Two Ways to Lightpaint — How Documenting one method led me to a new technique

If you experiment with car photography, you’ve probably tried light painting, which is a technique of using long exposure and a light source to light a car in a dark environment. 

I made a video where I explained the variation technique I had used — using a rope light to create a 3D illuminated background that surrounds the car, as well as lighting it. 


So I had recorded myself walking with the light to show the process, and to help visualize it, I used this effect in Premiere called Echo. It repeats the video over itself, and I had it doing that like 25 times.  I thought it would be a great visualization of the process of moving this light — kind of a bridge between the realtime video and the final photo result.


But that imagery, of all of these crisp strips of light surrounding the car — is so cool. 

But that only exists in video, and if I take a screen grab of it, it’s low res. The only photo I have is the long exposure photo I did the tutorial on — which came out as I intended, but suddenly seemed way less interesting. 

So I went back to re-create this that as a hi-res photo, and for that I have to thank my friends at Modern Aircooled which is a Porsche shop in Houston, TX for letting me use the space and some cars. 

To do this, instead of a long exposure, 20 second photo, I decided I needed to take like 30 photos and then stack them in Photoshop. 

 You can see the full tutorial in the video:

I came pretty close and I enjoy the result! I will definitely experiment with this more, but it’s a really cool look. 

Even if you don’t try this, it just shows how important it is to try new things, because in in that process you have other ideas. If you try this, you might stumble upon a different thing, or build on this and do it better. Attempting this or the other long exposure light painting could be the spark that led you to something new. 

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