraits. Now, find someone willing to pose for you, try this out, and let us know how it works for you.
[Light Painting Portrait Tutorial | LightPaintingPhoto]