I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures around, those cool images that look like paintings made of pure light. Did you know they are super easy to do? All it takes is a tripod, a flashlight, and a camera with an adjustable shutter speed!

Here’s an example of what you can do with just those few instruments:

light writing

In the coming days I’ll be posting free downloads of the entire alphabet as well as some symbols so that you can put together your own light written message.

If you want to try this for yourself, here’s what you’ll need:

  • a sturdy tripod to mount your camera on
  • a camera with adjustable shutter speeds (a dlsr or older model slr will work)
  • flashlight or penlight

The images above were taken at a shutter speed of 15 seconds, but you can play around and see what works best for you. If you have someone to help you out by manning the camera, you can use a faster shutter speed, but if you are on your own, you’ll need at least 15 seconds to depress the shutter and then get in place to begin your light writing.

Once you’ve depressed the shutter speed, quickly move into place and, using your light, start “writing” the shape that you desire. It’s okay if your lines aren’t perfectly straight – it only adds to the character of the finished piece! Don’t get frustrated if it takes several tries to get each piece correct – that’s just part of the fun of the experiment!

I’ve found that I do have to do some adjustments in Photoshop to get the exposure exactly right, especially if there is ambient light from other sources. So be prepared (and excited!) to experiment.

Here is one more example of light writing, done with a much more simple technique. In this shot, I simply set my camera to a one minute exposure – would you believe this is a picture of someone fishing at night with just a glow stick for exposure? It’s amazing what you can capture with just a little light.


I’d love to see your own works of light art! Email them to me at guerilla.glue77@gmail.com and I’ll post them here on the blog for all to enjoy!