Instructables
Ok so a few of the things here have been posted, most using higher end camera with full creative controls, it isn't necessary Throughout this I used a five year old compact, though some of the pictures have been taken on the fuji because I didn't have the stuff lying about or to hand.
 
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Step 1: Your camera you say?

Picture of Your camera you say?
So have a mess about with the settings on your camera, what can you change?

Does it have a manual setting? If so you're in luck, this gives you loads of control over your photos, if not don't fret about it, you just need to take advantage of the presets in the camera such as night mode.

Do you have macro? It's a big help in taking close ups, especially those going towards instructables...

If it has macro does it have fixed or auto-focus, 99% of the time yes but many cameras do appear with two lens focus presets, usually you have to twist part of the lens or some such to use them though. Manual focus is also really great for close ups because sometime the autofocus is simply no good.

Zoom? Not a neccessity but a nice feature to have.

Ok now you should have an idea of what your doing having just hoked through most of the settings, you can probably see which instructions to follow for camera settings.
spex2994 years ago
Using wire wool, a wire coat hanger, and lighting it - 10 minute exposure at f5.6. (c) Dave Treadwell Photography http://www.davetreadwell.com
Portal.jpeg
killerjackalope (author)  spex2994 years ago
Beautiful effect, must try that, what's it like just looking at?
How do you mean?

Really it just looks like a nutcase with a blazing coathanger!

View on black/larger:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davetreadwell/4468704844/lightbox/
mmalecky6 years ago
Here's an example of a "trail" photo that I learned about awhile ago.
You'll probably need to set your camera to manual focus mode. With the lights on, focus and compose your shot, and don't change the focus. Then, set the shutter time to a few seconds. Turn the lights off (nearly complete darkness is ideal) and take your picture while the subject moves his arms around. Now, this make for a nice, in-focus, but rather typical trail picture.

However, for an effect like the picture attached, you want to leave the flash on. By doing this, you get the frozen frame that is fully illuminated, but the trails still show up because they are the only source of light while the shutter is left open for the rest of exposure.

This picture was taken with a Canon A720IS, which allows quite a bit of custom control for a compact camera.
Don't be afraid to leave the AUTO setting on your camera! The fun parts lie elsewhere.

Kudos to my brother for posing.
8218.jpg
I recently acquired the exact same camera, so I'll have to try that soon.
killerjackalope (author)  mmalecky6 years ago
The trick is to use shutter priority if you've got it, leaves all the dirty work up to mr camera and you choose the time, it usually is pretty ignorant of focusing aswell, most of ours aren't out of focus, we just didn't bother getting the tripod out as we were having fun. For an even better shot of the trails and nice picture use slow synchro. This fires the flash at the very end, that's also how you get well illuminated shots of people at night, backgrounds intact... That photos pretty cool though, I tend to get most inspired around fire though so...
gschoppe6 years ago
so, you spin staff... I'm into poi myself, but both can get you awesome effects
DSCF0001.JPGDSCF0028.JPG
sorry, the second pic is the wrong one
DSCF0024.JPG
killerjackalope (author)  gschoppe6 years ago
When you get a pic like that I always think of cartoons characters running, I keep meaning to get poi on short strings and do a few photo setups with them, that and you can get much more angular patterns with them, or just go for the stick...
killerjackalope (author)  gschoppe6 years ago
I do poi aswell but that was all DIY and we didn't have the stuff for poi...
maruawe6 years ago
i tried the lower iso and found that it worked ok but had to use tripod to keep it steady( I have a night photo option) on the macro I got good results but will stick to using the 275 reading glasses lens to
get the close results that I need for the closeup work on coins that I do you should build the ir flashlight with 2 ir bulbs that helps at night
killerjackalope (author)  maruawe6 years ago
Hmm I prefer my baby canon the way it is, the old thing just keeps plugging away at it, and extension lenses so have a bad habit of messing wit the extension gearing... I wouldn't mind the flashlight though... That seems like a great way to help lowlight focusing,
This is not something that you add to the camera, the 275 is a magnifier that you hold in front of the lens in micro,Sorry, if I didnot make that clear, Just hold it in front of the lens when you snap a picture in micro to magnify the exposure.. I too don't believe in trying to tape or glue crap to a camera lens.. Hope that this clarifies the point to you
killerjackalope (author)  maruawe6 years ago
Sorry I thought you meant one of those 'one size fits all' add on lenses, I take it this is like a fresnel lense...
No it is exactly what I said. A lens taken out of a pair of reading glasses bought at Walgreens for $4.95.. you have to cut the frames carefully to avoid breaking the lens. I use the 275, but I don't know if stronger would work or not , need time to experiment
killerjackalope (author)  maruawe6 years ago
Ah sorry missed the glasses line, I will have to play with a fresnel sometime, thinking of somthing like the deathray to make an effective 4 foot start diameter for really low light photography..., never in daytime though, the ccd would fry...
maruawe6 years ago
good ideas most people just use the auto mode on a digital and let the camera do the work, glad thaat yo went to the trouble to write this up. I have a couple of digitals but no dslr as yet.. willtry some of the tips tonight
killerjackalope (author)  maruawe6 years ago
Just out of question how did the tips work for you, it would be good to get a kind of database of thing to do with different makes, as all presets vary greatly, that and I was wondering if it worked for you in general...
killerjackalope (author)  maruawe6 years ago
Thanks, I just noticed alot of alienation toward slrs when really any camera can do it if you know how to persuade it to.
Wow, you guys are insane!
Awesome Tool Tip Instructable by the way, the first picture is always awesome, it came out so cool!
killerjackalope (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Cheers, yeah that's one of the rituals for ballycastle we have, that and and jumping into the rock pool, bunch of guys, explosives and fires and drink...