Orange & Blue By Michelle Esssenson
CREDIT: Michelle Essenson

Online Light Painting Workshop with Michelle Essenson

Event info

Explore the wonderful world of light-painting and learn how to create beautiful and unique images for yourself. Maximum 10 places.

Day 1: Sunday 14 November 10:00 – 13:30 GMT

Day 2: Sunday 28 November 10:00 – 13:00 GMT

The workshop consists of two half-day zoom sessions and a two-week practice period.

The practice period includes small-group mini-zooms tailored to specific participant needs, and additional tutor access via email. This gives every participant the opportunity to develop their own skills and personal style to produce interesting and unique images.

The workshop is suitable for people with any level of photography experience, who would like to explore lightpainting. To date, participants have ranged from beginners through to FRPS. 

Image: Steve Peel (attended previous workshop)

The workshop is structured as follows:

Session I: The aim of the first session is to build a firm foundation and prepare participants with the knowledge they need to start their own lightpainting. This includes:

  • Live demonstrations of a variety of tools and techniques and plenty of opportunity to ask questions. In the demos, Michelle uses technology which enables you to see each stroke of light as it is being added in to a lightpainting image.
  • How to make your own effective lightpainting tools from a variety of inexpensive/recycled items.
  • All the necessary practical skills including how to setup your camera, work out suitable exposure settings, and how to focus in the dark. (It is useful to understand the exposure triangle and to know your way around your own camera’s menu system).
  • Time for participants to prepare their ideas for their own practice time and have any questions answered. If people are stuck for ideas there is plenty of help available.

Image: Babs Balogun (attended previous workshop)

Two Weeks Practice Time: This is an ideal opportunity to practice and develop your lightpainting skills with tutor support.

  • Each participant has the choice of working in a small online group or individually.
  • Michelle provides direct email support to anyone who prefers not to be assigned to a group.
  • People in the small groups work independently but support each other via sharing and discussing their images.
  • Everyone is offered an interim zoom session with 2 or 3 other participants. These sessions last up to an hour and provide time for individually tailored skills-development and support.
  • Email support is available to everyone throughout the two weeks and Michelle is happy to review images and help each person progress and generate additional ideas.
  • Towards the end of the two-week period, participants submit images for inclusion in a review during session II.
  • Life often intervenes and not everyone may have time to practice during the two-week period. That is absolutely fine as there are always plenty of lightpainting images to review and learn from.

Image: Susie Cro (attended previous workshop)

Session II: The aim of session II is to build on the skills developed during the practice time, and provide people with a set of resources to support them after the workshop. The session includes:

  • A review of the images produced within the group. The review is run with a coaching and facilitative style and there is significant sharing of knowledge, experience and key learning points. This is an excellent learning environment for everyone, even if people have not been able to practice.
  • Taking a look at several specialist tool providers with additional live demos using a few of these tools.
  • An exploration of several sub-genres of lightpainting such as abstract, portraiture, tubes, orbs, landscape and a myriad of lightpainting social media groups and websites.
  • A discussion on collaboration and ownership of images and a few environmental considerations when it come to tool selection and use.
  • Where to find freely available good online tutorials and other community support after the workshop.

What is provided:

  • Access to a zoom-based online learning environment.
  • Comprehensive handouts after each of the two main sessions.
  • Detailed instructions and additional tutor support during the practice time, via email and zoom.

What to have to hand:

  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a ‘M’ manual control setting allowing ‘bulb’ mode (‘Live Comp’ is an ideal alternative for Olympus users) and the ability to control focus manually.
  • A sturdy tripod if your own one.
  • Spare batteries.
  • For the practical activities things like a torch, battery operated fairy lights, cardboard (pieces, tubes and small boxes), plastic bottles, old wrapping paper, tin foil, cellophane sweet wrappers etc. may be useful to you as  lightpainting is great for re/upcycling.


  • A working knowledge of adjusting your own camera settings, especially in ‘M’ mode and how to use the ‘B” bulb setting (Live Comp/Live Time if an Olympus user).
  • Internet access
  • A webcam or microphone for interacting (your laptop may have these built-in already)
  • Speakers to hear the presentations
  • You will need to install the Zoom app, but full instructions will be provided.


Please look out for the attachment in your confirmation email, it contains the Zoom joining link. If you don't receive it, please email  

The tutor will need access to your email address to enable her to send you workshop notes - we will presume that by booking this course you are giving permission unless you contact us to state otherwise. 

Overseas participants - Please check the time of the workshop if you are outside the UK. This link which will help you to calculate the timing of the online workshop:

The Tutor: Michelle is passionate about light painting and is looking forward to building people’s confidence and experience with this great genre of photography. Having run her own Learning and Development company for many years, she is a very experienced workshop facilitator and coach. She is known for her creativity and desire to help others unleash their own in fun and supportive learning environments. More of Michelle’s light painting work can be seen on Instagram @lightpaintingmagic_by_michelle  

Participant feedback:

"Michelle is a superb teacher, extremely well organised, energetic, vastly enthusiastic and generous with sharing her knowledge.  The online course worked extremely well, thanks to her expertise with the necessary technology as well as with lightpainting.  She worked hard to involve all the attendees and was conscientious about covering all aspects of the subject.  It was most enjoyable and fun -- an aspect that Michelle frequently emphasised about lightpainting.  I would suspect that she will have a large number of people running around the countryside in the dark with their light sabers before long!"

"Michelle ran a fantastic workshop, she had so much enthusiasm and information to share and she provided really useful and substantial course notes after each part of the workshop (2 parts and a mid-course “mini-zoom” in smaller participant groups).  I would thoroughly recommend this workshop and would say that of all the RPS talks and workshops I have been lucky enough to attend this past year, Michelle’s teaching style, course preparation and content stand out as altogether one of the very best."


Image Michelle Essenson


Event Organiser

Emma Delves-Broughton


Cancellation policy

Please inform us as soon as possible if you are unable to attend a course as it is not possible to refund any cancellation or transfer to another workshop less than 14 days prior to course start date. The Society reserves the right to cancel a workshop 7 days prior to its start date - please check your hotel and travel cancellation policy as this may be affected.

If you are attending one of our workshops that involves a trip out, please ensure you bring all weather clothing and protection for your camera. Persons under the age of 16 are welcome to attend events but, to conform with UK law, must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.



Join from your location

Link attached to event booking confirmation email