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The Source
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By JeanFan   |   Watch
Published: October 24, 2010
| 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 JFotography.net
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.
Image size
550x700px 215.71 KB
Shutter Speed
100/10 second
Focal Length
50 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Oct 23, 2010, 9:50:20 PM
GIMP 2.6.5
anonymous's avatar
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apollocreed23's avatar
apollocreed23Hobbyist Digital Artist
Beautiful hands!
AegisAvantGarde's avatar
AegisAvantGardeProfessional Photographer
MinorFiction's avatar
MinorFictionHobbyist Traditional Artist
There is a story here, a modern fairy tale...
zomickschallahrecipe's avatar
zomickschallahrecipeHobbyist Photographer
Thanks for the explanation. It really gives me some new ideas :)

Great shot btw!
OutdoorNudePhoto's avatar
OutdoorNudePhotoHobbyist Photographer
great idea! thanks for sharing
cloduy's avatar
cloduyHobbyist Photographer
Your wonderful work has been featured here: [link] :heart:
Have a nice day. :D
8BitStitchPunk's avatar
8BitStitchPunkHobbyist Writer
Holy mother of Lord Cocoa Puffs.
That's soooo cool!!! :excited:
KissMeAtApocalypse's avatar
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's avatar
helios-spadaHobbyist Photographer
You are a wizard.
Karinta's avatar
KarintaStudent General Artist
WOW! That's stellar.
Win-E's avatar
oh my god, that's really clever!
prettyflour's avatar
prettyflourHobbyist General Artist
This has been featured in my journal!

magnus-imagen's avatar
fabuloso ,.... very cool!
dynamiteboy8's avatar
dynamiteboy8Hobbyist 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's avatar
AMAZING :wow:!!!
samanidesigner's avatar
samanidesignerProfessional Interface Designer
gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood :*
crh's avatar
crhHobbyist General Artist
:omg: amazing shot, I'm totally in awe
tipoe's avatar
tipoeStudent 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's avatar
KrazzulimaiiHobbyist Digital Artist
Holy cow, fantastic
hetaliallover101's avatar
hetaliallover101Hobbyist Writer
netjunkie's avatar
Great execution, wonderful DOF. And just superb of you to include a HOW TO GUIDE.
Very well done!
yatesmon's avatar
Great idea & execution :clap:
anonymous's avatar
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