Low-light photography requires an exposure time long enough for the little available light to gradually makes its way into the camera sensor. Any bright light sources moving through such a shot are going to leave an imprint on the exposure as if painting onto the photo with a brush. The light-source can be absolutely anything that generates bright light. Sparklers, torches (with or without coloured gels), candles, glow-sticks, even high-powered lasers as seen above.
I would describe light-painting as any photography where the light becomes the focus of the piece as opposed to the physical content of the frame. Having said that, there is always an interplay between the two and you can use coloured light to ‘paint’ an object in shot or throw sparks which will bounce off nearby walls. Have fun with it and get creative, I say.
Thanks – Hope you enjoyed the post. Feel free to link to your own light-painting shots in the comments.