Sarah is a professional fitness trainer (and one of my favorite clients) and we get together once or twice a year to create images. Several months ago we planned our next photo shoot and picked a date this fall.
This screen capture from Adobe Bridge shows all the photos from the shoot. We had ideas we wanted to try at the beginning of the shoot, but the main purpose of the shoot was to use metallic body paint. I shoot quite a few images on a shoot, experimenting with major and minor variations in poses and lighting. In New York City it is not unusual for a fashion shoot with a high dollar professional model to last 7-8 hours and the photographer will shoot thousands of images to get a few images for a magazine spread. My typical shoot is more like 2-3 hours and 100-300 images. My goal for each shoot is a handful of standout images.
I chose Silver Liquid Body Make-Up by Kryolan because I like the silvery, shiny look and unique texture. It goes on well and rinses off easily. It is also FDA approved for use on human skin. Some models have had terrible skin reactions when ignorant (or cheap) “photographers” bought paint at a paint store instead of body paint that is approved for human skin. Body make-up (body paint) is a lot more expensive than paint from a paint store but worth the cost in quality and safety. And most skin-approved body paint isn’t a nightmare to remove (good luck with paint store paint). To look good the application of the paint requires experience and skill. That is why there are professionals who do this. If you are a photographer and want to do this kind of photography, it really is best to hire a professional body painter to do the painting. If you are a model and want to do this, make sure the person who will paint you is a professional.
If you want to learn how to do body paint, find a professional body painter and pay them to give you lessons. Buy some paint (links below) and practice on yourself and then practice on some good friends.
Body paint is different in reflective properties from human skin so an incident light meter reading of studio lights is not the most accurate way to go. The most reliable way to meter is to take a closeup of an area of painted skin and check the histogram to make sure no color channels are blown out. At the beginning of the body paint part of the shoot I did a closeup of Sarah’s shoulder so I could check the histogram (see this article). I did it again later in the shoot.
For a photo shoot like this it doesn’t hurt to work with someone who looks stunning!
The images in this article are some of Sarah and I’s favorites from the photo shoot.
Photo Info: Canon 5D Mark III. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 lens. Shutter speeds around 1/125 second, apertures of f/8 and f/11, ISO 100. Alien Bees 400 and 800 studio lights.