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Speeding along the highway in our van, we could see the storms rumbling and flashing on the horizon. They were ours for the taking.

But by the time we arrived, they’d moved elsewhere or fizzled out entirely. As a photographer, that’s just how it goes, sometimes. When conditions aren’t perfect, it’s time to get creative. 

So we decided to make some fine art photos with a couple of flashlights and some balloons.

Here’s my favorite shot of the night, taken by Stephanie Wolden:

Tucson - Stephanie Wolden

To get this strange and interesting scene, we set our cameras on our tripods and set our shutter speeds to around 30 seconds, with a high ISO of about 1200.

Then we hit the shutter and “painted” the fence and cactus with flashlights. We stretched a pink balloon over one of the flashlights, and a blue balloon over the other. That way, when the light shines through the latex, you get a color showing up in your shot.

We tried a few other colors, too:

Tucson - colorful fence

But the pink and blue combo was our favorite in the end:

creative photos

We also tried a little “light drawing” by pointing a flashlight directly AT the camera and writing or drawing with it while the shutter is open. Here’s one where we spelled out “Arizona” across the desert. 

Tucson - Keri Woodring

Keri Woodring

And here’s one where we managed to “dot the i”… 

Tucson - Rosanne Tackaberry

Rosanne Tackaberry

These “light painting” and “light drawing” photos are a lot of fun to make – and staggeringly easy to pull off. But where would you sell creative photos like this?

It’s not really a stock shot… nor is it editorial, unless you’re doing a story about light painting in the Arizona desert.

But you could sell something like the above shots as fine-art prints, or submit the best ones to contests. Kristen does both, and it pays off… in thousands of dollars.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Even if you’re not sure where your photo will sell right off the bat. You may be surprised later.

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