Your camera should allow you to open the shutter for an extended period of time say 10, 20, or 30 seconds or more. Just about every DSLR camera has a manual or Bulb setting, this is what you want to shoot in. Shooting in bulb or manual mode a good place to start to create your first light painting is with the following settings (BULB or MANUAL MODE):
To create a light painting using the Light Painting Brushes System you need a handheld light source. Using the Universal Connector you can attach any light emitting device, flashlight, or torch that is relatively round and has a diameter of .975" to 1.5" to a variety of our custom light modifiers.
Using a tripod is an important part of light painting photography because you generally want to keep the camera as still as possible to create sharp focus and avoid and unwanted light streaks or lens flares. If you do not have a tripod placing your camera down on a steady surface can be just as good, just be careful not to accidentally move the camera during the exposure.
Get the camera settings properly adjusted (Shooting Mode, Shutter Speed, F-Stop and ISO), put your tripod in place, and get your light source ready. Now go ahead and frame the shot that you want to create this is best to do with the lights on; if you are in a dark environment turn on your light source to project light onto the scene so you can frame the shot.
Next you need to focus the image, if you are in an place where you can turn lights on and off TURN THEM ON FOR THIS PART. Zoom in as far as you can to the part of the frame you want in focus, if the lights are on you can use your auto focus. Once you have the focus set your lens over to manual focus and leave it there, now zoom back out and reframe the shot. If you are focusing in the dark set the focus on manual, illuminate your light source and place it in the shot next to the part of the scene you want to have in focus, zoom in, pull focus on the illuminated light source, leave the lens on manual focus, zoom back out and reframe the shot. This will ensure you get a sharp image.
Turn all lights off. Open the shutter of your camera to begin the long exposure, illuminate your Light Painting Brushes tools and begin to paint.
Go to the back of your camera and have your mind blown at the beauty you just created.