What is Lightpainting?
Lightpainting is as old as photography.
In our set-up we use a camera to capture photographs of light trails ‘painted’ in a dimly lit space. This is easier to show than explain, so please watch this video to see a typical shot in progress. Watch to the end to see the finished image appear on the large screen and listen to all those ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from the participants and audience.
This is the resulting image. Amazing, controlled chaos.
We have been doing this for 15 years, and, as far as we are aware, there is no one else offering a similar experience.
What we do is playful, interactive and mind boggling. Guests are firstly invited to pose and have us ‘paint’ light trails around them, but then the real magic happens when people start to play and experiment to create their own unique artworks with our range of 50+ lightpainting tools.
You can create scenes, drawings, animations, light graffiti, abstract art, silhouettes and anything else that can be imagined.
Who are ‘The LightPainters’?
We are a collection of visual artists, performers, arts workshop facilitators and photographers. We are what happens when artists start meddling with cameras. The group is run by Andy O’Rourke, who is a street artist, illustrator, maker and light artist. Andy has been making light painting images for 35 years and has been running interactive lightpainting sessions at events for 15 years.
Isn’t it just a photobooth?
Not really, it’s a very different experience. Guest can come along and simply have their portraits taken whilst we create magical light trails around them. It works well for group shots and individual portraits. However a lightpainting can be though of as a way of painting in 3 dimensions using lights. You can draw, dance, swirl, have fake battles and make ‘light graffiti’ across the photo. You can make animations, create scenes and let your imagination run away with you.
How much does it cost for you to come to our event?
This depends on so many factors that it’s really hard to generalise. Somewhere between £500 and £3000, excluding VAT would cover the range of options we offer. We can tweak our plan to suit the budget or the venue’s expectations, just ask.
An example of a common set-up with 2 artists:
For a local gig with a short travel time from South Wales with 2 artists running 3 x 1hr lightpainting sessions costs around £1000 plus VAT. For this fee I would bring 50 or so light brushes; create an image pre-programmed into my LED wands (branding, text, themed images etc); create a branded overlay for all the images; and provide a free gallery of edited images for all participants to access. Longer travel times, train fares, accommodation and subsistence would need to be added for some events.
For smaller events I can come on my own. This is suitable for events where the emphasis is on guests experimenting with my lights under my guidance, rather than having the option of having their portraits created by the artists. I’m also happy to run sessions on my own if you can provide some assistants to help throughout the session (mums and dads at a kids party for example). Prices for me on my own start at £500.
I am happy to provide discounts for school and community groups.
Making branded lights, lightboxes and programmable text and graphics for the digital wands (prices from £100)
Planning complex animations (POA)
On site photo printing (prices start from £400)
Extra artists. We often use up to 5 artists for larger events (min £250 per artist excluding expenses)
How dark does it need to be?
Our ideal situation is having a dark or dim space (think romantic lighting or darker as an ideal).
The darker it is the more control we have over the images. However, we can easily get very good results in ‘romantic lighting’ conditions. We have also had good results under tree cover, and in other shady spots on fairly bright summer evenings – although this can be a bit more challenging.
We can cope with most conditions and don’t really mind ambient lights or stage lighting that might be flashing through our photo area.
The photo below shows the brightest room I have ever worked in…
… in exactly these conditions the next photo shows the quality of image that was produced.
How big a space do you need?
A 3m x 4m area would be the smallest we’d like to go. With a ceiling height of at least 2.7m. However we are pretty adaptable and have worked in corridors, dancefloors, cubby holes etc.
It’s best to have enough space for a group of 10 people to participate in a photo. This could often involve 5 people posing and 5 people ‘panting’ with lights both in front of and behind the ‘posers’. We also tend to have a group watching the process, downloading their images, or queuing for their turn. We also like to have a table or two with our lights spread out . Small spaces can easily fill up quickly.
We have access to a 5m x 5m inflatable dome that we can bring along to suitable events for an extra £150
What kind of events will it work at?
We cater to any kind of events and parties, such as birthdays, weddings, corporate events, festivals, or anything else. We can tailor our service to suit your needs and preferences, and create custom designs and themes based on your requests and suggestions.
How do you showcase your work during and after the session?
We showcase our work during and after the session by displaying the images on a screen or a projector. We also provide instant access to a private gallery where your guests can download their photos within seconds by scanning a QR code. We can also provide you with digital copies of all the images we create, as well as prints and other products if you wish. We can also brand the images with any overlay, graphics or message that you want.
Do we print the photos?
We prefer not to. It really slows down the action and the fun – we want people to take load of photos and not just pose for 1 and wait around for the result. It often means that we need more staff and we hire machines which are great when they work, but are an expensive burden if you get paper jams or other technical difficulties.
However, we can offer this, or work with an event printer who can work alongside us and be in charge of running the printing process.
Who has copyright over the images?
The client is free to use the images with no restriction. We would only reproduce images with express permission of the client.
What are your tech requirements?
We have a lightweight set-up, which involves a camera, tripod, some lights and a tablet. This is great for pop-ups at festivals or around a large venue. In this instance we are very self sufficient and don’t need anything from the venue. The more common scenario is where we are located in a dedicated space. In this instance we like to ask for the following:
- Dark/dim space free of trip hazards
- 5m X 5m or bigger is a good size area for us to work in
- Ceiling height of at least 2.7m
- Table to lay out lights
- Table for laptop and tripod
- 2 power points next to the laptop table (we can run everything on USB batteries if power is impractical)
- Access to monitor or projector is great to show off the process to other guests. Anything that takes an HDMI cable that can be within 10m of the camera is perfect. Depending on how we travel, we may be able to supply an extra screen ourselves, but it’s much better if the venue can supply this. Everything works perfectly well without an extra screen – it’s just a nice addition.
How long does it take to set up?
If the room or space is all ready for us, and there are no technical difficulties then we can set up in around 1 hour. It’s nice to have 2 hours at least to make sure everything is working as expected.
We can also offer a more lightweight set up and just pop-up in various locations around a venue over the course of the event. It would only take us 5 minutes to set up at each location.
How long do you perform for?
We can go for around 90 minutes and then need a break. It’s a very physically demanding process and we need regular short breaks or a couple of much longer breaks. These breaks could be spread over a period of around 5 hours maximum. Again, we’re pretty flexible.
Who are your previous clients?
Some notable clients include O2 London, Ministry of Sound, Very, Global Radio, Womad UK, Womad (Abu Dhabi, Caceres, Malta, Gran Canaria), Destination New South Wales, Mini and Booking.com
Check out the main LightPainting page to read some testimonials.
How long does a single photo take to create?
A single photo might take 20-40 seconds. Arranging people into their poses, explaining the process and allowing people to choose their lights also takes time. We would expect to create between 30 – 60 photos per hour. Each photo will have between 1 and 20 people participating in it’s creation.
How many people can participate?
We often have groups of 2-10 people posing at one time. We can also have another 10 people painting with lights in the same shot. This leads to great, controlled creative chaos. It’s not uncommon to have 25 people involved in making a single photo. It’s also common for groups to stand around watching the process before and after having their own photos taken.
Is it a stage act?
As a rule – no. We’re not like the stage sand drawing artists. There is no narrative or structure to what we do. However, we do attract a crowd and it’s a fascinating thing to watch. We really thrive on interaction though and our ideal is when people join in and start creating their own art.
We are open to suggestion though and it can work on stage in the right circumstances.