Light Painting Classroom

by John Hartman

Discover the art and science of light painting

Learn how to create spectacular light paintings from one of the nation’s top experts.
Step by step high quality instructional video series show you how to make photographs with LED flashlights that can’t be made by any other method.


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  • What is Light Painting Classroom?

    John’s style of light painting involves making long exposures of a subject using continuous lights and then blending those exposures in Photoshop to create the desired look.

    Light painting is not easy, nor is it intuitive. It requires careful planning, a thorough understanding of light and strong photographic and post-processing skills.

    Over the past five years, John has taught his light painting methods to hundreds of photographers throughout the US in his four-day live workshops. During that time he has refined his teaching skills to make the complex techniques easy to understand and fun to learn.

    John has now developed a series of video tutorials called Light Painting Classroom that will take you step by step through the entire light painting process in the comfort of your own home or office. He will show you the tools and skills required for lighting and editing your files that produce incredibly beautiful light paintings!

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  • What is included in Light Painting Classroom?

    Light Painting Classroom is an instructional series of twenty-five separate videos that encompasses the entire technique, method and process of light painting.

    Each video covers a specific topic, so you don’t have to sit through an entire long video to get the specific information you need.

    Ranging in length from around two minutes to 55 minutes, these fast-paced videos are tightly scripted and edited with high production values including ultra-sharp 4k resolution and studio quality sound.

    Additionally, John has included a series of fifteen ‘Build’ videos that he created to showcase his work to potential clients. These videos, each about 30 seconds long, show the individual shots made during the photo shoot, followed by a “build” of each individual layer being added to the master file, resulting in the finished photograph. You’ll learn how to make your own Build videos to promote your work.

    You’ll also get John’s Light Painting Actions, a set of Photoshop actions that John has created and improved with the help of some of the best Photoshop minds in the business. These actions will greatly speed up your workflow as you create your light paintings.

    And finally, you’ll get a six page PDF Tips booklet with instructions and reminders from the video series to keep with you in the field during your photoshoot, as well as during your editing process. These tips can be printed or viewed on your device to help keep you on track as you produce your light paintings.

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    You’ll see John light all 63 separate images in this picture, and then watch how he edits it, one photo at a time.

    Click to play ‘Build’ video of a light painting project created for Lightroom Classroom. You’ll watch the entire photography and editing process in real time.


  • What topics are covered in the Light Painting Classroom videos?

    Twenty-five instructional videos cover every aspect of light painting. Topics include:

    • Introduction to light painting

    • Required photographic, editing and lighting tools

    • How to make custom white balances for all your lights

    • How to light your subject

    • Importing, adjusting and processing RAW files for use in your light paintings

    • Adding each new file to your project

    • Using the Light Painting Custom Actions to speed your workflow

    • John has included five complete light painting projects of different subjects:

    —a classic automobile
    —an aircraft
    —a studio still life
    —a motorcycle
    —a house

    For all of these subjects you will see John light paint each individual area of the scene, with a narrated explanation of why it was done.

    Then, in a separate video, you’ll watch him build the image in Photoshop, one photograph at a time, again narrating how and why each one was used.

    The videos are arranged to provide you with a logical and easy-to-understand progression of light painting from start to finish.

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    Sixty separate exposures were made to create this light painting .

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    You will see John photograph and edit this aircraft.

  • What equipment and skills will I need?

    You probably already own much of the equipment you need for light painting, and what you don’t have is relatively easy and inexpensive to obtain. The basic tools are:

    • Camera with a Bulb shutter speed setting (almost all have one)
    • Lens in the 28mm to 85mm range (a 24-70mm zoom is perfect)
    • Sturdy tripod
    • Computer with RAW processor (Lightroom, Adobe Camera Raw, CaptureOne) and Photoshop
    • A standardized gray card or Passport ColorChecker for use in white balancing your lights

    Other necessary capabilities include:

    • A way to trip the shutter without touching the camera (i.e. through a wi-fi app, electronic cable release, tethering to a computer or a device such as a Pluto Trigger, PocketWizard or CamRanger)

    • A way to view the images without looking at or touching the back of the camera (such as tethering to a computer, a using a wi-fi app or CamRanger to send files to a tablet)


    The lights you need will be in part determined by the type of light paintings you wish to create. John owns six lights for the different projects he works on, but generally only uses two or three on any given project. And they’re not expensive ‘photography’ lights, either—most of them fall in the $39–$185 range. You can see John’s lighting toolset here.

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  • How much does Light Painting Classroom cost? And how to I view the videos?

    The lifetime membership fee for Lightroom Classroom is $500. Your membership allows you to view the videos as often and as long as you’d like. John will be adding content in the future, which will forever and always be free to members.

    When you register, you will be directed to a log-in page where you will sign in with your user name and password. The videos are grouped by topic and are easy to find and view from any computer, television, tablet or smartphone. Of course, to take advantage of the 4k resolution, a computer monitor or 4k TV is recommended.

    In addition, upon registration you will be invited to join the John Hartman Light Painting Facebook page, a members-only group consisting of previous Light Painting Workshop and Classroom students. It’s a great place to ask questions, provide advice and share images with several hundred light painting enthusiasts from all over the world.

    And finally, (and this is BIG) if you decide at some point in the future to attend one of John’s Light Painting workshops, your full purchase price for Lightroom Classroom will be applied towards your workshop tuition. It’s like getting it for free!

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    John has created a profitable niche from his light painting product lines.

  • What do others say about Light Painting Classroom?
    “I have going through your Light Painting Classroom the last few days and I find it nothing but fantastic. The videos play flawlessly. Sound and image quality is superb. The graphics and zooming in on important stuff is a great added feature to training. I would highly recommend these to anyone wanting some invaluable information on how to light paint almost anything, and the equipment and tools to do it right.” Kent Smith
    “A high quality production, wouldn't have expected anything less. Having done the workshop this series allows me to recall what I learned, but nothing beats the hands-on workshop.This project was well done—you always have been a great instructor and innovator.” Kevin Raber
    “The videos were incredibly detailed and very inspiring. They were organized so if I needed to refer back and see something, the topics were easy to find. And they were just about the right length for my attention span.

    Light Painting Classroom paints a step by step, incredibly detailed, picture of what you need to get started light painting, processing images with time saving actions, and finished projects. Examples range from small table top setups to airplanes, cars and houses!” Alison Miniter
    “Very well done. $500 is a great value for this very thorough course. The ability to replay is wonderful and a great way to refresh some of the finer points.” Pati Bryant
    “LOVE LOVE LOVE, so awesome to be able to go back and review again and again and take my time to understand each part. The quality is superb, easy to hear and understand. John is amazing at light painting. Who wouldn't want to learn from him in any way you can?” Dianna Rucker
    “Your explanations and examples are very clear and straightforward. It's great to be able to pace the learning process and to go back to review a video if I missed something or have any questions about the process. I think it's a ‘no-brainer’.” Rick Markovich
    “Nice work! There definitely is a lot of great content here. Easily worth $500. The videos cover all the required topics and explains what light painting is, how to create the images, and what the finished products should look like. Great value on its own, but even better that the money spent can be used to attend a live workshop.” Scott Weishair
    “Wow!! Just Wow!!! I’ve watched several of the videos, read part of the manual and just Wow!  So many things are now clear than when I began several months back. Again, thanks and this is worth every single penny!” Greg Blount
    “Great production values. Good flow, well organized, shows the step by step the entire process in a logical order. Light Painting Classroom is great stand alone product but getting full price discount for a live class is a great deal. Keep up the good work! ” Edward DeBano
    “I'm very impressed with the very detailed amount of information that's included. I had no problem finding the topics I wanted to review. It allows you to go over anything you still might have questions about—over and over again if you need to. What a great value (raise the price now)! While there's no substitute for learning and watching these done in person, (I've been to two of them and I'm signed up for a third one), this certainly will give you a good idea as to whether this is something that you would like to try ahead of time. Well done, John!” Michael Anderson
    “The videos are great for someone that has never done or just learning light painting. Thank you for all you have done to raise the level of skill, quality and professionalism to the photography industry. What I have learned from you has made a big difference in my quality of life!” Daniel Butler
    “The videos are informative and give a great overview of the light painting process. Being able to re-watch portions of the videos is very helpful and provide reference as I actually light paint a project. The organization and quality are very good. The content is well developed and can get someone started in light painting.” Gary Jones
    “Light Painting Classroom was well thought out and easy to navigate, jam packed with useful information that teaches you all about the light painting process. The video quality is excellent and well thought out that take you through the whole process. Users will be able to go back to a certain video to refresh their memory or reinforce what they have learned. And by purchasing this classroom they do not have to commit to travel expenses and full price of the live workshop. They can ‘test drive’ the Light Painting experience and see if it's a product line they can add to their business.” Mark Allan
  • Who is John Hartman?
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    Accomplishments and awards

    John Hartman has owned and operated Contemporary Photography in Stevens Point, WI since 1974, specializing in creative high school senior and family portraiture. His work has received the highest awards in state, national and international competitions.

    John is also a highly sought-after educator, teaching at photography schools throughout the nation and being a featured keynote speaker at national photographic conventions and events since 1983. For 20 years, his sold-out John Hartman Marketing Boot Camps held in Las Vegas have helped thousands of professional photographers throughout the world build their business and expand their creativity.

    Since 2009, John has been a member of the Q Artists Cooperative, a group of member artists dedicated to providing central Wisconsin with unique local art.

    In addition to his busy portrait practice, John invests time outside the portrait industry researching and practicing new and innovative photographic techniques. During the course of this research he discovered light painting, which, though having been around since the early days of film photography, takes on a completely new dimension when created with digital imaging.

  • John’s Light Paintings

    Click on player to see a gallery of John’s light painting images.