Black Light Photography
I did a couple photoshoots this week using black lights combined with strobes to create some trippy neon glowing effects. Also, as in this photo, I was able to get a beautiful surreal glow.
Photographically, black lights are basically low powered continuous lights so I used the same techniques that I would use for tungsten. But the fun thing about black lights is that fluorescent paint and objects give off a glow and become light sources!
- Work with a makeup artist who has fluorescent makeup and body paint. Check the makeup under a black light to see how much it glows. The makeup for the photo on the left was done by Catriona Armour.
- Bring neon fluorescent clothes and props to the shoot. Glowsticks work too. I found some neon tulle fabric that worked great.
- I used four 48″ fluorescent tubes to provide enough light. They were available in some hardware and party supply stores, but I had to look around.
- You can go with either long shutter speeds or high ISO – both have advantages and disadvantages. The long shutter speeds risk motion blur and the high ISO shots can be noisy. I found that for my camera ISO 400 worked well, but different cameras perform differently so experiment.
- Try using a strobe with a long shutter speed by setting your camera’s flash to second curtain sync. You will get some trippy effects by moving or zooming the camera or having the model move around.
- The black light is dark blue-violet, but you can add other colors by using a backburst and gelling the strobe.
- Have fun and experiment!
Check out some more of my black light photos on Flickr: