What’s our creative time worth? {72 Lightpaintings, Redux}

Composition, lighting, and color, has stood at the center of my lightpainting for three years. I strive for consistency, cohesion in creativity. And lots of contrasting color.

In creating a signature image, I pour tons of escorting including:

4 hours to manage logistics / admin / travel >> 2 hours inspiration >> 60 minutes to prep >> 30 minutes to conceive >> 15 minutes to explore >> 5 minutes to shoot.

All this to create ONE image. The process continues:

15 minutes to edit >> 20 minutes to share >> 30 minutes to design and print >> 60 minutes to ship.

Whew! Together that represents ballpark 1,000 hours of work. Just to create these 72 images:
wpid-how_to_lightpaint_1-2011-11-14-00-152.jpgwpid-how_to_lightpaint_2-2011-11-14-00-152.jpgwpid-how_to_lightpaint_3-2011-11-14-00-152.jpgwpid-how_to_lightpaint_4-2011-11-14-00-152.jpgwpid-how_to_lightpaint_5-2011-11-14-00-152.jpgwpid-how_to_lightpaint_6-2011-11-14-00-152.jpg
A creative style isn’t created overnight. It takes years of practice, thousands of hours, and tons of mistakes (I’m good at those). Yet, I stand fearless to creative something I’ve never seen before on each shoot…. these images I stand proud to sign as a piece of originality, a piece of me. Looking back, I’m exhilarated to glance this set of ilghtpaintings. I see myself in this tight edit, style.

Creative Geek Confession: I Paint from the Heart
I draw on years painting. Deep in my soul, I am still a painter, yet fall in love over and over again with photography due to the immediacy the medium provides. Alas, I find myself in search of a new canvas: medium format digital. Not sure it is yet for me, but fun to entertain to notion of shooting more of my creative portraits of couples in love at Burning Man. I balance the imagination and thrill of an expensive purchase from Capture Integration with practicality and wisdom from Laurence Kim, I find myself in creative limbo. I’m happy with duel Nikon D-700s, but does that lead to stagnation? Does one wait for a 24 megapixel Nikon D-SLR called the D-800 or D4? Or go with a tried-and-true 22-megapixel PhaseOne/Mamiya 645 medium format camera with a pre-used Leaf Aptus 22 back for $6,000? In the end, I stand true to the fact that the camera doesn’t make a good photographer.

You get the point. The bulk of creative work doesn’t come from actual shooting. In fact, 10% does. Perhaps I should charge more? How do I justify the cost of new equipment for client work vs. personal work? (How) Does equipment matter? Should I shoot for film / medium format film / medium format digital to closer match what I imagine? These are questions I struggle with.

Lightpainting ‘Moments’
After a critique from Ben Chrisman at the Foundation Workshop in New Orleans, I’m now in pursuit of capturing more ‘moments’ in my lightpainting. Here’s the first of many creative portraits yet to come… policemen in the French Quarter, a contrast of transportation, old and new (thanks to Matt Steaffens for being an awesome shadow of inspiration):wpid-old_new_french_quater-2011-11-14-00-152.jpg
You see, there are no easy answers when it comes to defining a particular photographic or artistic style, only to re-affirm what makes you happy and what you feel you are good at. Simple as that.

Photographers: I encourage you to seek to create something different with your lighting style. Not sure how? I offer private lightpainting mentoring detailed here and share a ton of tips and tricks here. Drop a comment and I’m happy to help!

5 Responses to “What’s our creative time worth? {72 Lightpaintings, Redux}”

  1. becky g. — November 15, 2011 @ 5:48 am (#)

    You’re quite right, I enjoyed this post! One of the things that I admire about you is your courage to create newness in your art. Great image from the French Quarter!

  2. Chris Enzaldo — November 19, 2011 @ 6:46 pm (#)

    Epic arrangement of all those moments! I’d buy that book.

  3. Brooke Summer Photography — December 12, 2011 @ 12:30 pm (#)

    WOW what an awesome collection! This is something I still haven’t played with yet, maybe in the next couple of months. :) Although we did it at our wedding!

  4. Pingback: Light painting like Leibovitz with Dark Arts | Kern-Photo

  5. Eligio — June 19, 2013 @ 8:28 am (#)

    Olá, gostei muito das suas fotos ligtpainting, ficaria muito orgulhoso em aprender, sou do Brazil.

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