24 Magical Images of Light Trails


Capturing light trails of something moving, often a vehicle, is somewhat magical because it’s something you cannot see with the naked eye. So only through the use of a camera and the right exposure techniques can this be possible.

Remember that light painting is just that if you show the light source – capturing the light trail.

Let’s look at a few images of light trails and see how these photographers captured the magic:


By x_tine


By JamesHarrison_

Howard Ignatius

By Howard Ignatius

Paulius Malinovskis

By Paulius Malinovskis

Cabrera Photo

By Cabrera Photo

Sam DeLong

By Sam DeLong

Todd Blaisdell

By Todd Blaisdell

VFS Digital Design

By VFS Digital Design

Katie Inglis

By Katie Inglis


By Keith


By jthornett

Jamie McCaffrey

By Jamie McCaffrey

Tom Roeleveld

By Tom Roeleveld

Alex Lin

By Alex Lin

Mike Boening Photography

By Mike Boening Photography

These * Are * My * Photons

By These * Are * My * Photons

Altug Karakoc

By Altug Karakoc

Wilson Lam

By Wilson Lam

Thomas Renken

By Thomas Renken

William Warby

By William Warby

Luc Mercelis

By Luc Mercelis


By aaronisnotcool

Alan Newman - An1.uk

By Alan Newman – an1.uk

Scott Griggs

By Scott Griggs

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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles on her site Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Morocco and India. To help you at whatever level you're at she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

  • Christina Kostova

    Hi, I have a question, please… How to stabilise the camera for inside car light trails? Thank you!

  • Try not to make turns while taking picture, do not drive on bumpy roads, and put the camera on some sturdy tripod and fasten or tighten the tripod between the seats so it doesn’t move.

  • Christina Kostova

    Great tips. Thank you! In terms of exposure, would 1-2sec suffice? On normal light trails I use more than 10sec, but is it different for in-car?

  • Pete Mueller

    I have a technical question: Photo by Thomas Renkin, cityscape/bridge over a river with light trails (apparently made by boats)…
    I’m assuming of course that there is long exposure in order to capture the trails. But some of the river’s water seems sharp and in focus (to the right side foreground of the image). How? Even if stacked or multiple images overlaid in PS, still would have required long exposure due to fact that image taken at night, right?

  • If you use a certain picture and then stack other pictures on top of that, only the exif data of the first (or background layer) will show up in the final result. So the exporure values of some of the top layes may be very different from the background layer.

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  • Harsh

    From inside the car

  • Harsh

    Light Trails

  • sanjay


  • Depends on ur cam settings. Experiment on it to get the best results.

  • Christina Kostova

    Sure. Makes sense.

  • Dalibor Milenkovic

    Just a 4 second still

  • Deen Hertogh

    Car lights

  • Mhitney

    Hi! Would love input on this. Hope I’m not too late to the party

  • Sparkler fun

  • Dalibor
  • Catherine Sproat
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