Light Painting with Eric Paré

Jun 1, 2016

Eric Paré is a Canadian visual artist who has been performing light-painting all around the world since 2013. When he is not traveling in deserts or by the sea, he can be found in his studio in Montreal where he has developed a full 360 degree camera system with his team. His most recent international projects were made with Adobe, Twitter, Bacardi/Dewar’s, Dom Perignon and Fotolia.

Eric picked up a handful of our Photoshop products and has been dropping us finished images ever since. With the release of his new behind-the-scenes film “Signs of Light,” we couldn’t help but get the scoop on what goes into his unique images.

Your style of photography is quite unique. Give us an overview of this technique and what’s involved?

I’m a photographer, but I spend my time in front of the camera instead of behind. But even then, I’m never visible. That’s what light-painting is about. I draw light by hand, generally in one second. I disappear by hiding behind the model and making sure I don’t get hit with the light.

I did my first experiments in a 360 degree system where my light-painting was captured in 3D. I had quite a good success with my first bullet-time stop-motion light-painting project LightSpin, but a few months later, I realized that the technique itself was also very cool using a single camera.

 

Eric Pare

Edited with Fog and Shimmer

Eric Pare

Edited with Fog and Shimmer

Eric Pare

Edited with Fog and Shimmer

My first non-360 project was with Fotolia and digital artist Mike Campau. It involved a very intensive composite on top of my light-painting. I did some attempts by myself in the months following the project, but never got happy with the results. It’s only recently that I started doing composites with my pictures, adding Shimmer, Fog, and other craziness from the Lens Distortions store (thanks to this Fstoppers article for making me discover those packs!)
In my pictures, the light-painting and the reflection are always 100% real (created by hand). Using a wireless remote control and a DSLR in bulb mode, I move my light behind Kim, creating all sort of shapes. She has that super power of being able to keep a very stable pose which gets me those crisp/clean images.

“I’m a photographer, but I spend my time in front of the camera instead of behind. But even then, I’m never visible. That’s what light-painting is about.”

You describe yourself as a visual artist. Did you start in photography and develop this technique and style over time, or did you start out with these visual compositions in mind?
I learned photography a long time ago and did a few years as a professional photographer, but I got bored of it. I felt like I wasn’t bringing anything special, so I stopped for a while. I started back 3 years ago after a crazy month of experimentation in my pitch black studio. It is through intensive sessions of trial and error that I came up with the one-second technique that I still use a lot today.
Tell us a bit about how you use Lens Distortions effects in your work.
Lens Distortions packs are great add-ons for me as I use effects to fill some empty parts of my pictures. They give me options and help me get a good balance in the overall composition. They’re easy to use and fit well with my style.
Eric Pare

Edited with Fog and Shimmer

Eric Pare

Edited with Fog

Eric Pare

Edited with Fog and Luminary

Any fun stories from your projects?
When we went to Holbox for the second time, we were having high expectations about the weather and the visuals we would get since we had a heavenly experience the year before. When we arrived, the wind was very strong and it was cold at night, so we couldn’t shoot by the sea. We managed to find another place inside the island, a calm swamp.
The second night we were shooting there, the water level was higher, right below my knees. I remember thinking to myself : “I hope there are no animals in here…” The next day during breakfast, we looked at a map of the island to see if we could find another place where the water was calm… And I saw a crocodile image near our previous spot. After some research, we found that they organized tours to see crocodiles near the place we were shooting at!
We still went back for a third night. But that last shoot there was ridiculously stressful. Even though we were told by locals that they were too small to attack human beings, each time I would leave to go look at the cameras, Kim would scan the area with light and uselessly search for something in the night… Nothing was different from the previous nights, except our frame of mind. The best part was at the end, when we decided to stay in pitch black for 10 minutes to do a long exposure shot of the stars.
Photo Credits:
Eric Paré & Kim Henry
Eric currently uses Luminary, Shimmer, Fog, and Principle Light Hits from Lens Distortions.

Lens Distortions packs are great add-ons for me… They give me options and help me get a good balance in the overall composition.

Eric Paré

Visual Artist

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