Mixed Light Play

When I moved into my current studio, a couple of years ago (has it already been that long??!) I had big plans to carve out loads of time for personal projects. Sadly, I haven’t been able to fit as many in as I thought I’d be able to – I’m working on it! But every once in a while, I have been able to pull together a team of my lovely, creative friends, and we’ve just played.

I usually use these precious times to try something new, to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes this type of shoot is a flop as far as ending up with any images that I would ever share, but the ‘failed’ shoots are great, because I always learn so much.

One of the techniques I’ve played with a couple of times, and I really love, is using mixed lighting – constant light along with strobe/flash. As you may know, I love movement in images. Movement in any iteration is always inspiring to me. And mixed light is this really interested, slightly mysterious way of showing movement.

Here are two of my faves from the first time I tried this technique, a couple of years ago, with the lovely Adri as my model:

These images of Adri were made over very long exposures – around 10 to 13 seconds, if I remember correctly. I love the mystery that was a result of that.


About a year after that shoot, I carved out another chunk of time to see if I could do something a little different with what I learned during the shoot with Adri. I shortened the exposure time and added some colours to the light for this next shoot and we went for a more vibrant, wild look. These images were made with my friend Sam, who often works at my studio styling hair, and who looks damn good in sequins.

Too. Much. Fun.

This technique has even crept into my client shoots, when they are up for doing something playful, different and a little bit experimental. It’s so fun to be able to get clients, who are everyday people (not professional models) to collaborate with me – the element of movement means they really have to contribute – in creating a little piece of art that features them!

What I’ve done so far are pretty basic uses of this technique – there are so many amazing ways to use mixed light to create anything from abstract pieces to, to portraits, sports or dance portraits, cityscapes, to light paintings. I will definitely be revisiting the technique in the future.

It’s like a little bit of magic after that shutter closes and you get to see what ‘happened’ while it was open.


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