How to Master the Art, the Science

and the Business of Light Painting

with John Hartman

Learn how to create spectacular light painted images in an information-packed four day hands-on learning experience

2024 Workshop Dates:

May 20–23, 2024

August 19–22, 2024

Workshops will be held in Stevens Point, Wisconsin
at John’s studio


Click on photo to begin slide show.

Click on tabs below to learn more.

  • What is light painting?

    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.

    He utilizes as many as 200 separate images to create a single photograph. Light painting requires careful planning, a thorough understanding of light and strong photographic and post-processing skills.

    You will leave this workshop with all the information and tools you need to make stunning light painted images that cannot be created by any other method.

    Click to play time lapse video of an actual light painting project.

  • What's the light painting workshop like?

    John Hartman brings a vast wealth of knowledge acquired during his 48 years as a working professional photographer. His teaching experience spans 39 years, during which he has assisted tens of thousands of photographers at hundreds of conferences, conventions, seminars and workshops, including his highly acclaimed Las Vegas Marketing Boot Camps.

    John’s unique combination of artistic and technical skill, plus his ability to make complex processes easy to understand, help to provide an unmatched learning experience.

    Click to play time lapse video of an actual light painting project.

    What subjects will we be light painting?

    There will be two separate large scale light painting projects for each workshop. What we will be light painting will vary depending on availability, location and weather,. Subjects could include automobiles and other vehicles, homes, motorcycles, or aircraft. John will light paint the projects, but students will have the chance to assist in the lighting and exposure on both evenings.

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    What others say about John's workshop.

    If you are a photographer who loves having your work stand out in the crowd, and who expects to be able to actually sell the unique work you create, John Hartman's Light Painting workshop is what you have been searching for. John's unique style of light painting is very different from what the masses are producing, and falls more under the category of "fine art photography" than anything you can see on Flickr or other public sites. His method produces a "painting" that is both classy and quirky at the same time, and you will soon discover that your customers will be eager to purchase what you will be able to create for them when you utilize the training learned in his workshop.

    John is an excellent instructor, presenting his one-of-a-kind method in a clear, concise, patient, and hands-on style. All his images are "straight out of the camera," but do require compilation in Photoshop. He will teach you the necessary Photoshop skills in such a manner that even a PS novice will easily understand and be able to utilize the skills back home after the workshop. (BTW, if you do have questions after the workshop, John always make himself available to answer your questions and give you feedback on your images.) Like any other photography skill, there is a learning curve to this light painting, but John patiently walks you through the process, and takes pride in your future growth as a photographer. Oh, and marketing? John is the master at marketing, and will gladly share with you his many years of experience of how to turn your photographs into a bank deposit!

    You won't/can't learn how to light paint like this anywhere else, and very few people in the world are doing it at the level that John is. This is a "ground floor" opportunity in photography that you don't want to pass up!

    If you could use another revenue stream in your photography tool box (and who doesn’t?), John Hartman's Light Painting workshop is a guaranteed producer.  Besides all that, light painting the way John does it is just pure, unadulterated photography fun!
    Steve Templeton, Abilene, TX

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    I was amazed at the quality of light in John's images and wanted to see how it was done.The class was great! After seeing John light a still life set in the studio, we were able to light a project of our own. John was there showing us tricks all the way. We were then shown how to finish the image in Photoshop.I was able to produce in class a photograph that I can use to promote more light painting images to my clients. The content of the class was great including handouts that outlined everything talked about in class. This class will give you everything you need to start using this technique to produce beautiful artistic images! Ken Shepard, Bellevue, WA

    Best class I've ever taken. John is an expert instructor that will take the time to show you the process step by step and make sure that you will understand. I am using the technique and expertise learned to expand my photo business into the custom car market. Would recommend to anyone looking for a new niche. Bill Waibel, DeSoto, Texas

    Just wanted to say thank you for a great workshop! Your teaching style was straightforward, supportive, and approachable.  You broke the concepts down into simple steps and that is how my brain works so it made total sense! I can't wait to take what I've learned from you and merge it into something that I can do with my pet and equine photography.

    If you are considering attending and are serious about learning this technique, sign up now and learn from the best! Nicole Begley, Wexford, PA

    I had seen the work John was doing with the light painting and I thought it was beautiful. John is a good teacher. I thought the pace of the class was just right. It was easy to ask questions and have them addressed.

    It was a fun workshop. The experience was worth the investment, and I had a blast! Paul Crave, Beloit, WI

    John presents information with the ease and professionalism of someone who has obviously been doing this for many years.
    I see this as a VERY important product as I transition away from traditional studio and portrait work to a more fine art based business.

    Very much worth the investment. If you are seriously considering adding this type of work to your repertoire this workshop is a MUST. Mark Campbell, Wheeling, WV

    John’s images sort of evoke a Norman Rockwell quality that I really liked. The workshop was a worthwhile investment for me on all accounts, and I’m hoping to turn it into a profitable product line. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. It was fun! John Bender, Stroudsburg, PA
    John is a great teacher! He goes slow enough to makes his subject easy to follow! You can search the internet and find some basic light painting concepts but the details to get the great results are usually missing. John will shares the little tricks he has discovered! His art is wonderful! Herb Doller, Duncanville, TX

    John provided a clear demonstration of both the lighting and post-processing technique for studio and location light painting, combined with hands-on practice with the skills in a studio setting. He is a great instructor, especially in the small-group setting of his light painting workshop. He's patient and open to questions from participants. It's a highly focused class, but at the same time relaxed and friendly. You'll learn a lot and want to rush home and practice. Mark Turner, Bellingham, WA

    I am really glad I took the course.  John’s content and presentation were excellent. If you have even the smallest inkling about light painting, spend the money—its worth it! Gary Campbell, Santa Ana, CA

    If you're a photographer that wants to expand your abilities to create images and products that 99% of other photographers can't do, then John Hartman's workshop is for you.

    John takes you methodically step by step thru the entire process and shows you in detail what would almost be impossible for you to figure out on your own.

    What you end up with after the workshop is the knowledge and ability to go out and start immediately creating one of a-kind stunning images on your own.

    John Hartman was always the "King" of showing other photographers how to market. Now he is becoming the same with light painting for the photographer that wants to advance his or her skills in a whole new area. Kent Smith, Chanhassen, MN

    I was looking for something different to offer in my product line, as I have been seeing a steady decline in portrait clients.

    The workshop was FUN!! And not as complicated as I first thought it would be. John’s teaching style is very easy to follow and understand. If we needed him to go over something again, he did.

    WORTH EVERY MINUTE, all the energy and EVERY PENNY—DON’T WAIT!! SIGN UP TODAY!! Sharee Brownlee, Claysville, PA
  • What will you learn?

    • The art of previsualization. Painting with light requires that you know exactly what you want in advance. You can't try different angles or views later. Once your setup is finalized, there's no chance for tweaking it after the fact. You will discover how to get the best view right away—before you begin light painting.

    • Understanding and creating light direction. Unlike other types of photography, painting with light does not provide instant feedback on what you finished image will look like. Since you will be building your image from many smaller detail shots, it is very important to keep in mind how each shot will affect the general lighting of the final photograph.

    • Techniques for painting with light. Watch how John uses the added function of time (through long exposures) to make a tiny light provide the same effect as a huge soft box. See how to get perfect exposures, as you learn what to paint and what to leave out in every shot.

    • Strategies for managing large file sizes with dozens of layers. You can't just stack a hundred or more layered photos onto a single file without seriously bogging down your computer. John will show you an ingenious way to keep your file size down to a manageable level, even with a minimal computer setup.

    • Step-by-step process of adding individual photographs to your light painting. John will provide you with a custom action set that simplifies the building process of your light painting, saving you countless hours of tedious port-production work.

    • Adjusting, fine-tuning and preparing your image for the highest quality print. You will learn how to have total control of every element and layer in your light painting, even after it has been completed. Being able to adjust your image after seeing a test print lets you have complete flexibility to tone down highlights, bring up shadow detail, optimize sharpness, and even change the background.

    • The learning starts now and continues long after you get home. As soon as you register you will be added to a private Facebook page John has set up for all future, present and past workshop attendees. Here you can browse through dozens of images that others have done, get answers to questions, learn about the latest light painting gear and post your own light paintings for comments and constructive criticism—from people who understand light painting.

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  • How to create a market for your light paintings.

    John will show how to create product lines and attract clients who love what you do and will pay a premium price for your light paintings. Special attention will be given to marketing techniques, pricing strategies and merchandising and selling methods that could easily pay for your entire trip on your very first sale.

    The vast majority of John's light painting clients are male, which opens up a completely new market segment from the traditionally female portrait buyer. You will explore developing market niches an how to position yourself in front of people who can send you as much business as you care to handle.

    John will show you in great detail how he has acquired, cultivated and serviced light painting clients who have invested as much as $50,000 and more on his art.

    Light painting is definitely NOT just a diversion from your day-to-day work; it can be a lucrative and fun product line that will open doors to opportunities you probably never knew existed!

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

  • What equipment should you bring?

    • Digital camera. 35mm DSLR, mirrorless or medium format, with the ability to set long exposures (B or T setting required). Short wide angle and short telephoto lens (a 24-70mm would be perfect).

    • Remote shutter release and viewing system, either wired or wireless. Remote triggers such as PocketWizards are available for most cameras. Some cameras have a built-in wi-fi camera trigger controlled through a smartphone or tablet—check your instruction manual. CamRangers will work with most Nikon, Sony and Canon DSLRs.

    You will also need to be able to view your images remotely as they are being taken. Looking at the back of the camera is not possible, as the camera cannot be touched. Many camera systems allow wireless transfer of the images via a tablet or smartphone app. You can also shoot tethered directly to a laptop through Lightroom, CaptureOne or other RAW processor.

    IMPORTANT: be sure the remote trigger you have works on Bulb setting—many of the inexpensive ones do not. One that does is the PlutoTrigger, which is a very feature-rich trigger that does a lot more than just trigger the camera. This is what John uses, and it works flawlessly.

    • Tripod. The sturdier, the better. Even the slightest movement during the photo shoot requires starting all over again. A solid ball head will provide better support than a pistol grip.

    • Laptop or other computer (tower or all-in-one) with Photoshop, plus a tablet and pen. You will be working on files in class, and the painting techniques required to brush each layer into your finished image cannot be easily done with a mouse, and are almost impossible to do on your laptop’s trackpad. So if you aren’t yet using a tablet and pen, now is the time to get one, as you will most certainly benefit from it as you being your light painting projects.

    • Continuous lights and modifiers, plus spare batteries and chargers (click on link above).

    • A gray card or color checker, if you have one.

    • A simple tabletop still life setup of your choosing containing no more than five objects. These objects can be related (such as an old box camera, a roll of film, light meter, flashbulbs, etc.) or they can be totally unrelated. Try to bring objects in a variety of shapes, textures and materials, including shiny/polished, fabric or furry, smooth and rough. Previous students have brought food items, children’s toys, electronics, tools and collections. Your setup should take up no more than 3–4 ft. wide by no more than 2 ft. high. You can also bring fabric or material as a foreground to place the objects on, as well as a fabric or other material to use as a background. You may bring as many items as you wish, but you may only use five for your light painting project.

  • What information and skills will you need to know prior to coming?

    It is very important that you take the time to learn and understand a few concepts and functions before you get to the workshop, in order to be fully prepared to begin your light painting experience:

    • How to set up and operate your remote shutter release. There are many remote shutter release devices available, but it's very important that you get one that functions on the Bulb setting, such as the Pluto Trigger. If your camera has built-in wi-fi, check to see how to use your smart phone or tablet to operate your camera wirelessly without having to buy an external device.

    • How to create and use Layer Masks in Photoshop.

    • How to use a pen and tablet (make sure drivers are properly installed on the computer you bring).

    Please give yourself plenty of time to get up to speed on any of the above you're currently not familiar with. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn a new concept without knowing your basic toolset.

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  • What is the workshop timetable and agenda?

    Noon (doors open at 11:30)
    • Registration and meet & greet
    • Introduction to light painting
    • Tabletop still life light painting demonstration
    • Process files, create light painting in Photoshop demo
    Group Dinner—Courtesy White House Custom Colour
    • Continue creating the light painting in Photoshop demo

    • Now it’s your turn—set up and begin your tabletop light painting
    • Continue your light painting
    • Begin processing your files and creating your first light painting
    Group Dinner
    • Evening large scale light painting project demo with John

    • Process large scale project from the previous night
    • Continue processing your own light painted files from the previous day
    Group Dinner
    • Evening large scale light painting project (students will be able to shoot and light)

    • Process large scale project from the previous night
    • How to market, merchandise, price and sell your light paintings
    • Final Q&A, closing remarks
    • 4:00 Head home and light paint fearlessly!

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  • 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.

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


    The workshop fee is $1650, payable upon registration.

    Space is limited—register now!

    You can cancel any time up to one week prior to the workshop for a full refund less $100 registration fee.


    When you register you will get full access for life to John’s Light Painting Classroom:
    A 25-video complete light painting tutorial series you can begin watching today!
    This $550 educational series is yours FREE with your workshop registration.

    John Hartman Light Painting Workshop—Stevens Point, WI

    May 20–23, 2024
    August 19–221, 2024

    The workshop is hosted by John in his home town and will be held at his studio.

    Air travelers will fly into Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA), located twenty minutes north of Stevens Point. CWA is served by Delta, United and American Airlines.

    John recommends that everyone stay at the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Stevens Point, located just three blocks from his studio.The hotel provides free shuttle service to and from the airport, and you won't need a car when you're here. He has arranged for a great workshop rate, which includes a free breakfast.

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    The group rate at the Cobblestone is $161 for a Standard Queen or $171 for a King.

    To book your room, click here to go to the Cobblestone web site, enter your dates and click "Book Now". Click on the "Special Codes" menu and under the Corporate/Promotion Code, type 'photo'. Click "check availability" and your rate will come up under Hartman Workshop.

    Phone registrations 715-326-0527 M–F, 9–5 CDT

    Questions? Call John directly at 715-326-0527 or use the e-mail contact link below

  • Does John do private workshops?

    If the workshop dates above don't fit into your schedule, you can host your own private workshop with John.

    If you can get three others and yourself to agree on a date and location, he will give a private workshop for you at the same regular workshop tuition rate.

    And if you can get seven others to come at the regular rate, your tuition will be waived.

    John also does one-on-one instruction at higher rates.

    Contact him below for more information.

  • What about on-line learning? Are there videos available?

    Yes! John has created Light Painting Classroom, a 25-video tutorial that takes you step-by-step through the entire light painting process from preparation, to lighting, to photography, right through to the final edit. Thoroughly researched and expertly produced, this educational series provides you with a way to learn light painting at home at your own pace.

    A lifetime subscription to Light Painting Classroom is $500, but is provided free of charge to all registrants of the John Hartman Light Painting Workshops. Conversely, if you choose to buy it now, 100% of your purchase price goes towards the tuition at any of John’s future light painting workshops. So if you’d rather learn at home, you can. And if and when you’re ready for the full hands-on live experience, you have a $500 credit towards your tuition—it’s like getting it for free!