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Light-painting photoshoot with Kia and Lindsay

15 Dec 2014

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Let me start by introducing this fantastic trapeze duo: Kia and Lindsay. They're from USA but both are currently living in Montréal, which is a great thing for me :)  

I'm going to post here some pictures from this shooting + technical details. This is a work in progress, as I have only 3 pictures ready for the moment. Join me on Facebook or Instagram so you'll get notified when I update this post. As usual, the only source of light is the one in my hand. For the backlit shots, I'm standing behind the subject and experimenting with various angles. The ambiance is made using a fog machine. As you can see below, no external elements are added in Photoshop.



Here's the full step-by-step photoshop image processing for the first picture with Lindsay (see animated version below showing the 12 steps)

  1. Local contrasts: duplicate layer, gaussian blur @ 40px, blending mode: soft-light, brightness/contrasts boosted + opacity reduced to 25%, , mask out unwanted changes
  2. sharpening: duplicate layer, high pass @ 5px, blending mode: soft-light, mask out unwanted changes
  3. stray hair removal (using clone tool)
  4. minor clothes fixes
  5. noise reduction
  6. dodge (face and neck definition): new 50% gray layer + dodge with small brush
  7. flare added (check out
  8. minor curve adjustement layer for the eye
  9. curve to brighten up the face a little bit (using a 1500px brush)
  10. a bit more flare added using same technique
  11. exposure adjustment layer @ +0.0413 (toned down to 30%)
  12. very simple color grading using color-balance tool (-14 green, +22 blue)


photoshop snapshot

before-and-after post-processing photoshop light-painting

About Kia-Melinda: Kia-Melinda began gymnastics at the age of three, and her gymnastics and dance background led her to circus at the age of seven. Kia's love for the art drove her to Circus Smirkus, where at 12 years old, she was accepted into their Big Top Tour. Kia toured with Circus Smirkus for six summers and trained throughout the years at NECCA in Brattleboro VT. During high school, Kia competed in gymnastics and cheerleading, continuing with cheerleading for two years after her graduation. Kia attended the National Circus School in Montreal QC, majoring in duo trapeze and minoring in rope. Kia is also a co-founder of the new, American contemporary circus company, Frequently Asked Questions A Circus Collective.

About Lindsay: Lindsay discovered her obsession with being upside down in gymnastics, and fell in love with the circus after attending Circus Smirkus Summer Camp. Lindsay was accepted into the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour in 2006 and toured with the company summers 2006-2009, training at NECCA in Brattleboro, VT during the year. In high school Lindsay balanced many other interests including science, music, and gymnastics, and after graduating spent a year in college before deciding to pursue her dream of a professional circus career. Lindsay attended the National Circus School in Montreal, QC, receiving a major in fixed duo trapeze and a minor in aerial straps. Lindsay is also a proud co-founder of the new American circus company, Frequently Asked Questions: A Circus Collective. |

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If you ended up here trying to find info about the light-painting tubes, search no more, everything is explained here in full details: