Painting with light

Painting with light

You will need:
A torch or 2
A dark den
A camera with a long exposure facility

This activity which I love, love, love (during a science week) drew an awful lot of attention from both staff and children. If you click on the photo it will take you to Euxton CE Primary’s webpage dedicated to this activity. The heart was drawn with 2 torches. We also managed to work out how to write words by photographing individual letters and consequently. these were made into signs for the classroom doors. A wonderful way of encouraging collaboration with the children. The photographer had to direct the torch wielder in order to produce a specific image. The role they had to take on changed depending on what they had decided to do before they went into the dark den. The language of direction was used extensively and the children began to delete images from the camera independently.

If you have a go, please tweet me some photos of the pictures you make with your children.


Here is a photo sent from taken by one of his AS photography students at Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio.  It shows what a versatile idea this is.  I was using it as a way of working collaboratively, but I expect Colin’s pupil has been learning all about the photography skills needed to produce an image like this.

Colin's photo

Thank you Colin for letting me share this.


4 thoughts on “Painting with light

  1. Fantastic results – I really love this!!
    Does this require a very expensive camera? I have no idea if our school cameras have this facility – what would I look for in the menu? HELP!


    • Here is where you find out that a lot of my teaching happens by chance! I have no idea, I used a school camera, nothing fancy, and just messed around with the settings looking for ones that looked like “long exposure”. Don’t use a flash. That is all I have! I’ll get Colin, the photography teacher to comment with a real answer for you. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate the time and interest you have given. Adele x


  2. Haha sounds rather like my approach! I’ll have a play around with the settings and see if I can recreate the style – if you hear anything more technical in the meantime, please do let me know. Thanks.


  3. Hi,

    My students use a digital SLR camera on a very slow shutter speed. The technique works by capturing the movement of light during the time the shutter is open. The longer the shutter opens (slower shutter speed) the more light movement you capture. But this has to be balanced with how much light enters or you will end up with a pure white, over exposed image.
    Most SLR cameras have a BULB setting which opens the shutter when you press the capture ‘button’ and then close the shutter when you take your finger off. This setting is great for light graffiti.
    The image posted from one of my students was created in his back garden at night whilst his model danced round with a candle in each hand.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more info.



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