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Blacklight Portraits

Some of my favorite artistic shots, have been those shot under blacklight.

I have equipped my studio with 3 blacklight lights. A 50w LED panel that I use as a key light, and two 30w LED panels that I use for fill light.

I quite often have my main shooting wall painted black. If I have the main wall painted another color for a different styled shoot, I will simply hang a large black backdrop cloth. With a black background, it lets the intensity of the UV reactive neon paints really pop out at the view.

Most of the time, painting the models is literally splashing the paint on them, and creating an abstract pattern on their bodies. I try to allow the paint to run, which shows the curves of the models body. Contrary to what it appears, the models are not nude. What is important, is that what they wear is black and tight fitting, and will not shift during posing....and that they don't mind having the clothing items painted.

Even though the environment is dark, yet colorful, posing is very important to get your ideas across. With a glowing mess on the floor, the model set emotions of anguish and torment, as she portrayed herself as someone who is not accepted by society, due to her look.

Post editing, created the look as though she was in a spotlight, standing out against everything else in the studio.

This was my first full body blacklight paint shoot, and possibly, one of my favorites.

Knowing I wanted to practice my blacklight photography, I simply asked a group of models and photographers to join me for a blacklight party at my studio. With a blacklight mural painted on the main wall, painted by my daughter Ashley, I played with in camera settings, to achieve the look I wanted. I was not happy with the purple look the lights gave to the skin, so I continuously tweaked all my settings, until I got it right.

At my blacklight party, I also invited some MakeUp Artists. Although I invited them to enjoy themselves, they wanted to paint the models. So, I kept their wine glasses full, and Nicole Chang happily painted the models. When I saw Gothesque Magazine had an upcoming theme of alternative lighting, I contacted Llenelle and Nicole to create a set. Painting my gas mask, using zip ties painted neon orange as hair ties, and creative painting by Nicole, we created the set, "Toxic Dreams". The set was published in Gothesque Magazine's March 2019 issue.

This is one of my favorite images, as seen in the magazine. The neon green rope, is actually my garden hose. I threw it over the rafters in my studio, to let it hang down, and around Llenelle, to appear as if she were connected to something above. You can see the blacklight skeleton rib cage that Nicole painted onto the models chest.

When I post images like these, on my social media, I often get other models who want to participate. Time contraints usually prevents me from shooting with everyone, but I made an exception for a photographer who wanted to pose for me. When a photographer asks me to take their portraits, I am flattered. I know as photographers, we often hate being in front of the camera. We met at my studio one morning, without a MUA, and we painted away, random splashes across Hilda's body.

The pose, is a peaceful one. I imagined her meditating in this dark black space, but wanted to create something special. So, I took a picture of the studio floor that was splattered with UV paint, and composited it into a background. Now, she appears to be meditating to a sky full of colorful stars.

I have done several blacklight shoots so far. I have more ideas, something other than just painting on a model.

I want to take this journey outdoors, and create this colorful artistic surreal look, into an outdoor environment. I'm still waiting on the perfect opportunity.

Advice to those asking about my camera settings...I do not give advice, because it is an approach. I gladly share settings as we shoot side by side, but I recommend that you spend time (hours?) with your camera and tweaking the settings to achieve the look you are seeking.

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