Shoot: Objects on a Tabletop


Light Painting


Lesson Info

Shoot: Objects on a Tabletop

Then I have to turn off a couple lights that we got going here to make sure it's nice and dark and the first challenge you have when you start to light paint is that in the dark, your camera won't be able to focus. And so if you press the shutter, it might not take a picture at all, and so to get around that, usually I can just turn on my flashlight and light a portion of my scene and then use my auto focus to focus on it. Make sure my lenses on auto focus this isn't my normal cameras, so I'm not used to it. You can either auto focus or manual focus, whichever you prefer when you're lighting it, then the moment you've gotten it in focus, switch it over to manual focus because that's, the first thing you can run into a problem with is you're pressing the shutter and it's not taking a picture with that. The other thing is, if you don't have a cable release, then it's not ideal to just hit the shutter and start your exposure. If there's, anything in there has any light, that is because th...

e camera might bump a little bit, so what I can do is turn on the self timer in some cameras, have a self timer. That will be able to do ah to second self timer and if I end up having it set that way I'll press the shutter in two seconds later open although a lot of the times if I have a larger subject I'll actually set the self timer to ten seconds because what that allows me to do is walk over by the subject matter get my flashlight pointed where I'm about to wanna light and just get time to prep I don't feel like I you know my time walking over is being wasted by that so I'm actually innocent mind in ten seconds I'm going to do a test exposure here to see how dark it is the sun may have moved a little bit I'm not sure so I just hit the shutters doing a ten second self timer and then we're going to see how bright it would be with no lighting on my part when I set up the table here I tried to keep the table away from the wall that's behind it because if it was close to the wall it will be difficult not to get light spilling on the wall further I get away from the wall the less the light over there will matter if I look at my end result here it's not perfectly black but it's really hard to see what's there and what's in the images not like it's going to ruin my photo or anything but ideally I'd like a little bit darker, but this is at twenty seconds at f sixteen my concern is if I go to f twenty two it's going to cut the light from my flashlight so much meaning that is going to close down the ap assuring the camera, letting less light coming in the lens and therefore less of my cameras or my flashlights light we can try it though uh, it's just twenty two should make it so hopefully we get a black frame, so when I'm lighting the scene, I'm going to try not to get any light bouncing on the background so that none of that really gets lit up and when I'm also lighting the scene, I'm going to be very careful when I'm in there. Where if I'm looking at the scene, I'm twenty my flashlight on if my flashlight is ever within the camera's field of vision s so it's literally in the frame, we got a black friend there if it's literally in the camera's field of vision, which is ok to have it do I need to make sure that I'm pointing it away from the camera point the same direction that camera's point in if I ever let it turn around halfway where even mohr it's going to catch the edge of the flashlight and it'll show up in the photo as a white streak and so I need to be very careful how far I move it and I've put a snit around this so that the front of the flash laters recessed a little bit and I'll show you how to do that but even with that some of the light will hit the snow and could show up so anyway I'm gonna try my first light painting here and see what we get because I got a black frame here and now the main thing I want to see is how bright is the light from the flashlight going toby just testing my flashlight to see if it has a focus ability that I've chosen that and I prefer flashlights where the button is on the back where I can have my thumb over that button and one that has a temporary on off where it's not a click on click off instead aiken lightly press it and turn the flashlight on and off very quickly I can press it hard and then I will stay on in that way I can come in here and let's do an exposure so I got ten nine eight seven six five four three two should open up a little bit on the wall behind any area that I want you to look atmore gonna light a little more so I get a little extra light on the keyboard in on the dial see if that was strong enough yeah it doesn't look bad I would like to have had an extra ten seconds to be ableto light because I would have lit the table that's there but I did only have a twenty second exposure to keep the background really dark and that's what I end up with, I think it looks pretty nice overall, I just wish the table had a little bit more light on it. So what I'm gonna do in this case is going to see what happens if we go up a little longer. We'll do thirty second exposure and see what happens. We have a little more time. Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one should open like it did the background there by accident. Right there. I want you look a little more so I will paint there a little longer. We're gonna paint the table then sometimes I use my hand to distort the shape of the flashlight to not get over spray on other items. Just think about what little spots. So I want you to look at a little longer and pop a little bit of extra light in them. I can see in the background where I accidentally hit the background with some light that something is going to be very easy to change in photo shop and also, if you look in the left side, do you see all those streaks above the the typewriter that's where my flashlight was in the frame and it looks like I was lighting my hand says trying to use my hand to block the light and that wasn't a good idea so that's very common if you have the flashlight within the frame itself I can try to like the thing completely being outside of the frame the only problem with it keeping you outside of the frame is it's hard to really direct the light into a very specific area and so you're getting more broad beam of light covering much greater area so anyone going to try it again I'm not going to use my hand next the flash likes it looks like that was a mistake and overall okay I can see on the big screen could see a lot better don't mind a tabletop I just wish the background would be a little darker now one thing that I commonly dio is I have some black velvet and black velvet is just a fabric that I can roll out and if we can find it soon we can always use gaffer's tape to tape it to the wall behind us. So in a lot of my shots you'll see that the subject matter that I'm shooting is completely isolated on the black and that's hard to do with just a flashlight in a normal room because whatever background is there you're going to get some spill of light on it but if we could get some black velvet on there looks like john found some why don't we quickly get it up there? I will let me see what part of the frame we need we should be there you could move to your right keep going just center yourself on the table we'll use whatever with we have centered on the table so yeah we're just going to quickly drape up some black velvet and if you keep a roll of black velvet around then you can always throw a subject specially like a human subject on it or you can throw it on the wall behind whatever you need teo, prevent your life from falling on sure light can fall in the black velvet but it's just so much darker than any other the material that you usually find that and then get a bunch of the middle so it's alright that I think that's goingto probably kill our wall light now that doesn't completely cover our frame john right now can you back up just a tiny bit? Okay, yeah it's not quite wide enough for our entire background, but we'll see how it works because we always retouch out the edges so so in a moment we'll do another one now if I don't move the subject that's in here and I don't move the camera, keep them both consistent exact same location and I'm very careful not to bump the camera this is where it would be ideal to have a cable release where you know you're not bumping the camera I can composite more than one shot from this so if there's one shot where the table looks better in another shot where the typewriter looks better I can choose to use the area from one shot for the typewriter and that the shop further the table from another and so that's one thing that I commonly will do so anyway let's try another one here press the shutter ten nine eight seven six five four three two one then I want you look at the keyboard a little more so pop a little extra in there get the radio don't you read the dial a little more soap up a little extra in there little camera I wish that this is where I wish I could have a smaller light source but because I need to use the big gun flashlight I can't just a little a table itself let's see what we have okay we're waiting for it to transfer over see in a moment okay so that looks interesting you see our backdrop you see other black velvet really cut down the background is just that it's not a big enough piece but we can retouch the left and right sides out if we want to in the future or in this case since the velvet is its size we could slide the table closer to it because then if we slowed both the table on the camera closer it would film or the frame with this the main thing that I don't like at the moment is the table top for one eye's a little too modelled right around the objects and so I'd either like to have some random kind of streaks of light on that table or something where it doesn't feel like the objects just have a little a light around them and I think the top of the typewriter there's a little on the bright side at least that's what's coming to mind for me s o I'm going to try another one and I'm just going to try to be mohr interesting with what I do on the table and I'm going to try not to get so much light on the top of that typewriter yeah question so curious yes but can you just do really smooth movements or do you need thio wiggle that changes smooth movements I mean the main thing is the more you wiggle the more random it's going to look the more you do smooth you got to be careful not to overlap your paint strokes too much because you get to be too bright on dh if you do smooth you can sometimes it looks like a zigzag kind of thing where it becomes more obvious I'll see if I have an example if you ever see one of a woman lane on a sofa and you can see the self it just looks like a bunch of zigzags that's where I was being mohr not as random kind of thing but everybody has their own style and just tried out you know it's interesting so I'm going to try to get the table to look a little more random and I'm going to try to not be quite as bright on a few of the other areas so let's try another one ten nine eight seven six five four three two one so this is where that temporary on button is really nice because then I can just pop the light in the gauge little bit not gonna get the table a little bit just kind of random little streaks see what we end up there and when I do this I can walk to the other side of the table and everything it's just in thirty seconds he sometimes get you can have it end in the middle of when you're trying to light things let's see what we get here so no where near is bright like the look of the radio in general soft light typewriter could use a little bit more on the lower part of the upper parts still getting a little bit much but you'll see on the table how it's a little more random a little less generic on the light and the camera looks kind of interesting, but keep in mind that this is not the flashlight I would usually use. Uh, let me grab the flashlight I would usually is grab a couple of the flashlight I'm using right now is the one I would commonly use outdoors. This is my favorite flashlight it's made by a company called led len's er and it is known as an m seven are it's a relatively powerful flashlight and it's great for outdoors when it comes to a little table top stuff, it would not usually be my choice because with this, if I come in really close, which is what I'd like to do like this it's over power things and it's a matter of I just can't get a really nice little focused beam I would usually use a little bitty flashlight one where I can come in and go exactly where I want to go but I don't think it's gonna be bright enough let's try it there's also another flashlight have here that is less powerful but I would sometimes use one thing I don't like about it is it's not as easy to get the beam to be focused, but let me try it with a smaller flashlight to see if we get anything it just might not be bright enough, okay ten, nine eight seven, six, five, four, three two one and by doing this, I could get into very small areas lighting exactly what I'd like. Not sure if this one is will be snow did enough meaning that you might be able to see the edge of this. We'll see. Yeah, you look at how dark the end result is. The problem here is it looks like it's more like daylight, meaning that it's not seen as much of my life paying effect is just this light isn't very bright in our room that we're in is rather bright and that so that's, why I'm being not being really allowed to use it. So I'm going to try something different. John, would you grab me the role? A cinephile? I'm going to use a product that they use a lot in movies and in theaters to control lighting. And what is its called cinna foil? Sent a foil is matte black tinfoil it's in here, some like tinfoil and it's matte black. What that allows me to do is I can wrap it around my flashlight. I might need a bigger piece, john, just pull off a bigger one. This one worked for first first tribe, but okay, so what I've done is I've made a little snow, but a, uh you know, a little tunnel put around my flashlight and what I'll be able to dio you set it down, I'll get to it because I can then to form this into different shapes, and so I'm not stuck with around beam coming out of my flashlight. So I'm gonna make this a smaller shape. Little more random and small, let's, see if you can see the difference. So first I'll show you with without this nut here's my light. And then I'll put the snowed on and now leave that on. You can see that I can to form the shape, possibly get it in a smaller area just by kind of forming that these edge together. Just wanna make sure I still got an opening in the middle. That's clear. So by doing that, sometimes I can take a larger light source and get it into a smaller area. It just tastes a little bit of adjustment of this let's. See what I could do with that. So let's do another shot. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one then I think I might have had the edge of the flashlight coming out there. I could use a flashlight as a whole. To pop like generically different places see what I end up with you see how it's a little bit more modelled like click on the radio you see the shape of the light has got a little bit more about kind of ah almost a sharp corner on some areas on so often times I'll have cinephile around what really isn't fun ascent a foil you by like you buy tinfoil on a big long role but you only need an area that's about one foot by one foot so those of you that are here in the audience I'll pull ofsome so you don't have to buy a roll instead you can just have the part I mean heck if I gave you a two foot three foot long part of that last year most your lifetime when it comes to light painting but they want you to buy the whole role which is how long does it say looking sixty centimetres by seven point six two twenty four inches by twenty five feet twenty five feet long you need about two feet if that so anyway that's one of our uh setups fifty, square feet in there so first off do we have any questions while I'm in here trying to like this? Can you guys what's your what's? The first thing is popping in your head? Come on, you've seen I mean, is it like what's going on? Is it like, why aren't you doing a certain way? What? What is it that, uh, that you're thinking of when you see the process and see the result just thinking of what I'm going to try home? I'm kind of curious if there's a way that light the keys from underneath like the keys were underneath that's, where's, fars lighting the keys from underneath is I used the little flashlight that has a flexible stock on it, and I'll show you this more when the lights turn on where it's easier to see it, but with this I can bend it in various directions, and I use this a lot for lighting like car grilles where aiken slipped this underneath and so I could go over here and slip it under the keyboard and come up like this in light from underneath, you see that whereas with a normal big flashlight, trying to light it from underneath is not as easy to dio so, yeah, that would be an interesting ideas come in like that and light it from underneath might not be able to get it pointed up completely mainly sidelight, but I can come in like that could also come in the side here in light, some of the internal parts moving through various areas if it's something, that would help on here. It's, pretty tight in that area. But when you're doing something like a car, there's, often much greater areas, and you can get in there more precisely.

Class Description

You can create amazing images with light painting, and Ben Willmore is going to show you how! Making light trails, highlighting parts of your image, crazy spiral effects--all the fun secrets of light painting will be yours in this special 1-day workshop! Ben will show you how to use everyday light sources to make striking images, as this is a technique that doesn't require a lot of equipment. If you have a tripod and a flashlight, you can light paint, and Ben is going to show you how!



Really cool class so far. Just wanted something to get some inspiration and this is fun class but it's gonna force you to exercise. I don't work for creative live but I don't have to say that the quality of the few classes I've just started in photography is very good. I once was a professional photographer and I've taken lots of live classes and I feel the value of these is good. I am looking forward to watching the Clay Blackmore class.


This course was a lot of fun and the instructor was an excellent teacher. I was able to go out and start light painting right away. Highly recommend this class if you are interested in this type of photography.