You might have come across some photos with light trails like of a highway with long light trails along the highway or a person drawing some shape with an led bulb. The light painting also called long exposure photography looks beautiful and can be very creative. It is only possible at night time or very dark places. There are some camera settings required to take such photos and rest is up to your creativity and thinking.

Highway image of long exposure photography


  1. Increase the shutter speed (e.g. 5″ will make the shutter stay open till 5 seconds and light will be received till 5 seconds hence a brighter image. The max shutter time is different in many cameras but 30″ is the most common)
  2. Reduce the ISO to lowest (e.g. 100 ISO would reduce the noise to zero)
  3. Keep away any stray lights from the frame as it will interfere with the light in the frame.
  4. Any moving lights now in the frame would be captured with the trail of everywhere they move.
  5. If the camera is set up for taking a photo of the road at night with above settings then we would get a long light trails of the headlights and backlights of the moving traffic.
  6. Or you can take an led or a light source and draw something till the shutter is open and it would be painted on the image canvas.

These types of photographs are the most fun to take. You can draw shapes, write something, etc. Here is an example which I took when I was learning light painting.

A poi image photography.