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Light painting a model ..... tough one

Published July 14th, 2011

I recently had the bright idea of trying light painting with a model, I have worked with light painting a number of times and recently had the good fortune of being commissioned to produce some work for a local company for their new board room. This was reasonably simple as the work involved still life subjects.

Since I can never stand still and light to challenge my photography skills I thought it might be cool to try some larger scale light paining, this has been done many time before and I have seen some great examples of light painting, however I don't believe I have ever seen it done with a "fashion" model slant on it.

I duly set about sorting out my garage into a makeshift studio and run off some test shots using myself as a model.... yep I know Yuk and no these will not be published anywhere .... ever.

Having worked out the best approach I contacted my favourite local model and invited her to model for me. Natalie is a fantastic model and has a wonderful approach to photography modelling, she is very patient too...

The whole process is a manual one, I set up the D300s on tripod and tethered to my Macbook pro thus allowing instant feedback to help resolve issues as we went along.

The process goes like this.

Room in complete darkness, model strikes a perfect pose and holds it, open shutter, operate iPad application that has some cool light features, run around the model counting shutter open time in your head and fire the SB600 and SB25 manually at teh end of the shutter open time .... simple's !!! yeah right !

After a while it become clear this was not so easy, plenty of things could go wrong and did, misfires of the strobes, movement in the pose, ipad dimming, ipad not starting app, tripping over in the darkness, yep it all took place, but after while Natalie and I managed to get into a good state of repeatability, this left one main problem, how to achieve the correct speed of the iPad movement in order to get good clean trails, after a while we mastered this too.. finally achieving some acceptable results.

I do think there is some room for improvement, I would like to have more time to pas with the light from the iPad, also improve the lighting on Natalie as it was thrown together for this little project..... back at it again soon so pop back for an update



Light painting with Natalie.... phew not easy ...

  • July 12th, 2011
  • Nikon D300S
  • 14mm / f/5.6 / 15 sec

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