Taking Photos in the Dark with Indoor Light Painting

Light painting is probably one of the coolest, easiest, and hardest ways to explore how photography works with light. This is especially true when experimenting with indoor light painting.

Learning the Light Painting Basics

Indoor Light Painting

The basics of indoor light painting are fairly simple. Firstly, find something cool you want to take picture of. Secondly, place that cool thing in a dark place, possibly a bathroom or another room with no light. Thirdly, use a flashlight (or another direct form of light) to “paint” the parts of the picture you would want to see. Boom! You’re light painting! Although at the end of the day it is much more simple than that, it is also much more complicated.

Indoor Light Painting
What makes light painting more complicated is learning the ins and outs of manipulating light. How long do I need to have my shutter open? How long do I have my flashlight on? How do I work with both of these to create a balanced and well-exposed light painting? This is what makes indoor light painting so hard! It is truly a challenge and process. Pure trial, error, and learning!

Light Painting Ideas to Try! Fun with Lighting!

Indoor Light Painting

Once you get the hang of the basics with light painting, you can experiment with lots of different things! I the photo above, this used a penlight flashlight. Although we used light to paint the different columns of the elf house and illuminate the photo. We then used the more direct penlight to illuminate the windows to make it looks like the lights are on inside.

Indoor Light Painting
Another thing to experiment with when doing indoor light painting would be light trails. Light trails are the streaks of light that appear when the light source (typically the flashlight) shines light directly into the camera as opposed to shining light onto the subject. Although these light trails are extremely aggravating when it comes to indoor light painting, but purposely incorporating them into your photography can create unique and different light paintings.

Now that you know how to do indoor light painting, find something cool and hop to it!

If you want to learn more, you can check out WEX Photo and Videos article about indoor light painting!

If you want to take your light painting skills to the outdoors, you can check out my article on Outdoor Long Exposure Photography!