This year's Lightbox Photographic Open Competition is open to entries from all ages and abilities, under the theme of 'Anniversary and Celebration'. To inspire you to get creative, this week's blog teaches you a fun photography technique that is much simpler than you might think - Light Painting!

Light Painting has been used since the early days of photography. In 1935 Man Ray was the first fine art photographer to use this technique in his series ‘Space Writing’. These images revealed the magic of photography. By using a small penlight and a long exposure time Man Ray was able to capture the movement of light to create surrealist images. Pablo Picasso also experimented with light painting after being introduced to the technique by artists Gjon Mili, an Albanian-American photographer in the 1930’s. You can see Picasso's experiments with light painting in this article in Time.

Here's how to do it! You will need: a camera, a tripod, and a light source. We used the light on a mobile phone, but you could also use a torch, or experiment with different coloured glowsticks.

1. Set your camera up on a tripod in a dark room or at night time in a location where there is no light. Since this will be a long exposure you will want to make sure that your camera remains still and does not move.

2. Set your camera to the Manual mode (M) by using the toggle on the top of the camera. This may be in a different place depending on what sort of camera you are using, but you can easily find this in your camera’s instruction manual.

3. Set your shutter speed to the Bulb setting (B), your F-stop to F-22, and your ISO to 100. Make sure the camera is not set to Autofocus.

4. Now you can experiment! One person will draw a picture or write a message in the air using a torch, mobile phone, or glow stick. While this is happening the other person needs to hold down the shutter on the camera for the entire time only releasing once the writing or drawing is complete.

5. You might need a bit of practice to get the drawing technique right! Remember if you want to do any writing, you will need to write it backwards in the air for it to read correctly in the photo. Our Marketing & Comms Officer Beth took a couple of attempts to write her name!

6. Once you've got the technique mastered, you can get creative making some really striking and fun images using Light Painting. Good luck!

You can win up to £500 and have the chance to be exhibited at The Lightbox if you enter our photography competition by Monday 18 September. Click the link below for more details.

The Lightbox Photographic Open