Most light painting is done at night when the background is really dark so for the first of my how to series I thought I would share how to create a light painting photograph in which you can also see the background. I have included how to do this both on an SLR or similar and on a iPhone via an app.
LIGHT PAINTING WITH AN SLR (via the easiest way possible)
You will need:
SLR, tripod, cable release, dark clothing and a very strong torch. (To get this effect it is best to photograph your scene just after sunset, there will be too much light earlier in the day for the torch light to show up)
Camera Settings: Auto ISO, Shutterspeed Priority. Work out how long you will need to complete the light painting – for me in this photo I needed 30 secs. Set your shutter speed to 30 secs, put it on a tripod and press the cable release and your camera will work out the rest. (Or the settings I used will make a good starting point) If you need more than 30 secs your camera will have a ‘bulb’ setting which you can use to open the shutter for longer periods.
Run around like a crazy thing, dressed in dark clothes shining the torch directly at the camera as you make your shapes. Make sure to keep your body moving so that you don’t show up in the shot. If the light of the torch isn’t strong enough move the torch more slowly.
LIGHT PAINTING WITH AN IPHONE
You will need:
Iphone, iphone tripod, dark clothing, a very strong torch and the Slow Shutter Cam App.
Put your iPhone on a tripod. Go to the light trail capture mode and set the shutter speed time for the length of time that you will need to complete the light painting. You can adjust the lightness/ darkness of the background and the torch by changing the light sensitivity slider. Run around like a crazy thing, dressed in dark clothes shining the torch directly at the camera as you make your shapes. Make sure to keep your body moving so that you don’t show up in the shot.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!! Unfortunately this app isn’t available for Android devices but there are other apps which work in a similar way for Android.
Settings used on Nikon D810: Shutter speed 30 secs, Aperture f22, ISO 100