I used my tennis shoes on my coffee table giving me a distance of three feet. I took what I learned from YouTube videos – no distracting outside light, lowest ISO setting, close aperture, and put camera on BULB setting or self timer – I used bulb. The secret that I was missing is – set up your shot with enough light for auto focus, then change to manual focus for shooting and you will get the above results. Now I can play with more distance, different timing, and then on to other methods like light graffiti!
Just because someone else makes it look easy – means it took them a lot of practice and now it’s easy for them. Spend some frustrating moments practicing for yourself and eventually it will be easy for you too. I also happen to have Magic Lantern on my camera – giving it super awesome extra abilities. At first, when I wasn’t able to capture the shot immediately, I had to check my settings there as well. On my Canon menu I had Spot Metering enabled instead of Evaluative as usual; I will see how that compares. On ML I had Kelvin (white balance) set at 6500K M6.
I also have an adjustable ND filter and YouTube tells me that with a dark enough filter I should be able to practice light painting in the day time with the curtains closed. I will get to practicing and share my updates with you. For the lighting I used a 3-inch Gerber LED flashlight with 4 different color settings. Feel free to try flashlights, sparklers, glow sticks, strobe lights, maybe headlights, and even a candle. The possibilities are limitless!