My painted with light technique explained

Because of my Nostalgia series I received a few inquiries about the “Painted with light” technique. About what it is and how it works. So, I decided to write a small article about it. This way, everybody who is interest in it can read it.

This article is now in full available on my own website so continue reading and get those creative juices flowing!

Now available as a calendar


  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 6 years ago

    An enlightening article! (pardon the pun) I am not a professional photographer, so I’ll admit some of this went over my head, but your work is inspiring and beautiful.

  • What went over your head Alison?
    Just ask for more detailed explanations of that part, I’m happy to help you out.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Jacqueline Baker
    Jacqueline Bakerover 6 years ago

    When i’ve got some props and swept the kids out the door i’m gonna try this…one question though…is it the props that give the vintage color, i know they give the vintage look because of their age but i mean the muted colors or is it the light techniques?

  • It’s both. First of all, all the props have warm colours like brown and red. Even the green of the bottle has some warmth in it. Secondly it’s the light. To be more precise, it’s using “the wrong” white balance for artificial light. I set my WB in such a way that I get a yellowish cast. This you’ll have to experiment with your camera and your light source. If I’m not happy with it, I might enhance the effect a little with Photoshop, which is an important tool in the creation of these images.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 6 years ago

    Peter, I just have a little digital camera that I point and shoot at what interests me. Shutter speeds, pixels, exposure, even photoshop, and all those technical aspects are just a few of the things I’m muddling my way through!
    Something I would like to ask specifically about though is “white balance”.
    Can you explain that a little more?

  • Hey Alison, White Balance or WB in short. This is the way a digital camera handles the incoming light, or, to be more precise the colour temperature.

    Light, all light, has a property called colour temperature. This temperature is very different for, for example, sun light or artificial light, but there is also a lot of difference between sun light and shade, or between the different types of artificial light.

    Normally, a camera is set to auto WB and will detect de colour temperature and hence decide on the right setting of it to give you a realistic reproduction of the colours. Now we are getting somewhere. My camera for example has problems with artificial light. So, if I want a correct reproduction of the colours, I have to set it by hand. If I shoot my torch light with auto WB I get a yellowish cast. By manually setting the WB I can either correct this, or, even enhance it. If I set the WB totally wrong for the type of light, I can even get a green cast, or a red one.

    You see where I’m getting at?
    Here’s an article on colour temperature that goes a little deeper then my silly explanation:

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 6 years ago

    Oh okay! Thanks for that! I shall have to play around with my camera a little!

  • SharonAHenson
    SharonAHensonabout 6 years ago

    Peter this article has put a bug in me and I am going to do a little more study on it and give it a try. May I contact you for help???? Thank you , you have given me a new project to think about and work on !!!!! Can’t wait !!!!

  • Hi Sharon, of course you can contact me! Sorry for the slow response, but I’ve been on holidays.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • JLHopgood
    JLHopgoodabout 6 years ago

    Thanks for this, I’m going to give it a try too. I’ve the perfect prop! watch my space!! lol

  • Alright! Have fun and let me know when you get some results.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Ann Garrett
    Ann Garrettabout 6 years ago

    Fabulous tutorial, superb results you get – can’t wait to have a go. Cheers. Ann :)

  • I’m happy you like it Ann, have fun with your “go”. :)
    I have just shot a new one myself. It’s in the “Is it finished?” fase right now. As soon as I declare it finished I’ll upload it to redbubble and use it to extend this tutorial just a little.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • twinkletwinkle
    twinkletwinkleabout 6 years ago

    Wow, thats really interesting!! Im so glad you made this available to everyone, since some dont want their ‘tricks of the trade’ made known! Thanks for sharing. I’ll have a go when I get a better camera!

  • Great! If you get some results, keep us posted.

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Astrid Pardew
    Astrid Pardewabout 6 years ago

    How very wonderful and generous of you to share! Thank you!! x

  • Your most welcome, now give it your best shot! :)

    – Peter Zentjens

  • Rob Brooks
    Rob Brooksabout 6 years ago

    great article…….
    time for some experimentation (alone, in a small dark room.. hahaha…)

  • Like the say on RB: Please play nice!

    And don’t forget to show us your experiments.

    – Peter Zentjens