Light Painting Smoke Effects Tutorial

There’s no end to the fun and creativity you can pour into a great light painting session. And the more techniques you have in your photographer’s utility belt the more interesting and professional your light painting can become.

In recent weeks we’ve shown you how to add 3D objects to your light painting, how to create light-painting rain, and how combining bullet time photography and light painting can yield some pretty awesome results. Now it’s time to put the old saying to rest and create smoke — without a fire.


In the tutorial above, photographer Wen-JiĆ© Yang shows you how to create light-painting smoke using nothing more than flexible neon tubing. In addition he doesn’t leave you hanging on the rest of the shoot. He shows you how he created the whole thing, from the stenciled snow flakes, to the 6 armed model and the yellow halo behind her to, of course, the cool smoke.

By our count, the full exposure lasts almost a full minute and 30 seconds, and the results would make for one heck of a Facebook cover.

(via Lifehacker)

  • Daniel Lowe

    Very cool! I’ve been getting into light painting recently, but I had not yet thought about using smoke..

  • Tatyrb

    This is hella awesome!!

  • Jonathon Watkins

    That is a great effect. I had a look at the website he mentioned for the neon LED ropelight but I could not see the small battery power supply he is briefly shown using in the video. Any ideas what it is & here to get it?

  • Mark N

    The ambient light in the room looked bright enough that it should ruin the photo in a minute and a half long exposure. Was this just a recreation, I wonder, to show the technique or was this the actual exposure?