Four creative photo ideas using simple and affordable lighting

The Photography Co-op, also known as COOPH, has shared four easy ways for photographers to add extra visual interest to images by creatively using affordable light sources.

COOPH is known for being resourceful when it comes to different ideas, and mostly DIY-based, in an effort to make photography fun and less predictable. This time is no different, as COOPH photographers have shared different lighting setups that produce visually stunning results that can also be used and adapted for professional work.

COOPH purchased four different items to experiment with: a sound-sensitive atmospheric light with rainbow colors, two rainbow projector lights, a rotating star projector light, and a laser disco light.

sound-sensitive light

First, the team used the sound-sensitive light which, when ringing, lights up once it detects noise. It has a choice of different types of lights and colors, making it an interesting and versatile tool for light painting. The team set up their camera on a tripod with a small continuous LED light below the camera to illuminate the subject.

Then, using a long exposure, one of the photographers held the light and “painted” a path behind the subject as the camera took the shot. This resulted in a vibrant photo with a background that looks like sound waves and looks like an album cover. Photographers can paint the path in different directions depending on the subject.

A skull surrounded by colorful light painted effects A rainbow painted with light on a black background

A rainbow projector lamp

The second light source, the Rainbow Spotlight also known as the Sunset Light, illuminates a wall and photographers can bring it closer for a more intense but smaller circle of light or move it further away to brighten the background more.

A hand gesture with purple light behind

COOPH used two of the lamps to play with shadows on the wall as well as to illuminate a subject in different combinations, making the most of the different color modes the lamps have to offer. Changing the color and the distance between each light and the wall or subject can create a variety of results, especially for portraits.

A man with a blue light illuminating his face and a pink and blue background A man with two colored round lights shining above his hands

A rotating star projector

Third, the COOPH team used the rotating projector. For this, the team set up a tent, added some smoke haze, and let the project shine in all directions. The spotlight also worked for portraits, illuminating the background and giving a silhouette or glow to the subject’s face.

Stars and moon shining on a wall The silhouette of a man with stars and the moon projected on the wall behind him

A disco laser light

Finally, the team used the ability of a disco laser light to create different shapes, lights, and patterns all around the room, such as the rotating spotlight.

A mannequin illuminated by a pink spotlight A mannequin illuminated with pink light and green projected symbols

Of the four options, the team chose the rainbow spotlight lamp as the favorite due to its versatility in different shooting scenarios – it can be used as the main light, background color or to cast shadows.

You can find more photography tips and lighting ideas like these on COOPH’s YouTube channel.


Picture credits: All photos courtesy of COOPH.

Jack C. Nugent