For those of you that are too young or not from these shores, let me explain: Ready Brek, was an oat based breakfast cereal from the 70’s and 80’s that promised in it’s adverts, to give consumers an orange glow. What kid could resist such a unique selling point? I pestered my parents to buy some so that I too could glow. For those of you that are like me and are still bitterly disappointed that you actually didn’t glow after eating a bowl of it, here’s the perfect light painting for you you!

Here’s What you will need for creating your Light Painting Portraits
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Glowstick
  • Fill light either a flash or large LED like the one pictured below.
  • Shutter release cable/remote or be able to set your camera to a long exposure of 30 seconds.
  • A model and possibly an assistant
 Get the camera under control 
  • To insure that you have good quality light painting portraits set your camera on ISO 100.
  • Put your camera in shutter priority mode (‘TV’ for Time Variant on a Canon or ‘S’ for shutter on a Nikon).
  • Dial in a long shutter speed something like 30 seconds to give you enough time in front of the camera.
  • If you find that you need longer than 30 seconds put your camera into manual mode and adjust the shutter speed to ‘BULB”. This setting will allow you to take an exposure for as long as want, when the shutter is compressed. You can either get an assistant to hold down the button or use a  Shutter Release cable, or even better a shutter remote this will allow you to lock the shutter open.
  • Now position your camera on top of your tripod or a sturdy surface in front of where you are going to shoot.
  • Get an assistant or shine a torch on the area you are taking a photo and look through the viewfinder to set the focus.
Light Painting Portraits: Let the Fun begin

Once the shutter is pressed let the light painting begin. To get the Ready Brek glow effect get your assistant to stand behind the model and use a light wand to edge around the models silhouette (I purchased my LED light wand from amazon for a few pounds heres a similar one). Just edging around the model will create this effect:

Light Painting Portraits the Ready Brek Glow

Now this looks pretty cool but it would look even better if you could see the model’s face. So this is where you need a bit of a fill light I used a strong LED light which I purchased from Tesco for about £8 pound. I think the light is meant to be used for inspecting your car. See pic below.

Light Painting portrait tools.


At this point you need to get your model to stand super still and for your assistant to have either left the frame. Now shine the light on your model for a couple of seconds. You can experiment with the durations. Your image should now look something like this:

Light Painting Portraits: Long exposureReview your light painting portraits and adjust your settings accordingly. If the image looks a bit dark you need to increase the exposure time or increase your ISO or increase the amount of time that you shine the fill light at your model. If the light painting portraits are over exposed you need to decrease your exposure time or your ISO if it isn’t on 100 already and decrease the amount of time that the LED fill light is shining at the model.

Here’s some more shots of Thom and his trippy Ready Brek glow:

Light Painting portraits - Light painting - long exposure

light painting portraits, long exposure


Light painting portraits, Long Exposure


If you like light painting you might also like this post or this post or this post!

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 14.11.57


If you love this sort of photo project, don’t forget to give me your email address (on the top right hand corner of this page) as well as monthly updates, you’ll also receive a free ebook ’10 Fun Cool Things You Can Do Right Now With Your DSLR’.Sue Venables

Let me know how you get on and if you’ve enjoyed this project then please share it using the buttons below.

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