How to Light Paint With Your Smartphone

Light painting is an interesting way to shoot creative photos of ordinary objects. The best thing is you don’t need a lot of fancy stuff to do light painting. In fact, you probably already have everything you need. In this video, Laya Gerlock shows us how to take a beautiful light painted image of a watch using just a camera and a smartphone:

Materials Needed

  • Smartphone or tablet
  • Camera and lens
  • Tripod
  • Shutter release cable (optional)


The setup is simple. Just arrange the props and lay the watch flat, facing the camera.

You will need to turn off all ambient light in the room to ensure the right exposure and also to stop light from polluting the scene.

Camera Settings

lightpainting camera settings

Camera Settings

This will change depending on the size of the subject. In this case, however, Gerlock uses the following settings:

  • Shutter speed: 20-30 seconds
  • Aperture: f/3.5 – f/5.6
  • ISO: 200

Light Painting Technique

Start the exposure and then play around with your smartphone or tablet, illuminating the object.

When highlighting the glass, make sure that you illuminate it with an angle that is opposite to the camera.

light painting ambient light

The actual light painting process requires all ambient light to be switched off

Here are a couple of shots from the shoot. They look surprisingly professional considering the minimal gear!

light painting using a smartphone

Light Painting with a Smartphone

Have you tried this technique? We’d love to hear your thoughts and see your results!

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