9 creative photo ideas to try in February

Creative photo ideas for February: 09 Shoot a heart-shaped shadow

Creative photo ideas for February: 05 Light-paint a warm still life

Creative photo ideas for February: 05 Light-paint a warm still life

Although large-scale light painting photos taken outdoors pack plenty of impact, you can create more subtle, but equally as effective torchlit pictures on your kitchen table.

Belgian photographer Peter Zentjens’ ‘Nostalgia’ project has some great examples of this technique. The golden, atmospheric glow perfectly suits the vintage props he uses.

“There is one rule in my choice of torch: it has to be warm light,” says Peter. “I know I can adapt my white balance, but it’s easier to start with a warm light. So I don’t use LED torches.

SEE MORE: What is color temperature – free photography cheat sheet

“I use two different sizes of torches, so the size of the beam has to be in proportion with the subject.

“Using the small torch on a large set-up takes too long, while painting a small set-up with the large torch gives me too little control over the position of the light.

“For anything between these sizes, I’ll cover the large torch with aluminium foil with a hole cut into it, downsizing my light beam to the required size and shape.

“To get the light just right in every part of the image, I’ll shoot several frames, each with a different area illuminated. I’ll then manually blend these together in post-processing using masks.

SEE MORE: Blend Modes – the 10 best blends for photographers (and how to use them)

“I’m also not afraid to use effects or filters, although I’ll always keep them subtle. For this image I even shot the frames using different points of focus, building up the final depth of field while blending my different takes.”

Get started today
* Set the focus manually with the room lights on, before painting in the dark.
* Keep the torch moving to avoid hotspots.
* Use manual exposure. Dial in an aperture of around f/11, an ISO of 400 and a shutter speed of several seconds.
* Once you’ve perfected basic painting, add additional light sources: “I’ll use a laser pointer to accentuate something, flash the room lights once to get a different atmosphere or use the light source of the object itself,” reveals Peter.

Creative photo ideas for February: 01 Shoot a defocused portrait
Creative photo ideas for February: 02 Shoot a portrait and add a hand-drawn look
Creative photo ideas for February: 03 Shoot empty, open spaces
Creative photo ideas for February: 04 Shoot macros with minimal depth of field
Creative photo ideas for February: 05 Light-paint a warm still life
Creative photo ideas for February: 06 Shoot a city view
Creative photo ideas for February: 07 Shoot deconstructed hardware
Creative photo ideas for February: 08 Shoot yourself in the picture
Creative photo ideas for February: 09 Shoot a heart-shaped shadow

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