Try something new..Neon?

June 04, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Something New?

Regardless of what genre of photographer (or model) you may be, sometimes it can be fun or inspirational just to try something new for a change. The project may not necessarily go into a portfolio if it is radically different from your 'brand', but it can lead you in creative directions that you may not have thought about in the past. 

In this example, think about Neon (blacklight) photography. Like any genre of photography, you will need a few things to make this work. For starters, the makeup can be found at many local costume stores in your local area. If not, one website that is a great resource is Silly Farm. This site not only has blacklight makeup, but also a variety of other makeup and props that you may find useful.

What about the lights? One thing you want to avoid is the very low power "poster lights" sometimes sold in novelty or party shops. These lights will not put out anywhere the amount of light that you will need to make this project successful. LED lights are typically much brighter and can be much less expensive that you may think. One portable model can be found here Twin blacklights , and will light up a fairly large area. You will need to place the lights fairly close to your model (12-18 inches) for the best effect.

The background is typically seamless paper, but could really be anything. You can be as creative and putting paint in a squeeze bottle and spraying different colors over the background, or you may want to actually draw figures. One possibility is this set of paints from Amazon Black light paints which come in a set and offer a wide variety of choices. A quick tip here is that you probably want to paint your background first so that the paint has a chance to try. Small spatters may not show up under normal light, but you could have paint tracked everywhere if your model is walking through wet paint

Camera setting can be a little extreme. In most cases you will be working with an ISO of around 2000 or even higher depending where the lights are located relative to your model.  A starting aperture may be 5.6, but again this will depend upon lighting. Try to keep your shutter speed at 1/60 sec. if you are hand holding your image to avoid blurry images. A tripod may be a good idea when shooting under these conditions. Needless to say, it will be better shooting in RAW during this type of photography. In post production, you may want to change the luminance or saturation in parts of your image. If you have difficulty focusing, try using the liveview function of your camera. In some cases, you may need to manually focus for the image to be sharp.

The model is a little limited in what he/she can wear. It is certainly possible to model is a tight form fitting body suit. Some models will work in bikini's, and others will model only with g-strings. This of course depends upon the models comfort level and expectations should be made very clear PRIOR to the shoot so no surprises or misunderstandings occur by anyone. Depending on lighting and camera settings, the model will need to hold very still for each exposure, unless of course plans include motion within the image. The paint can sometimes appear very dull and indistinct under normal room lighting, so sometimes it can be helpful to paint the model with the blacklight active. 

Genres tend to overlap in many areas, and by exploring an area that you may not have worked with in the past can lead you into directions that you may surprised that you find that you like!





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