Tuesday Painterly Photo Art

John Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP, EA-ASP


If I have one word to share about John that would be it. I am jealous of his ability to absorb information and ideas about photography and photographic arts and then find a way to earn income from it. John has been sharing his photography and business knowledge for over thirty years and he’s still breaking new ground on a regular basis.

Throughout his 42-year professional career, this Wisconsin-based photographer has made it his life and business mission to find out what everyone is doing and then doing something different. One of his recent personal projects has been mastering the art, science, and business of the technique of painting with light. Exposing dozens or sometimes hundreds of separate shots with continuous LED lights and then blending them together in Photoshop, a light painted photograph simply looks like no other image.

image © john hartmanAll images in this post are © John Hartman. Light painted art.

image © john hartmanBefore Light painting

Once the process was mastered, he began testing the commercial viability of this new product. Clients have responded enthusiastically, resulting in commissions that include images up to 10 feet long and sales that often reach into five figures. Subjects include automobiles, jewelry, food, architecture, motorcycles, musical instruments, farm tractors and aircraft. His clients include corporations, collectors, hobbyists, enthusiasts and others who own and appreciate the finer things of life.

image © john hartmanLight Painted Fire Truck in station  imageSingle Capture of firehouse

One of his light paintings of a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was chosen as a Grand Imaging Award finalist at Imaging USA in 2015, and was also included in the 2015 World Cup Photographic Competition.

Interestingly, nearly 100% of John’s light painting clients are males, who are proud of their ‘babies’ and are willing to invest whatever it takes for a unique image for their office, home, garage or man cave.

image © john hartmanMotorcycle Garage Light Painting image © john hartmanYou got it. This is before!

“The process of painting with light is neither simple nor intuitive,” says Hartman. “The high skill level required ensures the look will remain unique and will not be bastardized or diluted by a set of actions or plug-ins. The photographer willing to invest the time and effort required to become proficient in light painting can develop and retain 100% of that lucrative business in their market area.”

image © john hartmanViolin & case Light Paintingimage © john hartmanThe violin looks just a wee bit different in the before image

John is currently experimenting with an unmanned aircraft vehicle (a drone) using a mounted LED to light paint larger subjects such as buildings, landscapes and large vehicles such as farm implements and fire trucks.

You can see a short video showing him light painting a 1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II here.

Photographers have taken notice of John’s work, and requests to learn his process have resulted in a four-city tour titled The John Hartman Light Painting Workshop, to be held in his hometown of Stevens Point, WI, as well as in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Sedona, AZ (hosted by Bob Coates). Click here for more information.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob