What is balance in your light painting photo?
When making a light painting photo, I always pay attention to 3 elements in my workshops that must be in balance:
1. The light on the model
2. The light of the painting
3. The light of the background
I see this as 3 layers, like a painter also looks at his/her painting during the creative process.
And precisely this balance is the difference between a good and a less good photo. My mission is to teach you to always come home with good photos.
I want you to experience the magic of light painting photography so that you can fully enjoy it.
Controlling the balance in your photo
With my method of working you can control each of these layers separately, so make the light harder or softer per layer. And that's how you get the balance you want. So you can make a conscious choice in this.
Let's go layer by layer:
1. Light up your model
in many light painting photos you see the model as a silhouette. Sometimes that is very nice, but sometimes you want to have the choice to put your model in the center and to inform him / her nicely. In my opinion, the photo is about the model and this should be reinforced by the painting and the environment.
That's why I always use a flash on my model. An ordinary flash is enough to make your model stand out. I think it is important that the flash does not come from the camera, but that you let the flash with trigger come from a more natural place. I usually slant it to the point the model is looking at.
And I always use the zoom head to get a focused beam on your model because all the light that comes next to your model is lost light. This is a very important part of my workshop.
And you can set the flash harder and softer, so you determine how much light falls on your model.
2. Light from your painting
The second layer is your painting itself. This should be clearly visible, but not too hard. You can control this layer yourself with the strength of your flashlight. This is in the light tube and you can turn it up and down.
With a number of test photos you can easily find out which setting of your flashlight gives the best effect and how you get the balance right.
3. Light from the background
I always find it very nice to also depict the environment according to the model and the painting. It gives your photo a story, a context, you show a beautiful environment. That is why I always look for a cool environment for my workshops.
You can make the environment and also the light that is still in the air (in the example of 1 of my students Edwin the beautiful blue sky, the pier and the Ferris wheel) lighter and darker by making your aperture larger and smaller.
If you set this larger, the environment will become lighter and if you set it smaller, the environment will become darker.
Note, however: if you adjust the aperture, your drawing will also become lighter and so will the flash. Therefore. I usually start with point 3 and then set 1 and 2. But if you adjust your aperture later, adjust your flash and flashlight accordingly.
This is how you bring the magic to life with balance and light.