UV Body Paint and Black Light

January 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I recently had the privilege to shoot some black light photography, something I've always wanted to do but which I was sort of ignorant to proceed on due to my lack of knowledge about the lighting aspect. Mental barriers aside, I found some lights recently that work just fine. 

My impressions and experiences:  

The good: It's a whole new world and dimension of seeing things. Thus it sparks the creativity factor. The lights are cheap, the ones linked above are $99 each, I bought two (it's always good to have more than 1 of anything you actually depend on). Post processing is rather fast because you can't see skin imperfections and what not (of course SOME types of paint might show such imperfections, but I've no clue and to be honest, I haven't really looked at other people working with black light). But with the fact that the lighting is so different than traditional strobes, you can almost batch process the photos and then tweak certain ones here and there for the sake of consistency (something I SOMETIMES do).

The bad: It's hard to focus. You're using black light, in a dark room. It can be done, especially with focus assist activated. You also have to use much higher ISO's than you will typically use for shooting portraits with strobes. 

On the shoot I used two cameras (Olympus E-5 and Fuji X100S) and worked anywhere from ISO 800-3200 and kept my apertures down around f2-4. My shutter speeds ranged from nearly a second (for certain shots) but most stayed around 1/60th - to 1/160 roughly. I couldn't rely on manual focus so had to defer to focus assist. 

The neutral: In order to mount those lights on some light stands, I took U brackets with butterfly nuts and installed the brackets through the factory mounting holes on the light units and then tightened them down on some light stands. So they were positioned sort of like mini-strip banks.

Crappy noisy pic: 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Anyway, we did a lot of experimenting to see what worked and what didn't. Some of the images are muddy due to the ISO and some are sort of "impressionist" in a way, almost looking like paintings instead of photos. I actually think it worked out well with this theme. Check it out: 
 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Also, in the last shot below, you will see a mixture of fluorescent tube lighting (the same shit you see in bleak corporate office environments) ... and the black light. I found the mixture of light interesting. 

 

 

To see the full gallery from this shoot, or to purchase prints, please click here.  Until next time! 


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