Notes From Joe

In this DIY Photography video, I am going to show you how to create DIY portrait backgrounds by painting with light using the Olympus live composite feature or by working in Bulb Mode.

This light painting tutorial will walk you through the live composite mode of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and how to create these cool portrait backgrounds in real time, in-camera. In Live Composite mode the Olympus camera shoots a series of images continuously using the same exposure time. All the images are combined together into a single composite, in camera. The first image is used to record the ambient light. After the first exposure, only the brighter pixels in any following images are used. If nothing becomes brighter in the scene, nothing changes in the picture.

I can see that confused look on your face - so let me walk you through the steps. I have my E-M1 Mark II and the M. Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 PRO lens mounted on a tripod. To make the process even easier, I'm working tethered to my laptop using a TetherPro cable from Tether Tools and the Olympus Capture software. This allows me to set the computer up behind my subject like you see here and then control the camera and watch the image build as I am moving the lights around.

To set the camera up in LIVE COMPOSITE mode you must work in Manual exposure. So before I enter LIVE COMPOSITE Mode, I will decide on the aperture that I want to work at and select a shutter speed ranging from half a second to 60 seconds. For my studio portraits I use the camera's base ISO of 200. Next, by dialing the shutter speed all the way down past 60 seconds I will find the LIVE COMPOSITE setting and by clicking the menu button at this point I can tell the camera what exposure duration I want to work with.

For more from Joe, including links to the products mentioned, check out the Youtube page for this video.