It’s not too difficult for a beginner to shoot a successful Light Painting, let me introduce you to some of the basic skills now!
Basic Principles of Light Painting
The principle of Light Painting is actually very simple. The camera’s shutter is open for a long time, and then the trajectory of some moving objects gets captured. Then some beautiful patterns will be recorded to the photo! After understanding the basic principles, let us teach you step-by-step how to make a successful light and graffiti.
(1) Finding the Right Occasion/Background
Because the camera shutter requires long exposure time, in order not to overexpose the background we can look for some dark places, such as the beach at night, the park, or even the room where the lights are off.
(2) Wear Appropriate Clothing
When creating Light Painting, you should wear dark clothes to avoid leaving light images in the photos, because you need to make large movements when drawing, you should choose lightweight clothes.
(3) Bring Enough Equipment
The following equipment is recommended when Light Painting:
- Camera with Manual Mode (Prosumer DC or DSLR)
- Lenses with normal focal length (eg 18-55mm)
- Battery (+ backup battery)
- Flashlight or Shiny Object (e.g. fluorescent stick)
- External Flashing Light (if required)
- Color Cellophane (if required)
After preparing the objects and arriving at the venue, we can start setting up the camera! Here are some suggestions:
(1) Set the Camera to Manual Mode (M-mode)
In order to strengthen the control ability (adjust the aperture, shutter, ISO value), we need to set the camera to manual mode.
(2) Narrow Down the Aperture
Because you need to increase the shutter time, narrow the aperture to avoid overexposure of the background. The aperture can be narrowed down to f/16, f/22 or f/32, depending on the ambient light and lens type. If you find that the photo is dark, you can increase the aperture appropriately.
(3) Lower the ISO
Shooting in a dark environment, using high ISO will increase the noise we need to also extend the exposure time, so lower the ISO, such as ISO100 or 200.