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Live Show Recap: Night/Astro Photography

What’s up you cool babies? This week we looked at your night and astro photography and you killed it. Next week’s topic is abstract & geometry, which is Tony’s new favorite thing. I’m excited for that one.

We start off with some photo news:

-Leica announced the new TL2 mirrorless camera

-we have the¬†Loupedeck¬†and¬†we’ll put out a review soon. Chelsea uses it during the live show for the first time!

Time to start reviewing photos:

-sky over building

-moving clouds

-Tony suggests the Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 for beginners in night photography


-Tony shakes the hornets nest of flat-earthers, again, forever

-Chelsea is only good at “restaurant math”

-moon over Golden Gate


Over to me for some questions from you all:

-eclipse plans? Tony’s trying to learn it now and purchased some ND filters and those special glasses. Chelsea throws shade at the eclipse, she doesn’t think that 2 minute cover is worth it. “It’s not Hamilton, I’m not gonna travel cross country for it.”

Back to photos:

-“are you doing the flat earth thing again?”

-that cool truck again

-car forest

Over to me for some more questions:

-Sigma 120-400? No idea. Thanks for the money though!

-if you had to choose between a faster lens and a bigger sensor for night photography what would you pick? The lens is easier to upgrade for sure.

-what’s the most amount of times you’ve visited a site to get the shot you want? Over 100.¬†

Time for a portfolio review! Wood bow tie gets it, Denslow Photo. Maybe change your menu items so they are immediately obvious. Pare down your portraits, but your shots look great! Tony says add a pricing page.

 Time for chit-chat! The part of the show where we highlight ridiculous comments on our videos. 

-S-AF, sexy as f*%&?

-Mister Rogers, Mister Rogers

-Tony taking of sweaters, ends with twerking

-Chelsea, beauty or smarts? Neither: funny.

-shit is funky

-Tony whispering “diopter”

-a weirdly nice comment? “Let’s save her eggs”

Back to your photos:

milky way

-why do we talk about Roadhouse so much?


-moon river


-bougie camping

-will we ever get over fireworks?


-insane fireworks


Over to me for your questions:

-how to get your partner into photography? Candy. Ask them to model, ask them for their view on the subject.

-what songs do you sing in the shower? “All by Myself” for Chelsea. None of the rest of us do that.

-favorite day of the week? Tony is patronizing you. Chelsea’s is Sunday, Tony likes a Tuesday which is an abomination. Justin and I like a Saturday.

Back to photos:

-light trail


-empty station

-Chelsea is thiiiis close to being a cannibal

-green sky

One more question before we cut out:

-how do you get the foreground sharp in astro photography? Focus stacking.

A few more photos then we’re off:

-tiny person

-Charles bridge


That’s our show! Thanks so much, guys. Join us next week for abstract and geometric photos. Looking forward to it!

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Beginner Photography: Night

Oh man, I probably should have tried to do something more technically interesting, like astro photography. But I’m lazy! And I don’t like to go out at night! So I stayed in my regular wheelhouse (and literal house) and tried some spooky selfies in the back yard.

Here’s a page of great info on night photography:

And you can see my first attempt at night photography here.

So I set up my camera on a tripod and used the app OI.Share for Olympus to remotely control my camera from my phone. I wanted to be holding a light source, so I took a wrought iron owl candle holder. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a candle to stay lit in it, so I borrowed my husband’s phone and used a flashlight app. It was brighter than I wanted, but seemingly still not bright enough to keep my shutter speed up! I shot in shutter priority and got the shutter as fast as I could to capture the image but not so slow that I was moving much. It was not easy.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was how odd the color would be. I had a light on in the yard which was yellow, and the light from the phone was more blue. It wound up doing some strange things to my skin color, but I think it may have added to the weirdness. Also, it’s almost impossible to focus the camera at night. I couldn’t see my face in the monitor, and therefore had to essentially guess where to focus the shot. Anyone have tips on how to work around that?¬†


f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600


f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600


f/3.5, 0.6 sec, ISO 1600


f/5, 4 sec, ISO 1600


So, the ISO is high, the shots are crazy noisy, and my face is for sure not in focus. The last one was intentionally that way, and it wound up being the one I like the most. I think I should have gone more surrealist with it. 

Are any of these successful despite their technical shortfalls? I don’t think I can objectively judge my shots anymore.¬†


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Live Show Recap: Night Photography

Hey y’all! We reviewed your night photos this week, and they were delightful as always. Tony and Chelsea will be away next week, so we’ll see you in two weeks with the topic “abandoned.” If you want to vote on our topic each week, donate to our Patreon!

You cannot, I repeat CANNOT, donate $50 to call me or $100 to snuggle with Justin.

Let’s get into your photos. I’ll highlight our picks below:

Over to me for some questions/comments from the viewers:

  • Tony is making someone’s weird list of hot silver-haired men

Okay, back to photos:

  • Rubin! Oh, that makes me hungry”
  • “I think you’ve watched more horror movies than done camping”

Back to me:

  • how would you expose for a campfire portrait? Expose for your subject, clip the highlights a bit, do a lot of work in post.
  • opinions on funeral photography? If it’s cultural, that’s cool. If you’re doing it as a weird exploitative thing, don’t? “It’s my art, violating everyone!”

Back to photos:

Time for a portfolio review! John Shedwick, that sheep got us. Gorgeous landscapes, the GPS coordinates are a really cool feature. T&C are trying to adopt you, or slap you. Your portfolio is wonderful! 

Time for chit-chat, where you say things and we say things back. 

  • stick to your hair color videos
  • oh, men make violent comments about women in videos on the internet? Maybe manage your anger better.
  • do you ever fight about whose name is mentioned first? No, we just constantly swap them, confusing everyone.

Back to  me for your questions:

  • Thanks so much, Jerome! If you own our book, Stunning Digital Photography, you can join our private Facebook group and get help from thousands of other photographers.
  • any particular photography genre you don’t like to shoot? Weddings for Chelsea, nothing for Tony. Justin hasn’t done enough to know. I don’t like shooting landscapes.

Back to photos:

Back to me with your questions:

  • how to get great photos when it’s overcast? Take portraits!
  • how to keep your camera stable on a boat? Freeze the water, literally. Or use a faster shutter speed.
  • how do you pick your photography style (genre)? You don’t have to! Unless you go pro, the market will decide for you.
  • how’s the G5 holding up? And what is your favorite lens for it? It’s doing great. The Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 and a Metabones speedbooster.

Back to your photos:

Back over to me:

  • I’m the ballerina’s allegro
  • what techniques do pro photographers shy away from? HDR, fake solar flare, too much clarity.
  • would you review some of the new camera phones? We’ve thought about it.
  • Tony’s hot bod

Back to your photos before we wrap up:

  • lighthouse
  • “I thought maybe it was fake” “you’re fake”
  • “oh, she’s gonna eat it. I’d rather have a cheeseburger”
  • Top Gun!
  • Tony Soprano!
  • Eiffel Tower is killing it tonight
  • this one would work for next show’s topic

We did it! 

Here’s one last question from you all:

  • and I will direct you to¬†for all your camera recommendation needs

See you in two weeks for “abandoned”!

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Beginner Photography: Night

Night photography! I kind of had to phone it in this week, guys. We had one clear night and I was carless and home with my daughter, so I couldn’t go out when it was properly dark. But I knew of a lovely church within walking distance that I’ve been meaning to shoot for a while, so we trekked out there with my camera and tripod.

I’ve done night photography before, you can see my shots and my process here.

This week I tried to shoot panoramas since I¬†was close to my subject (can’t get too far away without a road and cars in the way) but it proved to be pretty difficult. The tripod I’m working with isn’t the best and I was having a hard time panning smoothly to capture multiple shots in a row. I wound up hand-holding the camera for most of them. I shot on aperture priority with the aperture wide open to gather as much light as possible and at ISO 100, but that left parts of the scene blurry. I didn’t take enough shots of the scene to get the detail I wanted when stacking my images.

Here’s an incredibly helpful video on image stacking and panoramas, which I should have watched before I went out:

I’m not thrilled with how any of my shots came out. I really wish I’d taken more time and captured more shots of each part of the building to stitch them together.

f/3.5, 1/20th, ISO 100


f/3.5, 1/40th, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/30th, ISO 100


I also chose to center all of these shots to make the building feel as impressive as it is, but none of them are perfectly symmetrical which just makes it feel off.

The first and third shots I made virtual copies¬†of, then edited one to expose for the sky and one to expose for the building, merging them as HDR. I’m afraid I was a bit lazy and have some haloing around the building now that I look at it.¬†

Are any of you shooting on the theme each week? How are you finding it?

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Beginner Photography: Long Exposures

Happy Spring for those of you in this part of the world! It doesn’t feel like it yet, but I can’t wait for it to get warmer and drier so I am motivated to get out and shoot more.

This week’s live show topic is long exposures, which I really hadn’t attempted¬†before. But a month or so back we had a party for my stepson’s birthday and our friends brought sparklers. I thought it would be a great time to try out some impromptu light painting. These wound up being abstracts, which I love, not the intentional kind of light painting that you generally see. Those are a bit more complex and you can learn multiple ways to do it from Tony’s video here:

I think my kids would love to try those as well, so maybe we’ll attempt them in the future.

So all it took to capture these photos¬†was some experimenting with the shutter speed.¬†I took some of just the firecrackers burning, but I didn’t find those too compelling. The ones I liked the best had the eerie ghosting of the kids moving through the frame around the light. Others, I chose to pivot myself while the shutter was open to create light trails.¬†

f/3.6, 5 sec, ISO 640


f/3.6, 3.2 sec, ISO 320


F/3.6, 5 sec, ISO 1000


The first two images I converted to black and white in Lightroom and adjusted the exposure. The colors in the shots weren’t very pleasing and didn’t add anything to them. In the last shot however, I adjusted the white balance to make the yellow lights more blue and thought the abstract look of the whole thing was beautiful.

I thought these were really fun to shoot and I look forward to trying it again, a bit more intentionally next time. 

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Beginner Photography: Shadows

Hey folks! I like these creative subjects Chelsea is picking for the live show these days. This week the subject is “shadows.” Not just incidental ones that you get when you photograph a subject on a clear day, but shadows that you capture as an element of the composition. I’ve certainly shot images like that in the past, as seen here:


But this week I was inspired to create a shadow as an element of a story. I had the idea to photograph my daughter, Eloise, cowering under the covers with the shadow of a monster on the wall above her. So here’s how I went about it:

First, I set up my camera (an Olympus OM-D E-M10) on a tripod in her room. I¬†then picked through Eloise’s vast array of stuffed animals, dragon and dinosaur figurines to find a properly intimidating shape. I placed it on her dresser, across the room from her bed, and propped my phone up behind it with the flashlight app turned on. It took some maneuvering, but I finally got the proper shadow size and placement on the wall.¬†

For the camera settings, I had it in aperture priority mode, set to the lowest aperture, which was f/4.5. The shutter speed wound up being 1/4 of a second and the ISO at 1600, so it certainly isn’t the cleanest or sharpest picture, but the mood was more important. I went back and forth with it, but still stuck to¬†Tony and Chelsea’s top tip¬†and¬†used a full white point.

I didn’t want the light from the flashlight to be too blown out and obvious, but the image was far too dark without it. I hope I was successful it making it look like night while still illuminating the subject.

Then came the post-processing.¬†I use Adobe Lightroom for most of my editing (you can see some of our free videos from the Lightroom book here.) I converted the shot to black and white, as my daughter’s room is cluttered and brightly colored. I cropped and straightened the image, although it still feels a bit weird since I was shooting at an angle from the bed. I added some vignetting to make the room appear darker (it was shot at night, but the flashlight obviously cast a lot of light into the room) and dodged her face a bit so you could see she was there. I added some noise reduction and kept adjusting the exposure until I got what I thought looked best.¬†

So, there’s my process, and here’s my final image:

So what do you think? Was it successful? I hope I conveyed the universal feeling of fear of the dark that kids experience. What would you have done differently? Let me know in the comments below if you have suggestions. I look forward to seeing all your submissions for the show this week!

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Live Show Recap: Night Photography with Kyle Wolfe

This show was a blast! Even though I’m quickly being replaced by Kyle Wolfe, I understand why. What a talented and well-spoken guy. If you somehow don’t know, Kyle is a 17 year old photographer from California. We met him through our Facebook group and the live show. We were blown away by his talent and dedication and got to watch him grow as a photographer over the past few years. And now we finally got him on as a guest!¬†

Also, please let us know if we should continue calling the show Tony & Chelsea Live or go back to our old name of News, Booze, and Reviews!

We got so many stunning submissions this week, sorry we didn’t make it through more. This show is worth watching all the way through for the tips and editing that the crew gives! You can see my attempt in my blog here. During the live show we also did a gift guide for people you hate, and everyone’s favorite topic, Chit-Chat.¬†

I honestly don’t know if they gave picks and stars this week, we were so focused on talking to Kyle. But let’s see!¬†

We started reviewing photos here:

  • beautiful southern lights, could use a UFO though
  • just watch all of this because there are so many good tips for shooting the sky at night
  • star trails over a lighthouse

Time for Chit-Chat! The part of the show where you say mean, dumb, or funny things in the comments on YouTube and we berate or celebrate you for it!

  • “but mooooom!” Chelsea said I had a dumb face and looked like the Ikea monkey. We’re best friends.
  • Chelsea deserves more laughs
  • News, Booze & Reviews is back!
  • totally not a green screen
  • so many sponsors
  • we set Kyle up for that one
  • but really though, back button focus is great

Let’s review a few Squarespace portfolios. First up, Roberto Jara. Gorgeous work! Pare down your portraits a bit. Maybe change your layout so that your images are full screen instead of ¬†square thumbnails.¬†

Next up we looked at Simon Nicholson’s portfolio. First off, get rid of the cover page, people don’t click through often. Delete similar or images, keep the best ones. Make your formats between pages consistent.

Let’s get back into your photos:

  • incredible lines¬†and great tips on how to capture them

Over to me for your questions and comments:

  • How’d Kyle get into photography? From our great teaching, mostly¬† ūüėõ
  • Sharky wants to know who of T&C, Matt Granger, and Sharky are in the ocean, who would Kyle let drown?¬†This gets some serious thought.
  • Astrophotography, how you do it? Use your widest aperture and varying ISO. Generally f/2.8, ISO 3200 and 20 second exposure. Take multiple shots and use image averaging to cut out some of the noise. There also some crazy mathing to pick the shutter speed.

Now our holiday gift guide for people you hate! I thought of many of these, and it appears that this is my hidden talent.

  • GoPro Karma (which falls out of the sky)
  • Galaxy Note 7 (which catches fire)
  • Pebble smart watch (which was shut down and discontinue)
  • Bargain Lightosphere (disappointing and cheap!)
  • 5lb bag of ¬†Haribo sugar free gummy bears (they give you explosive diarrhea. Read the reviews)
  • Hot dog toaster (because why?)
  • An empty Leica box (the pinnacle of disappointment.)

Ok, back to your photos:

  • Simon ¬†again! Killin‘ it.
  • gorgeous sky
  • “this episode is brought to you by Quaker Oats”
  • moon rainbows?

Kyle is team I-S-O,¬†don’t tell Tony.

Over to me for some more questions:

  • how to make the Milky Way pop,and reduce noise? Avoid the moon, avoid light pollution, stack images to reduce noise. A fast lens on a full-frame camera helps.
  • Kyle, who are you favorite Instagrammers? His dear Stunner friends, Iris, Fyn, Maya, Claire, Nick and Matthew. And these talented astrophotographers,¬†Michael Shainblum, Ian Chen, Farhan Zaidi,¬†and Martin K.

Back to your photos:

One last question from me:

  • What is your biggest photography related goal? For Chelsea it’s to do more creative videos and shoots. For Tony it’s working with talented photographers in other genres and learning from them. Kyle wants to get published and have a gallery show.

One last stunning photo here, and then we’re out! It was a great show, thanks for all your submissions. And of course thank you for our talented guest, Kyle Wolfe! Tune in next week with maybe a surprise guest? We’ll be reviewing your portraits.



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Beginner Photography: Night

Wow, you guys. Night photography is incredibly difficult and I love it. Between keeping your camera steady for long exposures, balancing mixed lighting, and simply finding a focal point, I really had my work cut out for me. 

First off, if you want to really get into night photography, read chapter 10 in Stunning Digital Photography. There are so many things that go into making a proper night shot, and so many different types of night photography depending on where you shoot and what your subject is. If you want to do star trails, start with this video:

And there’s a lot more free info on this page of our site.

I live in a city and don’t fancy staying out in the woods by myself to attempt star trails, so that was off my list. And as cool as light painting is, I wasn’t really interested in trying that yet either. So I went for what we have plenty of in the city: lights. As always, I was using my (borrowed) Olympus E-M10 and Lumix 14-42mm. I also borrowed a tripod from a dear and generous friend, as there was no way I was attempting night photography by hand. The first night I went out was a bit after sunset, and it got dark quick. I shot the Ben Franklin Bridge from a pier beneath it and amazingly captured some star constellations in the sky above it! Then I went down to the Philadelphia Water Works behind the art museum to try and get a shot of Boathouse Row, a lovely string of boathouses along the river decked out with Christmas lights. That shoot was… less successful. I didn’t have quite enough reach with my lens, the angle wasn’t great, and it was too dark out to make interesting light in the sky or on the water. Since it was so dark and we were so far from the houses, my shutter speed was crazy slow which made the water look smooth and glassy instead of freezing the motion. Because of this I went out again two nights later and tried again at the blue hour, when the sun had just set. I think this time was a bit more successful, but I still wasn’t thrilled with the results. The angle and distance from the houses just didn’t make a compelling shot.

So here’s what I picked up from my shoots:

  • Be prepared. Dress for the weather, bring a tripod for long exposures (you’ll need them!) and a spare battery (they die quicker in the cold). If you’re in a rural area, bring a flashlight! You don’t want to be messing with your camera in the dark. Also choose your time, setting, and weather wisely. A clear night makes for better shots than any inclement weather or haze.

  • Choose your camera settings in advance.¬†I set my camera to aperture priority, chose a moderate aperture¬†and low ISO to reduce the noise and let the camera set the shutter speed as necessary. The first night I went out I bracketed my shots to get a good range of exposures to work with. The next night I just adjusted my exposure compensation by hand when I felt I needed to. You’ll want your shots to be brighter than you’d think, because you can recover more details when you edit them.
  • Editing is key.¬†Shooting in the city, you get lots of ambient light¬†and your lighting is mixed from all the different light sources. Adjusting the white balance in post is a must. I needed to adjust the crop drastically for every shot (my tripod didn’t have a smooth pan and tilt.)

So my first shots were of the bridge, and here’s the one I liked the best:

Not sure if you can see in a jpg, but the big dipper is at the top! 

Now I’ll show you boathouse row on my first shoot vs. my second shoot:


Better? But I still don’t love it.

Here’s a panorama of the Water Works:

There’s a lot going on here with no real focal point though.


A cute little building with a glimpse of the FMC Tower.


Gazebo, tree, boathouses.




So that’s what I wound up with. I think my bridge shot was the most successful, which is a bit disappointing since it was literally in the first 10 shots I took. I really wanted to make Boathouse Row happen, but I just didn’t have a great angle on it. I think I still underexposed most of my shots which is unfortunate. I didn’t rely on my histogram like Tony suggested (always listen to Tony)! But how’d I do?¬†

I can’t wait to see all your shots during the live show this week with our special guest, Kyle Wolfe!

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Live Show Recap: Light Painting

Hey there! This week we looked at your light painting photos and we got some good ones. And a bunch that were in tunnels.

Click this for joy. Then this to hear Chelsea sing.

Ok, we get into your photos here, these are our faves:

  • Porche. Porsh? Porsha. “Tony Northrup, who pronounces it “Porsh” like an animal”
  • weird HDR ghost town
  • “she’s like the queen of raves
  • Street Fighter
  • skull
  • don’t start a fire, don’t burn down boats
  • “you just said Greg is cooler?” “the cool judge”
  • abstract
  • Tron mask/light babe¬†“when you find a woman like that, you keep her”
  • spooooky couch
  • grainery¬†“You know what would have been great? If they’d light painted a chicken. No big deal, just a chicken.”


  • We tested the¬†Sigma MC-11¬†adapter. It did not go well.
  • Nikon D500¬†is here! Might be the best camera of the year. Keep an eye out for our review.
  • Nikon 200-500
  • Canon T6. Meh. It’s a fine entry level. “Come on guys, you gotta keep up with my mom.”

Over to me with some viewer questions:

  • Why does the camera not like LED? We get that answered by a viewer later. Cheap LEDs blink on and off constantly, so it doesn’t give you consistent light.
  • What was the best food T&C had in Portugal? A sandwich with cheese on top soaked in gravy. Bacalhau.¬†“You just offended all of Portugal”

Now let’s take a look at a viewer’s portfolio! Great images, great layout. Pare down your categories since you don’t have enough images to fill each. Less navigation the better.

Alright, let’s look at some more of your photos:

  • parallelogram” “That’s a trapezoid you noob”
  • “this is what you see when you die”
  • Space Invader! ‘Would you rather have a Pixelstick¬†or a pixie stick the size of a Pixelstick?”
  • “She blinded me with science” “I think it’s an illusion. I’m giving it five stars because I’m confused and disoriented.”
  • LEDsaber
  • FIRE ROPE¬†(please use extreme caution) “You won. You won light painting” “Sorry to everybody else who doesn’t have fire rope.”
  • “sparklers are definitely an outside firework”
  • illuminated rocks
  • real estate

Ok, back to me for some questions:

  • Sony overheating issues?¬†The a6300 overheated for us and wrecked a shoot. A7s has been fine though.

Let’s do some Chit-Chat! Our friend Elias-Emir Mahmood made this cool pop-art logo for us.

  • Tony showed up in a weird futuristic training manual. “Generic business guy”
  • Tony acted.
  • Andre Agassi wore a wig. But before that he had some serious neck beard.
  • Justin explains fire rope. ‘Ok, I sense a tutorial coming up and it’s going to be awesome and probably lethal.”

Ok, let’s blow through some more pictures before we end the show:

And back over to me for a few last questions, my house is very loud:

  • Does music inspire you? “Heck yeah!” “Eh.”
  • What is the connection between programmers and bird photographers? “Just nerds.” Patience, technical stuff. “I don’t believe in that brain stuff.”
  • What’s your experience with vintage lenses, are they viable for videography? None. But if it fits the mood of your video, try it!

And that’s a show! Next week we’ll be looking at fashion photos. Keep an eye out on our blog for some tips!




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How to Create Light Painting Photos

Want to submit your Light Painting Photo to Tony & Chelsea LIVE for review? Watch this weeks episode HERE. It airs Thursday nights at 5pm EST (check your timezone.)

Light Painting

Light painting is manually adding light to a long exposure. During a long exposure (say, 30 seconds,) you can walk through the frame without appearing in the final picture. This gives you the opportunity to walk around a picture and selectively add light wherever you’d like it. To help hide your movements, wear all black.

At its simplest, you might use light painting like a portrait photographer uses strobes‚ÄĒto improve the ambient light by filling in shadows. However, light painting is also a rapidly developing art form where people create amazing pictures using night landscapes and complex, custom-build light contraptions. Though he wasn‚Äôt the first light painter, Pablo Picasso showed the world light painting in 1949 when Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili visited him; Picasso had been inspired when Mili showed him his photos of ice skaters with lights attached to their skates, jumping in darkness.


Light Painting Tips:

  • Long exposure¬†Use bulb mode (learn how to set bulb mode on your camera here) and a remote shutter timer to keep the shutter open for minutes at a time. (Get a cheap remote shutter timer for Canon¬†and Nikon¬†here.)
  • Light source¬†You’ll need something to “paint” with such as a flashlight, glow sticks, or glow wire.
  • Keep moving¬†Whoever is doing the painting needs to keep moving so that they don’t show up in the shot.
  • Don’t set a fire¬†Be responsible out there, kids.

This is a small excerpt from the Night Photography chapter of Stunning Digital Photography. Read more on night photography here.