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  • Writer's pictureKevin Vandivier

Lightpainting Fine Art Photography

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

When you think of photography, you immediately think of light. After all, it’s the essential ingredient needed to take a photograph!

But lightpainting adds a different type of lighting element to a photograph. The term lightpainting comes from photograph, which, in Latin breaks down to foto, or “light” and graph, or “draw.” In some languages, graph translates as “paint.” Thus, the term lightpainting.

Lightpainting can be one of the most fun and rewarding types of photography - and done well, can make for some breathtaking lightpainting fine art photography.

The image above, entitled Moonlight Lovers, is a beautiful example of lightpainting fine art photography by Kevin Vandivier.

To create the shot, Kevin used inexpensive flashlights from the hardware store to illuminate the scene while the camera’s shutter was held open. As you can see, the results are quite breathtaking!

In John Moulton Barn Lightpainted, you can see how effective this technique is for bringing out the small details of an otherwise dark landscape.

And it’s those small details - the texture of the barn’s roof, the structure of its walls, and the shape of the trees - that give this image that extra level of “oomph” that makes it a beautiful representation of lightpainting fine art.

When tackling lightpainting on your own, experimentation will be key to getting the results you want (after all, Kevin has been lightpainting since 1977, and in time, he’s become one of the best in the business). Just be sure that you’re using your lights to reveal details that enhance the shot, pique interest, and give you a better opportunity to tell a story. Don’t be afraid to leave some details left in the dark, either - a little mystery and intrigue can go a long way!

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