Ep 291: Light painting for beginners, enthusiasts and pros.

You will listen to this cracker of an episode again and again. Lighting painting for beginners, enthusiasts and pros will change the way you think about lighting. You’ll also discover innovative ways to add awesome lighting to your shots with minimal equipment – even just using the light from your phone!

Gina and Valerie hope you enjoy the podcast.

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Show Notes

Shoutout STEVE WILSON: Prince Edward island

I don’t expect you to remember, but I let you know that your podcasts helped give me the confidence to try and work with our provincial school lunch as a chef and photographer. And it worked. Well, with covid and all schools shut down, there are plenty of families in dire need of help. And thanks to me getting this job, I was in the right place at the right time. I’m now putting out over 1000 meals per week and shipping them out to families who need them. Thank you for the help.

Check out Steves work on insta @dalocalchef

Photo composite challenge

Great work to everyone who participated in last week’s challenge. Here are just a few crackers! (We love them!)

Image by Thor Dut


Congratulations to our cover photographer this week GOLD Michael Brewer.

Michael is a hobbyist photographer whose work is funded by a corporate sponsor (day job). His work includes model portfolios, lifestyle scenes, and urban landscapes. Michael is inspired by Herb Ritts and others who were masters of hard sunlight. He is also obsessed with “old” photos, especially those from 1920’s and 30’s Hollywood, and how modern some of them can appear to our eyes.

Website: rmbrewer.com
IG: @rmichaelbrewer


‘It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.’- Aristotle

Two kinds of Light painting

Light is in the image

  • Set camera to Manual
  • Tripod
  • torch/small light
  • Dark room or wait till it’s nighttime
  • Wear black clothing


  • Manual mode
  • F16
  • ISO 100
  • WB Daylight or 5200K
  • SS start at 10 seconds ( this will vary depending on how bright your light is)
  • LCD screen brightness should be lowered
  • Always turn IS off when shooting on a tripod

Compose your scene

  1. Focus using AF
  2. turn lights on to help focus or shine a light on the scene if you are outside
  3. Once focus is locked on, turn off your auto focus
  4. Using a torch try and write a word, draw a picture or trace your outline
  5. Avoid pointing the torch at the camera
  6. Try using your phone screen as your painting tool.
  7. For more advanced techniques check out the work of Denis Smith on ep 234 https://ginamilicia.com/2019/02/ep-234/


Light is used to illuminates the image

This technique can be used to paint light on an object outside or to shoot high end looking products

Images can be created in one frame or by merging several frames together

Single Exposure

  • F22
  • SS 15-20 secs ( time will vary depending on how bright your light is)
  • Torch or an ipad/ iphone ( need to override the settings that turn the screen off)
  • Open shutter
  • Move torch over subject
  • For best results light from the side and back and never from the front because it looks flat.
  • Experiment with hard and soft light sources
  • Ipad or tablet is great for highly reflective surfaces

TIP: To keep your iPad from going to sleep, update the Auto-lock setting. To do this, go to your iPad Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock. Set Auto-Lock to “Never”. This will keep your screen awake, but still respect your screen dimming settings.

Multiple exposures

Bottle shot

  1. Settings
    ISO 100
    SS 4-10 secs Compose your shot
  2. Focus and then lock focus by turning AF off
  3. Create a base exposure
  4. Paint using torch, continuous light, ipad
  5. Merge images in photoshop using blend mode lighten

Below are some super quick examples.

Light source Godex AD 200 + Large Octa using modelling light

IMAGE 1 Base exposure F8 4 secs ISO 100


IMAGE 2 Background F8 4 secs ISO 100 ( I placed a Gary fong grid on my light)
IMAGE 3 cap and front F8 4 secs ISO 100 ( I placed a Gary fong grid on my light)
IMAGE 4 label F8 4 secs ISO 100 ( I placed a Gary fong grid on my light)
Layers combined in photoshop using blend mode lighten.


Light source Godex AD 200 + Large Octa

IMAGE 1 Base exposure F16 1/200th secs ISO 100
IMAGE 3 backlight liquid exposure F16 1/200th secs ISO 100
IMAGE 4 label and cap F16 1/200th secs ISO 100
Images merged in photoshop using blend mode Lighten
Clean up edit using layer masks


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About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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