Models in Paint
Ever since I started taking photographs my passion was and still is nature subjects. Everything from fauna, flora, to landscapes. I will photograph almost everything that presents a good photogenic opportunity.
I have also taken plenty of images of abstract subjects as well as doing a countless number of macro shots.
Occasionally I have photographed models although I do this when I am asked to do an assignment. Working with models presents a lot of limitations since you usually have to abide by a set of rules that the customer imposes on your creativity as a photographer.
When I do focus on photographing models for my own personal gratification I usually tend to do unusual set ups. One of these involves painting the model from face to toe in very colorful splotches of paint, much like a rainbow or sometimes in a single very richly colored hue.
These shots allows the photographer the creativity needed to impart the photographer's own artistic touches and since you are working with a person it is not hard to do although it is time consuming and it takes the efforts of several people like the make up artist, the model and an assistant. But the images tend to come out really well and presents us with often stunning images.
To conduct the project it is best to do it in a studio since most of the time the models wear little or nothing and body painting is usually not appropriate for most public places. Plus you need to offer a suitable location for the model to wash up afterwards not to mention the amount of paint and storage needed.
The photographic approach is exactly the same as if you were doing a portrait shoot. The same photo lights and reflectors need to be used, the same focus on the person needs to be used as well as the same technical care to ensure that the face is crisp and clear in all of your images. Set up the lamps at forty five degrees to the subject and place at least one reflector opposite the main light and also at forty five degrees.
Although silver lined reflectors are more popular , for this project it is better to use a white one. A silver reflector will reflect too much light and you risk creating "hot spots" where the subjects gets a disproportional amount of light and this will show in the photographs. As far as lenses, a regular 55mm one will work fine but try to use a lens in the range of 60mm to 80mm. This type of lens allows you too zoom in and out and you can try different angles and take the shots with various degrees of cropping.
As I said before, you can use a multitude of colors or you can use a single one. The main key is that the colors must be rich enough to overshadow the skin tones of the subject so that they become the focus point of the scene. You do not need to cover the model entirely but you must however apply enough paint to make it look as if the model is one with the paint.
Keep in mind that although this is very similar to body painting, you are not creating a design on the body. You should randomly paint sections of the body even drop paint on it. the more colorful regardless of the lack of design the better.
Experiment with dripping paint on the face and body and proceed by adding more paint since it is easier to ad paint rather than to wash it off. Start with little and take it from there. A good tip is to start with the face and ad more as you go further down the body. Don't forget to include the hands if they are to be included in the shots.
Another method is to ad the paint splatter digitally. Although you need to be good using a digital program, the results are quite convincing.
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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez
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