Recommended Equipment and Settings
To experiment with light painting, you will need a camera with manual controls capabilities, a tripod, and a light source. First, decide on how you want to illuminate your scene. Find a location or simply start out in a completely dark room. If you are shooting outdoors, ensure that you are not doing this near any other light sources such as street lights.
- Mount your camera on a tripod. You should try to keep your camera as still as possible to avoid any unwanted light streaks.
- If you do not have a tripod, simply place your camera on a steady surface.
- Set it to manual or bulb mode and use a long shutter speed such as 5 to 10 seconds. However, the duration of your shutter speed will also depend on how long you need to capture all the movements.
- Adjust your aperture settings to how bright your light source is. The brighter the light source, the smaller the aperture setting should be. If you are alone, switch on timer mode on your camera.
- As you will be shooting in a dark environment, you should set your ISO to the lowest possible, such as 100. Take some sample shots and see how they turn out.
- Next, you will need to focus your image. Set your lens to manual focus and focus on where you will be light painting.
- Once you are ready, press the shutter button and start painting!
While you are painting, always remember to place the light source in front of you and never step in front of it. If you are spelling out letters, always spell them backwards, as if you were writing them on a mirror. Whatever you do, remember to get creative and have fun!