Light Painting Photography Tips with Darren Pearson

Darren Pearson is a full-time illustrator by day, but when the sun goes down, he turns into a light sculpture mastermind. Darren uses long exposure photography and his illustration skills to create life-size light sculptures on the California landscapes. It's the same technique you've seen people use to write their names in sparklers. We asked Darren to share his light painting tutorial with us and offer some insight into his process.

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Darren makes it look easy, but it definitely helps to have some drawing prowess. The trick seems to be in some solid practice and remembering where your lines are. Darren says, "I think using your own body as a proportional reference is an important concept to consider when illustrating things life-size."

To get a tack sharp photo at night, Darren says, "set up the tripod and get your framing/composition first, then detach the camera and set a small light on the top of the tripod—go stand where you would like to illustrate and focus manually on tripod/light. This way you will get a clear in-focus picture every time."

Darren's Gear: Canon 7D, Zeiss Distagon 18mm, Manfrotto Tripod, remote shutter release

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Darren's post processing is minimal. "I shoot RAW, and I will color-correct if there is some ugly yellow ambient light in the image; the whole point with post-processing, in my opinion, is to bring out the detail. Not to create a style or add things that aren't there to begin with."

Be sure to check out Darren's Flickr stream and hit him up with any questions on light painting!

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