Portrait of a Paint Machine

I recently did another shoot of the main showroom for Jotun Paints, Dubai. As well as many elements of the showroom, they also wanted a portrait style shot of their paint machine.

Taking portraits can involve several lights (especially for more creative lighting) that take a long time to set up. To get around this, I used ‘light painting’.

This technique involves using a single strobe (Profoto B1) to light multiple shots of the same scene. Each shot is painted with light to highlight a specific part of the scene. Finally, all of the images are stacked in Photoshop layers to create a composite image. The advantage of light painting is that a single strobe can be used to produce a more dynamic lighting effect that could not be practically achieved otherwise.

To start, a base shot is needed. The image is exposed for ambient light, allowing more creative light painting options.

Jotun Paints
Shot 1 – Base image exposed for ambient light

The camera must be set on a rock solid tripod and not moved at all during the multiple exposures, else they will not match when stacked in Photoshop. I use a wireless remote to trigger my Canon 5d3 to help.


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Shot 2 – Left side rim light

My light source is a single Profoto B1 with zoom reflector as this gives a nice hard edge to the light. I approached lighting the paint machine as I would any human subject. Adding nice rim lights to each side of the paint machine.

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Shot 3 – Right side rim light

As for exposure, this is flexible. I usually over expose a touch as the technique involves slowly painting in the light of each layer in Photoshop. This allows control over just how much of the light appears in the final image.

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Shot 4 – Rear left wall painted

It’s important to be able to visualise the final image before the first shot and then, paint specific parts of each image to build contrast. This also limits extra burning or dodging etc. in Photoshop.

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Shot 5 – Rear right wall painted

I added light to the rear wall  to separate it from the paint machine.

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Shot 6 – Rear middle wall painted to separate machine from wall


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Shot 7 – Front of machine painted

Whilst the lighting on the paint machine is flat in this image, the final image is more contrasting as Photoshop layers allow control over how much light is painted in.

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Shot 8 – Tin painted with Profoto B1 + grid

Here, I wanted to highlight the paint tin inside the machine to add shadow and depth.

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Final edited image – 8 painted images layered in Photoshop

The final image is a composite of 8 images that have been stacked in Photoshop. Basic dodge and burn tools as well as contrast curves have been used to complete the look. Finally, a screen logo has also been added and the top blue strip edited.

Using light painting allows a more dynamic look that could not have been achieved otherwise. The great thing about this technique is that it offers unlimited creative lighting possibilities.

Equipment used: Canon 5d Mk3, Canon 90mm f2.8 Tilt shift, Profoto B1 + zoom reflector

To view more of my photography, please visit my web esamhassanyeh


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