Painting With Light: A Unique Approach By Dave Black

1 hr 11 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

This is not your ordinary light painting technique. A Dave Black light painting is a photograph taken with a timed exposure using a mobile, constant light source to illuminate the scene. Complete darkness and total control over the exposure is key. The results will astound you. In this class, Dave Black teaches you his light painting technique by showing you his camera and focus settings, what type of flashlight to use for each scene, and how and where to apply the light. In addition, you’ll learn some common light painting errors and how to prevent and/or correct them.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Dave introduces the course and defines light painting.
A studio isn't needed to create a light painting. Learn where to take a light painting, what camera settings to use and how to make a blank exposure.
Learn how to use shafts of light and "dusting" to illuminate the subject. Dave replicates common mistakes and how to fix them.
Dave shows you how to get the desired lighting as he perfects the fishing scene. Then he imitates more common light painting errors to help you avoid them.
Learn how to light a picture with more territory.
Dave tries different techniques to improve the shot.
Create pockets of focus by unfocusing the camera mid shot. Dave elaborates on how to perfect this soft focus technique.
Dave talks about the gear he uses in this course.
Profile photo of Dave Black

Meet your instructor

Dave Black


As a freelance photographer for over 30 years Dave's work has primarily centered on the sports industry for such publications as Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek and the award winning TV show Sports Century on ESPN. The list of event coverage includes the Masters, Kentucky Derby, National Football League, NASCAR and extensive work regar...

Dave's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Joseph Crawford Joseph Crawford

    This was a very fun course to watch. Dave is one of the easiest instructors I have seen on training videos and absolutely love all of his videos.

    I loved this course and how he went into detail on his techniques. I had struggled for about a week trying to figure out how to get the soft focus technique with my camera and lens and was unable to. I contacted Dave asking for his advice on why I could not achieve the soft focus technique. He was very police and tried to assist and it turns out that due to my lens being an STM the focusing all takes place internally in the lens and while an exposure is being captured it disengages the motors for the focus ring.

    I have to buy a new lens to achieve the soft focus technique and cannot wait. For now I have been practicing light painting and MUST SAY that Dave makes it look really easy when in-fact I have been finding it rather difficult to get it the way I want it. I am a perfectionist through so…

  2. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Good course and well explained. Thanks ! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  3. Profile photo of Steve27 Steve27

    Dave, your down to earth delivery and enthusiasm make you second to none. I have been intrigued with your light painting since I first saw your classes. Thanks for the knowledge and techniques that you have shared! Extremely appreciated… —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of Ross Ross

    This class was my introduction to light painting and it really expanded the scope of what I’ve been doing with my night photography. Dave is a superlative teacher, getting his ideas across clearly and effectively. My camera bag now has its own special slot for flashlights. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of lollylatte lollylatte

    Dave Black is an excellent teacher. I love his lightpainting courses. He gives great details and makes it look quite easy. I am practicing on my small heirlooms and looking forward to trying it on a barn in warm weather. Thanks for a good addition to Kelby Training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of starfury starfury

    great course, but you shouldn’t put the gear guide (as bonus) to the back of the course.
    It should be up in front, because Dave makes some references to stuff he “talked about earlier” in the introduction and some times more which are quite confusing if one has not seen the gear guide already… —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of chabotr chabotr

    Thank you for this course. I really enjoyed the two on light painting. I attempted my first light painting photos with some pretty good results. I am quite happy with them, but there is still a lot to learn. Thanks again. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of mtwaggin mtwaggin

    Love it!!! Since it is too cold here to want to be outside doing photographs I now am going to experiment with this! I really enjoy Dave’s teaching style and it is clear and he makes it fun. You can tell he truly enjoys sharing this. I can’t wait to try it! FUN! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of jmacino jmacino

    Fun class! Enjoyed learning a new technique, and Dave’s down to earth style. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of SergeAMH SergeAMH

    Very interesting tutorial. I had never come across (knowingly) this photography technique. I’ll be sure to try it out now! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of D. Lee Owen D. Lee Owen

    Dave, you are the best. I’m not a pro, but I followed you just fine. And I am going to steal my husband’s LED flashlight and duck tape. I am locked in with snow and wondered what I was going to do this winter for some different images. Your class inspired me to try something new. And I’ll be learning more about light too. Thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of mchinault mchinault

    Love, Love, Love this course! Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of bullfinch bullfinch

    This is absolutely amazing and fantastic class! Watching it over and over again and can’t wait my weekend to try all the technic! Thanks very much Dave! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of john2728 john2728

    I loved it. Looks like some fun for the indoors winter time. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Diane Schulman Diane Schulman

    LOVE this course! Dave taught this course in a very straightforward, easy to understand manner. Excellent teacher! I can’t wait to try out the techniques!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Narkiko Narkiko

    Great Course, Dave at his best. I took the workshop in Las Vegas and covers all, this was a perfect review of all the topics we saw there. Very Enthus with Light Painting. I did not follow the advice of starting small and I had to go back from a house to table top :),definately good advice. ENJOYED IT A LOT. Donīt get too much interested, I donīt want much competition with this fun technique. :) I watch it all over to prepare for a three day Light Painting trip. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of Susan Liberto Susan Liberto

    This looks like fun and I cant wait to try it! Great rainy day project! Thanks Dave! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of jlilley1 jlilley1

    Excellent introduction to the subject. Very clear explanations…also liked the fact that he showed “mistakes” made during the light painting, because you learn a lot from the mistakes. Looking forward to more light painting courses with him… —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Angelia McLean Angelia McLean

    As a fine artist with traditional media this was like a fish to water for me. I love this! I’m itching to start my own light paintings.Loved the clear instructions and flow. Thank you —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of Robinson Acosta Robinson Acosta

    Excellent course. Great instructor. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of markmarquez markmarquez

    Sorry for the Newb question, how in the world do you get the camera to stay open for thirty seconds minute etc? I use a Canon 5d MK II —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of bermie32n64w bermie32n64w

    I was excited to see Dave Black doing this course as I admire his work. The techniques are interesting and something I’ve been wanting to play with more. As a full time photog, I do find much of it long winded. The significant time spent explaining the concepts behind manual exposure, manual focus, long exposures, NR & more to me was very unnecessary and made the course much more time consuming than need be. This course ran 70+mins and I feel it could have been covered in less than 20.

    Indeed I do understand that the majority of your customer base are amateurs with far less of a grasp on basic camera principles. I do feel its a bit redundant to include photography basics within the main body of a course on technique. Especially if that occurs in all courses (i haven’t seen a lot yet but so far this appears consistent).

    I would propose a couple ideas that may help these courses appeal more to those comfortable with the tools and primarily interested in technique, while still covering the basics for those that need it. In this course there was a “Bonus” video about the gear. Perhaps do something like this for the basic photography/camera concepts required to understand the technique. This way us pros can skip these and focus on the meat of the course. Possibly take this even further by adding a 2nd edit of the course cutting it to 1/3 the time by avoiding much of the filler explanation.

    I found it funny that (and no flack to Dave) he made mention a couple times that he hoped he wasn’t confusing anyone with all this info, while I was thinking it was too overly simplified and long winded in some of the explanations.

    Anyways, thanks to Dave for teaching us this cool technique and I definitley learned some cool light painting stuff. Thanks guys. Cheers,

    Chris —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of ejacobsen ejacobsen

    We saw Dave present in Salt Lake City last week. Fantastic! He mentioned this course in his presentation and we hopped right on to view it. This opens up a whole new world of photography for me and my son. We’re excited to start light painting and are glad to have Dave guiding us here in this well-produced course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of ta4evr ta4evr

    Loved this class!!!! I can’t wait to try it. It looks like so much fun!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

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