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Denis Smith

Welcome to my website. It is always exciting for me to share the love I have for photography. Although I have a thriving video and photography production company (Smith & Collins) this website is dedicated to the light painting side of my work.

As you will see in the Ball of Light Documentary at the bottom of this page, before I discovered photography I was living a life of excess. I struggled with depression and alcohol. This culminated in me moving away from my home country of New Zealand to South Australia. Here I have built a life around the creative fields. 

Getting away from the city and spending time in nature creating beautiful images is my release. In recent times teaching the art of light painting photography to as many people as possible has become my passion. 

Enjoy your time here on the site. I hope you learn about our exciting and vibrant art form and maybe become inspired to have a go yourself.  

~ Denis Smith



In 2011, Sam Collins was wandering through an Adelaide arts and craft market and spotted some intriguing photography on display. He introduced himself to the gentleman behind the work and they chatted for a few minutes. Sam opportunistically suggested he’d like to make a short film about the photographs and the technical process involved, and the photographer, Denis, agreed to be a willing subject.

That chance meeting led to the Ball of Light documentary, a short film written and directed by Sam Collins. The film set out to explain Denis Smith’s Ball of Light photographic project from a technical point of view. However, over the course of making the film, it was clear there was a much more powerful story to tell.

The film shifted focus, ultimately becoming more about being a human than being a photographer...

Upon publishing ‘Ball of Light’ online, it was an instant viral hit, generating more than 250,000 views to date. The film has been licensed for broadcast in several countries, played at many events and festivals, and in 2012 won Best Documentary at the South Australian Screen Awards.

Soon after, Denis left the world of corporate sales forever, to focus entirely on more creative pursuits. By early 2012 Sam & Denis were working together regularly under the Sam Collins Media banner, making videos for a range of Adelaide clients. At the same time, Denis was establishing Denis Smith Photography, his freelance stills photography service.

Both businesses rapidly grew, notching up a healthy pool of delighted clients. In 2014, the time was right to join forces officially and upgrade a winning creative collaboration into a fully fledged partnership. And so, Smith & Collins Video and Photography was born.

CAREER milestones

  • 2017 Olympus / Camera House Australian Photo Rally

  • 2017 Solo SALA Exhibition at Loxton Research Centre

  • 2017 Channel 7's SA Weekender Feature story

  • 2017 NZIPP Infocus Conference Guest Presenter & Workshop - New Zealand

  • 2016 Apscon Conference Speaker & Worshop Series

  • 2016 Photokina Presenter & Demonstration - Germany

  • 2016 Solo SALA Exhibition at Peter Lehmann Wines

  • 2016 Government House Live Light Painting Event

  • 2016 Art Gallery of South Australia Magic Object Workshop Series

  • 2016 Rundle Mall Living Colour Festival Featured Artist

  • 2015 Harts Collective Solo Exhibition

  • 2014 Adelaide University Arts & Heritage Collection

  • 2014 Shimmer Festival Exhibition & Workshop

  • 2014 The Forge Solo Exhibition & Workshop

  • 2012 Espionage Solo Exhibition

  • 2011 Ball of Light Movie Created

  • 2011 Melrose Exhibition

  • 2010 Create Combine Live Light Painting Event

  • 2009 Created & named the first 'Ball of Light'

  • 2009 Purchased first SLR camera!