If you have been reluctant to adjust your camera manually and depend only on automatic camera settings, light painting is a great way to learn how to use your manual camera settings while having fun.
The camera's owner manual lists all functions and settings of your camera, while explaining the function of each. Because light painting requires experimenting with some of these settings, it is a stress free way of having fun taking long exposure photographs, and they can really turn out uniquely artistic as well.
Step 1: An Entry Level DSLR Camera
A DSLR camera is preferred, but a camera which uses film can be used as well. The only requirement that your camera needs is that it can be set manually. You will also need to check in your camera's owners manual to see if these ranges for shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are offered:
Shutter Speed- between 11 to 30 seconds for a longer exposure
Aperture - between f/8 and f/32
ISO - 100 or 200
When you use a digital camera, you can view pictures immediately to adjust settings as necessary, and the digital camera also offers RAW image formats which are easier to edit.
Step 2: A Tripod Is Important
The camera needs to be able to focus on the light source and essentially needs to be kept from moving. It is possible to another stable object like a table as a temporary measure.
Utilizing a tripod will be of benefit for those difficult angles and the unique style of light painting you want to achieve.