The first step is to set up the camera on the tripod. It’s pretty crucial to make sure everything is locked down as any movement could totally ruin the shot. The camera needs to be set on manual exposure, with a moderately low ISO to avoid the amount of digital noise. The aperture should be small enough that you get a suitable depth of field, and the shutter speed should be set to bulb. You’ll want to manually focus onto the subject. If your lens has vibration reduction or image stabilisation, be sure to switch this off too.
Consider your shot
Next, think about what you want to achieve – forward planning is crucial. Consider which bits you want to highlight, which areas you want to keep dark and so on. An easy way to do this is to take a look at the scene with the lights on (like this photo) and try and think about what you’d like the end result to look like.
Prepare your tools.
Next, sort our your light painting tools. A couple of torches is all you need to start with. If you want to add colour then a set of coloured gels, or even sweet wrappers is all you need. Want to narrow the beam of the torch? Make a simple snoot out of some gaffer tape or a bit of card.