Awesome example of light painting and portrait

This is such a great portrait that I came across on Flickr awhile back. I think its a great example of a really unique portrait that combines a lot of perfect lighting skills. This was taken with a camera mounted on the cars hood as the car was moving with a long shutter speed. Its a really cool mix of light painting (having a long shutter speed and letting light create interesting shapes and compositions) and a portrait lit with strobes.

Lighting Info: diffused SB-600 in car dead centre between camera and models; bare SB-800 dead centre behind models for rim.
Moving car, 30sec, straight out of camera

This really inspired me to look more info Light painting and I have found some awesome artists online that are creating some really cool work in this field. I’ll share some of them and the work they are doing over the next few weeks, along with an interview with a filmmaker who is doing an entire documentary on Light painting.

What do you think of this shot? Would love to hear your comments. Also if you do any light painting photography please share your link in the comments I would love to see your work!


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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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  1. Great shot, but the 30sec exposure just does not hang true for me, nor the statement, “straight out of camera”. It’s all too perfect, too symetrical too straight especially has no one is steering the car and there is no vertical monement in the blur. No road is that flat and no engine that smooth.

    Great shot; great composition, just doubt some of the description.


  2. Hi Rob,

    I agree with you, my first reaction was “no way the car was moving and everything was so perfect (and they are kissing)”. I am trying to contact the artist to get some more info on the shot and will update if I hear back. Regardless it is a pretty awesome shot!

  3. Hi guys. I can attest to the fact that Andrew Whyte, “AndWhyNot”, indeed does shoot these types of shots “SOOC” or straight out of the camera….

    Think of photography creatively. Imagining that the road is not “flat” begs the question of whether or not they are actually moving.

  4. or how fast it’s moving….

  5. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the car may not have been moving the entire 30 seconds…and slowly…and the lights are manipulated for light painting….

  6. Thanks for your input Matt!

  7. Just found this in my flickr stats for referrers.

    Had a few doubters questioning the straight out of camera claim. This was the last shot I produced on the night I was being filmed for Luminary documentary about light painting. I’m sure when the documentary’s released it’ll clear things up but until then you’ll have to take my word for it. Matt’s right though when he suggests thinking creatively about how to achieve the result. Just cos I don’t PP it doesn’t mean the image isn’t manipulated – aside from the strobe moment (front curtain) it was dark enough inside the car for a 30sec exposure at f/8 or f/9 (I forget right now). The car *was* moving; the light trail element was completed in about 10 seconds but the 30 sec exposure was required to bring some colour to the sky. Notice the curve in the clouds – it’s from where the car started veering to the right after a while

  8. Thanks for the comment Andrew. Looking forward to the Luminary documentary I talked to the filmmaker and sounds like a very cool project!

  9. Folks,

    Some of you are not stopping to think that there’s a flash involved that’s freezing a lot of the action and leaving the rest of the exposure time for the “light painting” aspects of the photo. Think about it.

    Long exposures also tend to negate a lot of incidental motion artifact.

    I have little doubt that this SOOC.

    Just my humble opinion.

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