We’ve used traditional lighting techniques in previous portrait challenges. This time around I thought we could make things funky by using LIGHT PAINTING to enhance our portraiture.

Black Hole//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The above image is the simple and clean approach. One source of light for the subject and the light painting effect.

Self Portrait 5//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Things can get crazier even with only one light source such as a laser. You’ll need a long exposure to work something this complex, but with very little practice this remains a very easy goal to attain. EXERCISE GREAT CARE WHEN USING LASERS ON SUBJECTS – AVOID POINTING LASERS DIRECTLY AT EYES – LASERS CAN PERMANENTLY DAMAGE EYES.

This quick beginner’s tutorial (VIDEO) should give you the basic tools to get started with this Challenge.

LightPainting Studio at BeatFilms//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

You can work with a mix of standard lighting and compliment your subject with light painting or go entirely using light painting as your light source. Although this is portrait challenge, don’t be afraid to experiment with close-up portraits or whole body images.

I wanna be...//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

You can also recreate an entirely new persona of your subject using multiple light sources of various colors.

A quick image search on Google will give you hundreds of examples to inspire your creativity : SEARCH GOOGLE


  1. USE EXTREME CAUTION and communicate well with your model to prevent eye injuries from light sources.
  2. You will need a tripod to keep your camera stable as these images are all going to be long exposures.
  3. A wireless remote trigger is always handy.
  4. You may even want to use an ND or Variable ND filter to make your exposures even longer. (Depends on your surroundings).
  5. Choose a dark location with the least amount of distractions. (Indoor or Outdoor).
  6. Experiment with different lights and colors. Don’t be afraid to add shapes and colored filters on your light sources.
  7. keep moving as you work the light painting to prevent appearing in the image.


This should be a great deal of fun and can even be a great family activity.


The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.



About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.