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The Source by JeanFan The Source by JeanFan
| JFotography | Facebook | Tutorials | Stocks | Actions/Scripts |

The source of the light comes from within.

Tutorials and Resources
- Light painting with portraiture: [link]
- Bounce lighting: [link]

Materials and Methods
Nikon D80 + 50mm F1.8 Nikkor + IR remote. SB-600 for bounce lighting. Manual Mode: 10 second shutter at F1.8. The blue light is NOT PHOTOSHOPPED. The model posed and the IR remote triggered the flash. Assistant Curry Chern then waved a blue light in the model's hands as the model held relatively still for 10 seconds. The path of the blue light was captured due to the long exposure (light painting). The model appears perfectly still in part due to the initial flash (slow sync flash). GIMP for color editing. See my Facebook for the original shot and the post edit: [link]

A step-by-step protocol:
  • Turn off all lights such that the room/studio is for the most part completely dark.
  • Pose the model in the desired position (including hands).
  • Set your camera to Manual Mode at some slow-ish shutter speed (I like to fix my aperture too to control the DOF).
  • Sync the external flash to trigger in the beginning of the exposure to capture the model prior to the introduction of the blue light.
  • Now trigger the shutter/take the photo (I usually like to use IR remotes to do this). This is when the flash should also go off.
  • Introduce the blue light after the light from the flash dissipates and wave it around in the model's hands for the rest of the long exposure (try not to bump the model's hands too much though it's hard not to).
  • Note I: The cords of the blue light and the hand waving the blue light do not end up in the photo due to the lack of light hitting them. If light does not hit an object, it cannot register on the camera sensor (or your eyes I guess).
  • Note II: The model appears more-or-less perfectly still because of the initial flash. The model still held relatively still for the remaining exposure since the blue light was still hitting her hands and registering on the camera sensor as seen by the blue reflection in her hands.
  • Note III: The blue light appears spherical or ball-like because the blue light was waved around in that configuration for the length of the long exposure. This is probably the part of the shoot that took the most time to get right.

  • If you're still confused about how this technique works, try thinking about how a camera sensor or even your eye reacts to light or a lack of light. I'm not an expert on camera sensors, photons, or that stuff so a search engine will probably be more helpful than I can be.

Additional Comments
A shot I've been meaning to do for the longest time. I originally wanted a green light due to Gatsby but blue was all we had. It's been too busy around here lately; so sorry for not being very active on dA :faint:

This photo is protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Licenses for commercial and derivative use of this photo are available for purchase. Please contact me if interested. Under the Creative Commons license, this photo may be displayed on other websites as long as:
1. Credit is given in writing stating "Photo by Jean Fan (JFotography)"
2. A link is provided back to the original photo or
3. All other conditions under the Creative Commons license are met
Any use of this photo other than as authorized under this Creative Commons license or copyright law is prohibited.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2010-11-02
The Source by =roseonthegrey
The suggester writes: "This is a beautiful example of light painting being mixed with portrait photography, they work very well together producing a very interesting piece." ( Suggested by clarearies13 and Featured by Shalora )
apollocreed23 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Beautiful hands!
AegisAvantGarde Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Professional Photographer
MinorFiction Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
There is a story here, a modern fairy tale...
zomickschallahrecipe Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the explanation. It really gives me some new ideas :)

Great shot btw!
OutdoorNudePhoto Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
great idea! thanks for sharing
cloduy Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Your wonderful work has been featured here: [link] :heart:
Have a nice day. :D
8BitStitchPunk Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Holy mother of Lord Cocoa Puffs.
That's soooo cool!!! :excited:
KissMeAtApocalypse Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012
This is really awesome, and I really love that you gave us a step by step process on how to do it. I've been wanting to do some more light experimenting, and your concept is beautiful, very inspiring! Nice job.
helios-spada Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You are a wizard.
Karinta Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Student General Artist
WOW! That's stellar.
Win-E Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012
oh my god, that's really clever!
prettyflour Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This has been featured in my journal!

esee Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
BENEFIELDAVON Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
magnus-imagen Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
fabuloso ,.... very cool!
dynamiteboy8 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great job!! Thats a great shot! Ive been trying and posting light painting myself recently and well...lets just say I hope I get to be this good :D
XxQuinn701zy Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012
AMAZING :wow:!!!
samanidesigner Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood :*
crh Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:omg: amazing shot, I'm totally in awe
tipoe Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012  Student Photographer
I really like your photo, that's why I wanted to feature it in my journal [link] .
I hope you don't mind :)

Have a nice day :w00t:
Krazzulimaii Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy cow, fantastic
hetaliallover101 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
netjunkie Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2011
Great execution, wonderful DOF. And just superb of you to include a HOW TO GUIDE.
Very well done!
yatesmon Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011
Great idea & execution :clap:
SabrusSooz Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011
Great shot!
merearthling Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2011
what a super photo imagination:D!!!
Ars-et-Ingenium Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
Thanks a lot for the step by step protocol
TheRealBoone Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011
This is just G R E A T !!
A truly '' magical '' work !!
Thumbs up !!
drkelement Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2011   Digital Artist
This photo is fascinating and highly creative.
chibimomoko Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
Love it!
xenthosbobo Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
that is so amazing
TRowe007 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2011
Awsome effect!!! P.S. Thanks for the photo info.
mytthor Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
wow, ideas growing in my head... thank you!
Pathlight84 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011
Amazing effect. You have such immense talent in photography. Really adore ur photos.
Taka67 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011
That's very cool!
kelly105 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2011  Student Photographer
ow wow i love your photography great job :)
creekstone Featured By Owner May 8, 2011
Lovely light painting ;-)
and nice to have some explanation, too.
cerberus112261 Featured By Owner May 1, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Completely beautiful! I love the energy... It's mesmerizing.
EphemeraLuna Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2011
IluvAxel1 Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011
skellington10 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2011
somehow when i see this photo, it feels like you have super power! like X-Men! hihihihi which is very cool for me!
i love the softness and electrical effects from this photo, good job!
09nahpets Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011
best light painting I've ever seen
also great work from the model to hold completely still for ten seconds
shiningdan Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
great one!
Wolfiesden Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011
This is as about as cool as light painting gets :) Good job!

The fact you tell how you did it makes it even more valuable! Thank you.
JeanFan Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
lolitsjae Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
beautiful! :)
TheSUNGlassKid Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Wait, she stood still for ten seconds? I don't see any blur lines on her hands, she must have been really still.
AngeliqueRaindrops Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011
You've just been featured in my latest article, Let's Imagine. Come take a look when you have some time! It's an interview complete with many gorgeous deviations; sharing a smile with the community, because sometimes, a little smile is all you need. :nod: Remember to fave the article as well, so that you can spread the love. :+favlove: Please and thank you!!! :) Hope you're having a good week!

Dream-Sailing Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
This is a very nice idea (:
I love the color and how the tone makes the overall photograph look deep and meaningful.
Chaotic-n-Imperfect Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2010
i just got goosebumps lol
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  • Photo


Submitted on
October 23, 2010
Image Size
216 KB


79,842 (5 today)
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Camera Data

Shutter Speed
100/10 second
Focal Length
50 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Oct 23, 2010, 9:50:20 PM
GIMP 2.6.5


Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.