Light Painting Basics with GloFX

Light Painting Basics

If you’re a flow artist, you are familiar with #trailshottuesday all over Instagram featuring many artists and their LED flow toys. These beautiful photos are created by light painting, a technique that involves moving a light source while taking a long-exposure photograph. Light painting possibilities are endless, creating shapes and galaxies of colors that create a still image that looks like magic.

Want to create your own lighting painting art? Light painting is actually more simple to do than you would think. All you need is a camera with manual exposure, a tripod, an optional wireless or shutter release cable, and any flashlight or point of light.


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Tips & Tricks

It’s best that you shoot in a pitch-black room or late at night. Make sure that you have no artificial or ambient light in the room so that your flashlight or hand is not exposed when you shoot. Only light your subject.

The three camera settings you need to adjust for light painting are your exposure time, ISO, and aperture. Each of these will vary depending on your setting, but you’ll have a slow shutter speed, a generally high ISO, and a wide aperture.

Some things you will want to keep in mind when shooting:

  • Don’t stand between the camera and your light source
  • Wear dark, non-reflective clothing
  • Keep moving!
  • To add more light to an area, move slower. For less light, move faster.
  • Paint in up-and-down motions
  • Be patient, because it’s unlikely that you will get the shot you want on the first try.


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As stated above, you can use just about any light source or point of light to paint with. However, if you’re looking to get really creative, GloFX has some products to completely customize your shots.

Space Whip Pro

Our GloFX Space Whip Pro is equipped with 130 soft fibers and our super bright and powerful LEDs. The Space Whip Pro allows you to choose between 34 brilliant colors and you can also program up to 3 colors with 9 different display modes. It’s perfect for creating freeform trail shots and galaxies of colors around your subject.


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LED gloves are another great light painting tool that gives you ultimate control over your painting and allows you to create more complex trails and shapes. GloFX Gel Gloves allow you to choose between 34 vibrant colors, and non-slip gel casings for each light so they stay in place. You can program each finger to a separate color, giving you endless color combinations to paint with. With gloves, you have total control over each individual light, allowing you to paint tricks such as finger rolls and king tuts or even spell out words.


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GloFX’s latest innovation, Programmable LED Poi Balls, is another great tool for creating trail shots or light painting. Our Programmable LED Poi has 35 color options 9 flashing and ribbon modes, so you can create unique, circular light trails around your subject.

Programmable String Poi Trail Shots


Tell us your favorite light painting settings & share your artwork in the comments below.

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