Peter Travers recreates the futuristic-yet-retro neon look of the ’80s in this project using torches and plastic tubes!
Shoot an 1980s-inspired image with some retro light painting
Light painting is a great way to get into long‑exposure photography and offers up a world where we can control light and shape it
to suit our needs. Most of the time we use a powerful torch in low light or at night to visually paint a scene, with results often fantastical. However, in this project we’re going to place gelled torches in plastic tubes covered in translucent paper to create a light wand that features heavily in the creation of our ’80s inspired final photograph. The torch we’re using also has a stroboscopic effect built-in so we’re using this to our advantage to mimic a style reminiscent of 1980s film posters. Think of films like Tron and The
Terminator where the sleek, neon colours are both retro and contemporary in appearance.
With films like Super 8 and shows like Stranger Things harking back to this style, this period hasn’t been as popular since, well, the ’80s dude…
So, with our model kitted out like he’s from Miami Vice, and a soft-top car, we’re going to use the light wand to create these ace effects in-camera, and then polish off the colours in Photoshop later on for some more crazy visuals.
To get this looking good will take a lot of practice – it took nearly three hours longer than anticipated to do this shoot because once we got the technique nailed (after about an hour) it was too much fun to stop! So with that let’s jump in…