An interesting example of light photography by Aiden Clarke.
An interesting example of light photography by Aiden Clarke.

Huntington Photographers Experiment with Light Techniques

December 4, 2023

A lesson of photographic lighting techniques led to a series of beautiful and intriguing images by Huntington High School student photographers

A lesson on photography lighting was put to good use by Huntington students.

“Light painting, painting with light, light drawing; these are all terms that describe photographic techniques of moving a light source while taking a long-exposure photograph, either to illuminate a subject or space or to shine light at the camera to ‘draw,’ or by moving the camera itself during exposure of light sources,” Mrs. Piffard told her students. “Practiced since the 1880s, the technique is used for both scientific and artistic purposes.”

Students learned that light painting photography can be traced back to the year 1914 when Frank Gilbreth, along with his wife Lillian Moller Gilbreth, used small lights and the open shutter of a camera to track the motion of manufacturing and clerical workers.

“The Gilbreth’s did not create the photographs as an artistic endeavor; they instead were studying what they called ‘work simplification,’” Mrs. Piffard said. “The Gilbreth’s were working on developing ways to increase employee output and simplify their jobs. While they were not using light painting as an artistic medium they did produce the first known light painting photographs.”

The Huntington teenagers learned that painting with light is a fun technique that gives great results. “It is called painting with light because this is what you are actually doing while taking the shot; painting with light,” Mrs. Piffard said. “Your light source becomes your paintbrush. You don’t need much to experiment with this kind of shot, just make sure you have the following items; tripod, camera with long exposure settings, dark environment and a flashlight or controlled light source.”

Huntington High School Advanced Photography students experimented with techniques in the classroom and then completed an at home assignment. “The results are fun, creative and awe inspiring,” Mrs. Piffard said.