Lighter Photography




You can make artistic photos with your digital camera, a lighter, and a tripod.

Step 1: The Tools

You only need three things.
1. A digital camera.
2. A tripod.
3. A lighter

A subject for your photo i.e. me.

I bought my tripod at Best buy for $30. It is very nice.

Step 2: Set Up You Camera.

On your digital camera find the option for exposure. On my Sony it is under menu. Make sure the exposure is +2 for over exposure. this over-exposes the camera so it is senitive to light.
My ISO setting was 100 but 400 is the most senitive to light.

Step 3: Set Up the Area.

Set up the tripod and turn off the lights in the room. Make sure no excess light from windows etc. do not bleed through a photo. Use the bathroom if you must.

This is the area where I shot the photos, oviously it has to be dark.

Step 4: Take the Photos.

You can use the timer option but I did not. I just pushed the shutter button and turned on the lighter. Anyway when you hear the shutter about to go off with a timer or when you pushed the button on the camera, immmediately turn on you lighter and keep it lit.
It will take some time to get the timing just right but in the end the photos are sweet (do people still say sweet?)

Experiment with shutter speeds if your camera has them and ISO settings.
Move the flame around to get some cool shots.
Have fun!



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    20 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I just use the camera in bulb mode with a remote shutter release. As soon as I press and hold the button, I flick the lighter. Then, as soon as flame comes out, release the shutter button. You'll get nice spark effects.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    These flames are almost as cool as those you can make with Apophysis... except one is digital... and makes a better background... but is impossible to use for a first time user... You can't have everything. -PKT

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Also, It's very smart to light up your zippo in a room full of what looks like important papers... LOL! Just kiddin', the photos look great. -PKT


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have done it before :D It is my name


    I've done this before, the pictures always turn out really beautiful. My favorite is to take lighter-pictures outside when the sun is almost down.


    11 years ago on Step 2

    Let me guess, you couldn't take a picture of your only digital camera, so you just substituted this 80s P&S. Right? :-) K.


    Im guessing you saw this on ebay in galleries of antique lighters or someone gt that idea because we started selling to people all round the world mainly due to the eyecatching photos in which people constantly asked us about it (it's no more as my dad died and I don't have time to repair and sell antique lighter) Our best ones tended to be 1 sec shutter speed widest aperture and holding the camera in one hand and sparking the lighter with other (produces a natural looking result)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    You might do even better using Photoshop and an unlit lighter. The advantage is that the hand and lighter are in clear detail (or as clear as you choose) and the flame/sparks can be any color. I prefer to use a very light gray on a fuzzy brush and adding low color highlights of yellow and blue and a touch of red. Then I use liquify to move it around, dodge to provide highlights, and the Gaussian blur tool to smooth the final result. There may be a Photoshop tutorial somewhere on the internet that covers flame and sparks, smoke, etc.. I can't recall where or when I learned this, but probably in Photoshop 3 or 4.

    Von Klaus

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Well my digital camera is not that great. It is about a year old. But i use mostly film and I have a Pextax K1000. It's very nice. but not super.

    I'd just like to point out that what the camera is doing when you up the exposure is making a longer shutter speed, and possibly a larger aperture (less likely, as your photos blurred some) Also, instead of saying 400 iso is the most light sensitive, just the the higher the number, because 400 just happens to be the highest your camera has. My camera, for example, can go up to 1600. Otherwise, a good instructable.