How to Paint with Light

Ever wonder how photographs like the above are even possible?  I mean, what dark magic are these people using that allows them to create these brilliant light displays and what poor photographer actually sticks around to try and capture this forbidden alchemy before getting obliterated by the fireballs these wizards are throwing around?

Actually, there's no wizardry here, just pure technological!  Sorry, thought that would work better but no matter, let's take a look at how you can re-create this at home.


  • Camera
  • Light source (Flashlight, Boing, Astrojax Saturn)
  • Tripod
  • A friend to photograph or play while you photograph (or an exceedingly talented dog that will run around with a Boing in his mouth)
  • Imagination!



  • Setting your aperture to a higher f-stop will give you a greater depth of field. This will allow more of the light to remain focused.
  • Having a flashlight handy to shine on your subject will help you focus your camera in the dark.
  • Compare different shutter speeds for best results. The longer the shutter is open the more light will be captured
  • Use a tripod to get clear and crisp photos. Although you can get some pretty crazy results if you twist the camera while holding open the shutter.


Painting/drawing with light as pictured above is actually accomplished by using a long/extended exposure on your camera. Having the shutter open longer allows the light trail to be captured on the image sensor. To achieve best results you should shoot with a SLR or DSLR. If you have a point and shoot digital camera you can set your camera to night mode to get comparable results. 

While this is the technical instruction for how to accomplish the light painting, we can't provide you artistic direction.  That's on you, so really push the limits of what's possible and experiment!  Try photographing multiple subjects. Shoot a set of Astrojax Saturn and a Boing at the same time! Play with depth. Start off close to the camera at beginning of the shot and further away at the end of the shot.  See what kind of ambient effects you get shooting in the woods!  There are tons of ways to spice up your light painting so go crazy!  Using Boing (Large), the first photo above (1) was achieved by having four people stand perfectly still, while four people "traced" their silhouettes or outlines from behind!  Click on the third photo (3) to view sea creatures! A white LED Astrojax was used for the second photo (2), and a Boing Swing for the fourth photo (4). You are only limited by your imagination...

And when you're done shooting some awesome light painting?  Don't forget to head over to our Facebook page to show off what dazzling displays you've captured!  Because occasionally we'll hold contests for photo submissions there as well where you can win free USAstrojax stuff!  Sweet!