I scoured flickr for days looking at light painting photos.

Then I realized, hey. I’ll bet I could do that.

And guess what? It’s easy. (As long as you have the right stuff.) See?

Can’t see the video? Click here.

You’ll need a camera that can do a long exposure (at least 4 or 5 seconds) a friend to hit the shutter for you, a remote or self timer (I used a remote and the self timer) a tripod or steady surface and a light source. I used one of the moosh’s flashy toys for my January 1st picture. I’ve also used a flashlight and an LED keychain.

The app I use is called DSLRemote. There’s a $1.99 version and a pro $19.99 version. Works with Canon or Nikon, iPhone or iPod touch.

8″ exp.

200 ISO.



This is the photo from the tutorial…

light painting smile


Have fun.

light painting star light painting love. hello.


  1. Sweet!!!! I know what I’m going to be spending the rest of the night doing. ~Susan

  2. My daughter did some photos like this. I think it’s really cool!

  3. I just posted about this last month! I have a whole CD full of pics we did, but I put the best two up on this post: http://zanesmilkmachine.blogspot.com/2009/12/artist-in-me-continued.html

    It’s awesome, isn’t it?

    Casey Reply:

    @Michelle Pendergrass, Holy wow! Yours are spectacular! Now I’m going to be copying you.

    Michelle Pendergrass Reply:

    @Casey, Mind you, there were several people involved in our shoot. The local college put on some free workshops and this was one of them. The Digital photography professor led the group and there were maybe 6 of us with our own lights. Each of us set out to draw one part of the picture.

    The professor had the walls lines with that black plastic stuff that goes over insulation (I forget what it’s called but Menard’s whatever hardware store had it.)

    It was such a fun event!

  4. So fun. Good tutorial. you were taking them right on your itouch? I’ve got to get my tripod out.

    Casey Reply:

    @Amie aka MammaLoves, The app acts as a remote shutter release that allows you to see the photo you just took. It also lets me do live view if I wanted to.

  5. What a great idea to show everyone how to do that. I love light painting photos. That light painting cell phone commercial always had me riveted. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Casey Reply:

    @Kellee, I think people think it’s a lot harder than it really is, and this is just the basics!

  6. dslr remote is on my list of apps I need when I get my iPhone in march.

    Casey Reply:

    @Domestic Extraordinaire, As it should be.
    You also need Sally’s Spa and Line Up.

  7. Just another thing to add to my list of awesome things I’ll be able to do when I have a better camera!

    Casey Reply:

    @Rachael, All the more reason to get one sooner *hint hint* heh.

  8. Wow, I had no idea there was a remote app for an iPhone. I’m so lame. I’m going to have to try this out. With my REAL remote and my real camera. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Casey Reply:

    @all things BD, I saw a guy using at Addie’s school and I totally geeked out on him. I’m still convinced it’s run with magic leprechauns.

  9. Ooooh thanks for this! I got a tripod for Christmas for my first DSLR which I bought back in March. This year I managed to get some decent firework photos for the first time, well… ever!

    I’m going to give this a try too because it’s something I’ve been meaning to learn to do! Thanks again!

    Casey Reply:

    @Breigh, It’s soooo easy, let me know how they turn out!

  10. Very cool photos.

    One question for you about the app you used: does it transmit the viewfinder to your iPhone or iPod real-time? (In other words, do you see the image composition on your device before you press the shutter?) Also, how did you get the images to your iPhone immediately?

    Casey Reply:

    @SciFi Dad, It can! You can do live view if your DSLR is capable of doing it (mine is) or you can just compose it while looking through the viewfinder.
    My camera is hooked to my computer when shooting and it’s all connected through wireless, so when the photo imports into Lightroom (or wherever you want it to go) it also goes to your iPod/iPhone for a preview. (It doesn’t save them in it though, just on the computer.)

  11. So great. This may be a silly question, but when you write words, do you have to write them backwards or normal?

    Casey Reply:

    @Bianca, backwards if you’re facing the camera or you can face away from the camera and write them out to the side. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. (I guess you could also write it normal while facing the camera and flip the photo later…)

  12. Very cool! Thanks for sharing your skillz. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Casey Reply:

    @Barb @ getupandplay, no problemo sweet cheeks.

  13. This makes me 99% more tempted to break down and buy the DSLR Santa didn’t bring me *before* I get a job… because once I get a job I have a feeling I will have zero time to do such a fun project.

    Amazon.com is calling my name.

    Casey Reply:

    @ClassyFabSarah, doooo it. my hoosier partner in shopping.

    ClassyFabSarah Reply:

    @Casey, Um, speaking of shopping… I went to basically all the Indy malls today, with deals GALORE, and bought nothing. Talk about disappointing.

    Although now I have some moneys just begging me to spend them on a DSLR. I’ll keep you posted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. FINE. I’ll figure out how to use my remote, since you’re making me do it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. you are my fancy friend. in more ways than one…

  16. Awesome! I just built a remote shutter for my Canon, needed a new use for it than the Christmas photo I took of our extended family.

    I shall be trying this when I’m home alone and bored next. Thanks!

    Casey Reply:

    @Joe @ IrrationalDad, alone and bored with a camera in the dark.
    Or you know, a Tuesday night around these parts.

  17. I’m going to attach a light to the end of my penis and make penis light paintings.

    Casey Reply:


  18. I love these. I want a light pen, so I can write LOVE in the air whenever the mood strikes me.

    Casey Reply:

    @Moose, Really? That is something everyone should have, like a drivers license.

  19. That is simply awesome.

    I wanna try. now.

    Do you have the pro DSL app or the 1.99 one?

    also.. hot diggety, that’s wickedly cool.

  20. I have the camera. I have a flashlight. I can get the app for my iPod Touch. Now I just have to re-watch this video many many times to figure out all the camera stuff you were saying. ๐Ÿ˜€ My technology is way smarter than I am.

  21. This looks amazingly fun. I want to try!

  22. That is SO awesome. I think I’m going to have to try it sometime soon. =)

  23. My husband has been going a little nutty with making light pictures using streetlights and the moon, etc. He posted some to his blog:



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