Photo by Linda Knasel
VotoArt recently ran a workshop for photographers that gave them an opportunity to try some light painting. Light painting is a great way to create interesting photos that can be entered into our abstract photo contests. If you want to win cash in the VotoArt photo contests, light painting is a great tool to have in your tool box. At our recent photo light painting workshop, many of the questions asked, were about how to get the correct settings for shutter-speed, aperture and ISO. For this reason we thought we would provide a little information about these settings so our members, who could not attend the workshop, could still jump in and have some fun experimenting with the art of light painting. We would love to see the photos you create be in our next abstract cash contest.
Shutter Speed is how long your camera aperture will stay open. If it is open for a long period of time, say 2 sec to 30 sec, it will allow you to paint with different types of lights such as a flash light, LED, camera flash or even a spark as was done in the above photo. Where to set your aperture is determined by how long you need to “paint” in order to create the effect you are looking for. The above photo had a speed of 30 seconds. This aloud enough time for a whisk full of burning steel wool to be spun on a rope and throw off lots of sparks. The light streaks from the sparks were created by the long shutter speed.
Setting the Aperture
The aperture setting determines how wide the hole in your lens will be. The smaller the hole the greater the depth of field, so to help insure your subject is in focus you will want to have a higher number f stop. Remember the higher the number of the f stop, the smaller the aperture, and the more in focus your photo will be. In short a f 22 will allow in less light and provide more depth of field than a F1.4. The trade off of a higher f stop with a bigger depth of field is that less light is allowed to reach the sensor due to a smaller opening. You will need to experiment to find the exact exposure and focus you need.
Setting the ISO
The ISO determines how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO number, the brighter your image will be. The lower the ISO number, the darker your image will be. The trade off is a higher ISO tends to introduce noise to your photo. You want the ISO to be as low as possible and still be able to expose the light source you are using to paint. Brighter lights will help you have a lower ISO.
In order to produce the exact results you want for your photo, you will need to experiment with the three settings. Because each of them will impact the other, you will want to look at the trade offs for the adjustment you make. While making those adjustments keep in mind the following
Speed – The longer the exposure the more time you will have to paint, but the risk is exposing elements in your photo that you do not want to see, such as people doing the painting
Aperture – The larger the number of your f stop the more depth of field you will have to work with to keep your subject in focus. The trade off is less light for exposure. You can compensate for less light with Higher ISO or longer exposures.
ISO – A higher ISO produces more exposure by making your sensor more sensitive to light but it also introduce noise to your photo.
Some samples from the VotoArt Contests
Photo by Justin Nichols
Photo by Dhoni S
Photo by Dika Photos
Photo by Arie Azdhana
Photo by Dean Bennett