And the lab rat shoot of the Liquid Light Show happened this weekend, and it much better than I thought it would. This is one of the few times I shot in Manual Mode at 1/13th at F5 with an ISO ranging between 100 and 200 ASA. Including +.7 EV, Vivid Color Mode ADL was at backlight and A+ on the camera settings. While that might sound like super long exposures, it was still fast enough for me to not have to use a tripod for this photo shoot. I also shot NEF/RAW so that I had a lot of data to work with, I really wanted super huge images to play around with and did not want to deal with compression from the image the camera saw to what was written on the SD card. This is the kind of shoot you want to own the camera instead of the camera owning you by being automatic, or in aperture mode or shutter mode.
The lighting was interesting, we used four 48 inch black lights and surrounded the model with them, I also used a reflector on the back of the black light (white side) so that more of the light would be aimed at the model. The black lights are the typical tube black lights so using a reflector was important to concentrating the light on the model.
For the projector we used a super cheap 3000 lumen Epson EX3220 SVGA 3LCD Projector with some of the creative commons liquid light videos pulled from YouTube, as well we used a program called Electric Sheep for the second set when we wanted to move away from Liquid Light and do some fractal generation. We also constrained the model space down to five feet wide so that we could get all the black light and projector to work together. 3000 lumens is enough light to blow out all but the most interesting effects from the black light and body paint so you want as long a path for the projector light as possible. We used a standard white cloth background rather than the wall, but I think next time we will hit on the wall rather than just simply using the cloth backdrop.
The body paint we used was just a standard UV reactive glow in the dark body paint that you can get at Amazon or via any other online service. We also found some UV reactive underwear and dresses from the Rave Culture that would fit in nicely with what we were trying to do with this photo shoot.
Overall with all the set up and prep this turned out pretty well, this is photographic space that few if any people are working in, and as a lab rat testing shoot this pretty much so hit on all the numbers. Here are the lessons though, when you are testing you always come back with things you need to fix, tweak or otherwise change.
Big table, we needed something up off the black floor to take advantage of the whole background effects that the projector was putting off. The body paint comes out of clothes and backdrops by soaking in warm water, then washing in warm water and a lot of soap. You might also want to try some oxyclean along with a little light scrubbing to get the paint out of clothes.
The paint is thick, and needs to be cut down with water so you do not lose the reactive properties of the paint. You want regular paint brushes, makeup brushes are just not as good for this as they are for laying down a foundation. Put down a liberal amount of makeup base on the places you are going to paint the model. The paint takes a long time to dry (probably because it was so thick), so it will get on places you didn’t think they would. You want to put reflectors on all the black lights to send the light where you want it to go, because a 3000 lumen projector while fun, will blow out everything with the blacklight body paint you were trying to get unless the model is right smack dab in the middle of the blacklights (which is why I used four of them so I could center the model between all of them).
If you do all this, you will end up with the gallery below. I have found only one other photographer in this space, and his pictures are beautiful. You can check out the inspiration here at Howard Schatz dot com. Let me know what you think of this lab rat testing everything out and seeing what we can create photo shoot with Ms Katie Mae, and our wonderful MUA, Magnificent Marjani.