Useful Photography Tip #86: Write with Light

julius motal the phoblographer useful photography tip 85 write light

Writing with light is the literal definition of photography. It’s also something you can do with a small light, a long exposure and a fairly steady hand. I’ve been experimenting with long exposure recently, and most of initial efforts dealt with moving strands of Christmas lights in myriad directions to somewhat hypnotic ends. Then the idea of writing messages came along.

Ideally, you’ll want to work within a 35mm focal length because it’ll give you a good amount of space to work within while remaining fairly close to the camera. For the photos I’ve made like the one above, I used a small bluetooth speaker, slightly smaller than a tennis ball, that has a steady blue light when tethered. You can use whatever you like.

Figure out the message you want to write beforehand. It might take a few tries before you get everything completely in the frame. If you have perfect spatial awareness, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. And remember, you have to write backwards from right to left. Otherwise, you’d have to do some inversions in post.

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