Painting with Light

posted on 22nd of march, 2014

Fiber-Optic Light Painting

The photographic technique of 'Painting with Light' has been around since the very early days of photography.

Light painting is a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera during the exposure. Subjects can be lit by 'painting' the subject with light from outside the frame with hand-held light sources.

Many kinds of light source can be used, from simple flashlights to dedicated devices like the Hosemaster, which uses a fiber optic light pen with many attachments to 'shape' the light. Colored gels can be used to color the light. Other sources of light such as candles, matches, fireworks and glowsticks, could also be used.
Selective 'blur' can be added to an image by camera movement or the use of diffusion filters over the lens during selected parts of the overall exposure.

Light Painting Photography can be traced back to 1914 when Frank Gilbreth, and his wife Lillian, used small lights and the open shutter of a camera to track the motion of workmen.
Man Ray, in his 1935 series "Space Writing," was the first known art photographer to use the technique. Barbara Morgan began making light paintings in 1940.

By using this technique you can produce images that are as 'way out' or as 'normal' as you wish.
Even everyday items can be turned into works of art.
Try it !
To get started all you need is a camera (that has a 'B' or 'T' shutter setting), a tripod, a darkened room, a few colored gels and a good penlight torch.

I have just posted a new 'collection' with my modern take on this old photographic technique. I produced most of the images in this collection by using Hosemaster Fiber-Optic Light Painting equipment. Most of these images were shot on white background paper which was then colored using light and color gels.

View my collection: "Fiber-Optic Light Painting" at the following link:


You can get a basic idea of the techniques used by watching the video at this link:

A few pictures from the collection..........

Comments (16)

Posted by Alaamiahclean on February 14, 2017
Im thankful for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.
Posted by Wordplanet on March 30, 2014
Beautiful collection of images - thanks for sharing links to the technique.
Posted by Osmar01 on March 27, 2014
An interesting article! Beautifully.
Posted by Laurasinelle on March 24, 2014
Great images! Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Antonio1962 on March 24, 2014
great work.congratulations
Posted by Mrallen on March 24, 2014
Reply from Steve Allen
Hi Danieic1998 - Yes, almost all my light painting shots are taken in one exposure using the Hosemaster system. The camera I use for light painting is a Canon 5D Mk111 which has a great sensor that allows very long exposures of up to about 3 mins with almost no noise (I also shoot at a very low ISO.100).
Although the camera shutter remains open, the Hosemaster has a secondary shutter that is placed in front of the lens and only opened when you wish to expose the light you are painting the subject with, to the camera. This allows you to practice the painting action on the subject and only expose to camera when you are happy with your painting movements.
As you say, the Hosemaster is far from being a cheap item. It just makes light painting far easier and more controllable. However, you can still get great results using flashlights etc.
Posted by Littlemacproductions on March 24, 2014
Nicely done! Colors perspective subject matter.. very nice. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Posted by Lejoch on March 24, 2014
Really thanks for sharing the technique, beautiful images!
Posted by Danielc1998 on March 24, 2014
Beautiful and inspiring images indeed.

I have made some experiments using this technic using flashlights and laser pens with multiple exposures, and then merging the images in gimp, but I had never heard about Aaron Jones or the hosemaster. I guess your images are made in one exposure.

For those who have no idea what a hosemaster looks like (like myself), here is a link:


...and it is not cheap, if you are planning to get one.
Posted by Egomezta on March 23, 2014
Your images are amazing and beautifu, thanks for sharing, I'll give it a try...
Posted by Mrallen on March 23, 2014
From Steve Allen.........
Hi Inyrdreams
I have no plans (or the time) to make a video on Light Painting, but you can get a basic idea of the techniques used from this link:


Also, the Hosemaster was invented/marketed by a guy call Aaron Jones. He has lots of great light painting images on his website:


Hope this is of interest. Glade you like my work.
Posted by Inyrdreams on March 23, 2014
i want to see you make a video on this technique next.. very interesting and amazing images!
Posted by Rigsby8131 on March 22, 2014
Brilliant blog with stunning images!!! Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Lenutaidi on March 22, 2014
WOW! Brilliant! Very interesting technique, Steve Allen! Wonderful collection! Thank you for sharing!
Posted by FabioConcetta on March 22, 2014
You have created a wonderful collection, your wallpapers are very bright colors, which enhance the very subject. Congratulations also to the explanation and the narration of this technique very interesting!
Posted by Psmpics on March 22, 2014
This is one of the best blogs I've read in ages! It is well written, very informative and includes some wonderful images. Well done and good luck.

Comments (16)

This article has been read 4067 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: , Akkharaphol Panpathum, Freedive100, Steve Allen, Sociologas.

About me

I was a professional Industrial / Commercial photographer for over 26 years, before leaving commissioned work to become a full-time Stock Photographer. I first started shooting stock in 1972 as a supplement to my commissioned work, however, since early 2001 my entire income has come from shooting Stock images. I now have just over 100,000 image placements in my current multi-agency portfolio. Most of my income comes from the range of mainstream agencies I submit to. The 21 microstock sites I submit to now produce about 30% of my total income. Dreamstime sales account for abo... [Read more]

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