Photo Trick: Frame Your Subjects Using Flashlights

by Kim Jackson

Take a playful photo for your scrapbook pages by having your subjects draw frames around their faces. While sparklers are typcially the method of choice for this sort of technique, you can have some photo fun even in no-firework zones or while camping. Just use mini flashlights that you can pick up at your local dollar store. Using flashlights also gives you more control over your light, as you can turn off the flashlights when you're done taking your photo.


Photo with Flashlight Frames

Photo by Jamie Harper.

Camera Settings

DSLR: Mode: Manual (M) | F-stop: 5.6 | Shutter speed: 8.0 sec. | ISO: 100.

Point-and-shoot: Firework


How to Create Flashlight Frames

  1. Make sure that when you start shooting, it is totally dark. Stand away from street lights or your campfire and turn off any additional lights. this will allow the light from the flashlight to be the only light entering the camera, resulting in crisp, clear frames or easy-to-read letters.
  2. Use a tripod or other stable surface. By stabilizing your camera, you can eliminate any extra blur that may result from having your shutter open for a long time.
  3. Set your shutter speed to as long as it takes for the slowest person to draw a frame around his or her face. Here, Jamie Harper set her shutter speed to 8.0 sec.
  4. To make sure you can see your subject's face in the photo, turn your flash on. It will fire as the shot begins and illuminate their faces.
  5. Set your focus by shining a flashlight on your kids, and pressing your shutter button halfway down.
  6. Have your subjects draw their design for the entire time that the shutter is open.


Check out Scrapbooking Ideas for Every Season for more fabulous seasonal photo tricks.


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cool shot!
I wonder, did she leave the flashlight (used for focus) on the whole shot of just prior to focus?
Photo Trick
New to this site~ Excited to try this lighting trick!
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