Fotorgear - 03/12/2019

How to paint the perfect angel wing with light painting

I am Alan Lu, a light painting artist based in Asia, since 2016.I have been work on light painting photography for years and sure will keep doing this in the next few years. The beauty of light painting photography is the way people create and use light to paint their thoughts in the head. Different shapes, colors, and brightness of the light can show different emotions. The truth is any glowing stuff could be a tool for light painting photography.

Today I wanna share a theme that people love it so much when doing light-painting photography:angel wings.

The Gear

Sony A7Rii
Tokina 16-28/2.8
Photoflash lamp: This is a necessity to fill in the face of the model.
Lighting gear

As I said, any glowing stuff could be the gear for light painting photography. Most people like me would choose a flashlight as a beginner. I also use an acrylic blade and an adapter I made in my friend's workshop to refit the flashlight. To color up the light painting, you can also buy some colored paper like these.

So far, you've got a stable, shape-changing, color-changing gear all by your own choice.

The Setting

These are the regular camera settings when I doing light painting:

iso 200
F-stop 9

Anyone wanna try light painting can use the same parameter and then take a few shots to adjust the shutter speed according to your actual shooting situation.

The Shoot

Anyone wanna try light painting can use the same parameter and then take a few shots to adjust the shutter speed according to your actual shooting situation.

10s/f9/iso 200

The shutter speed of this photo is 10 seconds. I would suggest finishing the light painting part at least 1or 2 seconds before the exposure shut-off, so it leaves me 8 seconds to go into the frame, finish the light painting and go out before the fill-in light works.

Here's a tip to make it easier to get the perfect angel wing: Make sure you knowing the time that would take to draw the angel's wings or any other contents and finish the painting in time. So, I would have only 4 seconds for each side of the angel wing in this shot.

In the meantime, the model should stay still in the whole exposure time. Thanks for my little angel model, she was doing a great job.

Among other things, It's a good idea to have a plan for the trajectory of the light before you start it. This is the trajectory of me doing angel wings light painting, and make sure that both sides are as similar and symmetrical as possible.

After the light painting part is finished, I still got 2 seconds left before the exposure shut-off, I used a flashlight to fill in the model in usual. The fill-in light will help me to balance the model and the light-painting part on one photograph.

10s/f9/iso 200

The shutter speed of this photo is 10 seconds, too. I used the flashlight and the blade, but no colored paper.

In my opinion, the color used in light painting has a lot to do with the environment, the model and the feelings expressed in the photo. If the color of the light and the props can echo each other, it will make the photo more unified. That's why I chose the pure white color to paint wings in this shot, it fits the model more.

Tips for the beginner, if you find it so hard to paint the angel wings symmetrical on both sides, you can try to paint only one side and shot the side face of the model.

Angel wing has always been one of my clients' favorite themes. The more you practice, the easier it will be to paint the perfect angel wings.

The Magilight

The way I use a flashlight to paint angel wings is a bit lack of details and reality. So I would choose a more professional gear when I am doing a commercial shooting. Magilight is a gear designed for light painting photography and it allows custom image, which means you can PS any image by PC and painted it with light. So I have collected a variety of wing images.

Light painting with a Magilight is the same as light painting with a flashlight we mentioned above, except that you are holding a different tool.


When shooting with Magilight, each wing takes 3-4 seconds to paint, and the whole painting time will be 8 seconds, my recommend shutter speed is 10 seconds.

25s/f8/iso 400

This photo was taken in the desert, a completely dark environment. To show the details of the mountain behind, I spend over 15 seconds on lighting it up by using a flashlight. Then I finished the light painting part as usual, and there is only one fill-in light from the right side on the model. The outline of the mountain and the cracks in the ground balance the whole photograph.


I used 2 fill-in light in this photograph, so the shadow and light on the model are more natural than previous photos. As you can see, painting the wings on only one side would be easier than doing it on both sides, you don't have to worry about symmetry.


Now, people have more convenient ways to do light painting. I hope my tips and experience would help you when exploring the fun and joy of light painting photography.

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