Capturing an outdoor light painting can prove to be an interesting challenge that yields amazing results. The window of opportunity you have to capture your image is fleeting and you need to be ready. Outdoor light painting is best captured during blue hour (just after sunset / before sunrise) which only gives you between 20-30 minutes. While you may be stressed for time, the results can be breathtaking.



Capturing the above outdoor light painting was a real adventure. I waited in the freezing moments after sunset when the sky turned a deep blue. Once the sky turned a perfect color, another photographer waited out into the water with a high-powered flashlight. Similar to indoor light painting, once I opened the shutters of my camera, we shined the flashlight on the trusses supporting the bridge. With the right settings, in one shot I managed to capture both the rich blue sky and the amazing details of the bridge.



Outdoor light painting doesn’t just have to be of blue hour. With light tubes, you can capture the same cool effects as shown above.

For the above shot, a model stood in place as two separate light tubes were moved around her. The model had to stand completely still to refrain from capturing too much motion blur. As the light tubes were being moved, they would leave light trails in the image. By moving them in an interesting way, you can get endless creative results.

Another interesting way to capture light trails is to try spinning steel wool. By igniting steel wool and spinning it on a rope, you can get some crazy light trails that go off in every direction. I was super happy with what I was able to capture.


Interested in learning more about outdoor light painting? Learn more tips from MasterClass.