For a Cheap Light Painting Stick, Buy a $4 Tube Guard


Want a light stick for light painting but don’t want to spend a lot buying a commercial product? Light painting photographer Eric Pare recently discovered a cheap and easy solution: tube guards (also known as lamp guards).

Tube guards are strong plastic tubes that are designed to protect against glass and sparks when fluorescent lamps break and shatter. Pare got his by visiting a TAP Plastic store, but you can find them for sale on Amazon as well (with shipping fees, though). What’s great is that the tube guards cost just $2.5 for clear ones or $4 for colored ones.

Pare's new tube guard light painting sticks.
Pare’s new tube guard light painting sticks.

Pare purchased some tube guards and turned them into light sticks by shining flashlights into them. “I used 2 tactical flashlights at 300 lumens power each,” Pare tells PetaPixel. “The brighter you go, the less opacity you’ll get.”



“Most of this pictures are created in 3 seconds,” he says. “That’s the time I take to draw the shape by hand. I decide the duration of the exposure with a wireless remote control in my left hand.”


“Since it’s a long exposure, it’s very hard to get sharp pictures, especially when the wind is blowing,” Pare tells us. “One of the trick is to get as wide as possible with the lens, so you get less details from the subject, and more of the surroundings.”



“It’s hard to make yourself invisible. The best trick is to have the camera, the model and yourself in a perfect line, then you try to hide as much as you can behind the model.”



Want to keep light from “spilling” onto the ground? “You can get rid of the light spill on the ground by blocking the light at the end of the tube (by using a cap),” Pare says. “Use a white color in the inner part of the cap to get more light reflecting.”

You can find more of Pare’s light painting work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

P.S. The model featured in these shots is professional dancer Kim Henry.

Image credits: Header lamp guard product photo by TAP Plastics