Light painting with instax | instax Instant Photography

Light painting with instax

If you haven’t heard of light painting before then brace yourself.
This is an extremely fun and creative technique that makes the most of those shorter nights!
As the name suggests you literally ‘paint’ with light.

This is an activity to do in the dark, and involves taking a long exposure, with the setting known as bulb mode, which allows the camera’s shutter to remain open for longer than usual.
You use a torch or light source to draw a shape in front of your camera while the exposure is taking place, so you end up with a shot that looks something like these.

light painting


There’s much more you can do…

What you’ll need:
instax mini 90 or SQUARE SQ10
For extra creativity, some flash gels, coloured torches or sparklers and matches or a lighter (be careful with these!!)
A friend to press the shutter while you light paint

How to set bulb mode

instax mini 90
1. Turn the camera on.
2. Press the MODE button until B appears.
3. When you’re ready to take your photo, press and hold the shutter button.
The exposure will finish when you let go of the button or after 10 seconds, which is the longest exposure available.

mini 90

instax SQUARE SQ10
1. Turn the camera on.
2. Flick the switch on the side to MANUAL. This will allow you to choose which images you want to print.
3. On the back of the camera, press the MENU OK button. SHOOTING MODE is displayed. Press the MENU OK button again to select it.
4. With the command dial, navigate to BULB MODE. Press the MENU OK button to select it.

5. When you’re ready to take your shot press and hold down the shutter button. As soon as you begin to press down the shutter, a timer will show in the top left-hand corner of the screen to count down each second. The exposure will finish when you let go of the button or after 10 seconds, which is the longest exposure available.
6. If you’re happy with your shot, press the green print button and press it a second time to confirm you want to print.

mini film format

How to light paint

1. Once your camera is set up in bulb mode, mount it on a tripod. It’s a good idea to look through the viewfinder and note or mark out the edges of the frame so you know where to paint.

2. With your light painting tool of choice, position yourself in front of the camera. Now is also a good time to get your friend to check how you’re positioned in the frame. (Turn on your torch to help them see where you are, and guide you if necessary.)

3. Get your friend to count down when they are going to start the exposure and once they have pressed the shutter button begin your light painting. Counting to 10 in your head or aloud will help you to estimate when the exposure will end. Move as you paint to make sure you’re not in the image.

4. Check your shot. If the image is too bright, use a shorter exposure (hold the shutter button down for less time).

Good luck! And most importantly have a blast with this feature 🙂

SQUARE film format


The kit

mini 90



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