How to Draw With Light as a Light Painting Photographer

Paradoxically, photographer Brian Hart claims that the images he produces aren’t really photographs. Instead, he thinks of his light source as a pen, while his camera serves as a piece of paper.

In truth, Hart paints with the light in a way that differs from other professionals in his field. By utilizing a technique that employs a dark setting and slow shutter speed illuminated by small, handheld lights, he successfully combines illustration and photography in a unique, immersive experience:

A lifelong artist, he began drawing at a young age and has been practicing ever since. All of Hart’s compositions are created through standard photographic processes rather than through manipulation in a program like Photoshop. Just as Hart’s technique is out of the ordinary, so too are the materials he uses. He often captures models and the environment using objects such as LED night fishing bobbers.

group portrait light sketch
Although his movements in front of the camera may look fluid and improvisational, Hart actually spends a great deal of time carefully planning the actions and layout of each image. The only things recorded on the sensor are intentions; his images lack happy accidents or unaccounted for elements.

Some pieces are whimsical and minimalistic—other shots require plenty of foresight and division into small, manageable pieces. Using multiple frames to create an expansive image filled with detail, Hart memorizes small components and recreates pencil or marker strokes with the flick of a wrist or an outstretched arm.

planning out an image
hand light sketch

Since his first experiments fresh out of college, Hart’s been anxious to continue exploring the capabilities of the medium. A firm believer of endless possibilities, he says the aim of his body of work is to challenge others to push the boundaries of what their cameras—and minds—can do.

“Light is a really unique thing to work with. It’s this non physical thing. You can’t see where you’ve drawn. It’s not tangible. You just project it out there, and hopefully you end up with something good.”

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2 responses to “How to Draw With Light as a Light Painting Photographer”

  1. Wendy says:

    Actually, you could argue that his works are photographs in the purest sense: “photo” (light) “graph” (writing/drawing)

  2. Lincon says:

    Wow excellent design you have made man, this post is another way of creativity where included lots of learning material. And video tutorial is very nice which made this post easy to understand. Very detailed and clear way to described here. We know professionals use Photoshop for its unique feature, so by this way lots of people dont know how to use Photoshop, this post can be very ideal for the beginners. Very organized work, great job.

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