Tag Archives: Body Painting


Sometime projects take a little while from their shooting to when they are revealed. This is certainly the case of a shoot that was held over two years ago. I had answered a casting call from a local artist who was seeking photographers to collaborate in an art project. The artist was twice World Champion bodypainter Sofia Bue and the project was a book and exhibition called “Bodies of Art”. I had seen Sofia’s work previoulsy when she was one of the tutors at the BodyFX conference I had photographed.

We met and obviously clicked as one Sunday in 2015 we all gathered in a studio at Trentham racecourse to do the shoot. It was probably one of the largest collaboration I have been involved with. It involved three models (Sophia Sparks, Imogen Stone & Amelia McCarthy) , Sofia and two assistants and a behind the scenes videographer. It took Sofia nearly five hours to fully paint the models and then we shot for nearly two hours.

The lighting for the shoot was fairly simply. Two softboxes placed of each side of the group at about a 10% angle so not quite rim lighting. A reflector was used in some of the shots to get a little bit more light.

Following the shoot the process of turning them into a final product took considerable longer than I would have imagined.  In the end Sofia turned to crowdfunding to get it out the door. This process was successful and I cant wait to see it when it arrives early in 2018.

Body Art Rocks Conference

I have just spent three full on days photographing the Body Arts Rocks Conference 2014 which was organised by BodyFX .

The event was held over three days at the Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt and it consisted of a range of workshops and competitions. I met with Nicole a couple of weeks before to go over the draft agenda and to try to plan what was needed and also where I could set up studio lights. The intention was that I would cover the workshops to document to event, as well as providing professional images of the finished looks in the competitions.

Shooting in the Dowse proved to be quite a tricky exercise as each of the four rooms that were being used had completely different light levels ranging from lots of natural light to non. They also ranged in size.

I had taken my D600 and D90 cameras with me and initially had speedlights fitted to both. The D90 was originally intended to be there as backup. The initial shots with the bare lights were too harsh so I fitted the Rogue Diffusion Panel to the light mounted on the D600. After the first shots in each of the rooms it became apparent that I didn’t need the flash in Room 4 and rather than keep swapping setting I set up the D90 for that room only.

As I have found that TTL metering with flash is not that accurate I set the flash to full power and then altered the camera setting. On the first day I played with the ISO between the rooms with mixed results but by day two I had a solid set of combinations of aperture and ISO that I knew would work in each room and also depending upon how close the subjects were too me. My aim with the shots was to get fairly close to a correct looking exposure as I knew that I could adjust it in post. I wanted a very quick turnaround of the image though so I made sure that the adjustments would be minor.

With the documentary type shots I moved from workshop to workshop and tried to record not only what the presenter was doing but also the participants.

By the Sunday I had built up a good rapport with a number of the attendees as well as a few of the models so when the time came to record the progress of the body painting competition everyone was comfortable with me being around.

I was told that BodyFX had experienced some issues with photographers in the past supplying images in a timely manner. So I made sure that this would not happen and the images from each day were processed that night and delivered the next day.

I have received quite a lot of praise for the shots that were delivered which was very pleasing. It was an enjoyable but very tiring three days.

The zombie likes Pizza
Hell Pizza sponsored the Friday night dinner so I was asked to ensure we got some shots they could use.
The finished Zombie makeup
Hannah airbrushed
Hannah looks stunning after Yolanda has finished airbrushing her makeup on
Contestants in the Beginners Face painting competitions work. They had 45 minutes to create something.
The winning look in the Advanced Facepainting competition
Julian applies mud to the models hair in order to create the zombie skull
Nick Wolfe demonstrates how to create a monster skull
Emily Walker with her stunning creation on Hannah that won the body painting competition
The flat earth was the inspiration of this painting by Karen Havican
A close up of Hannah’s headdress
Nick Wolfe paints up the prosthetic that he added to his model in the showcase
A close up of Stacie’s face.
The four contestants in the Extreme Makeup competition. The artist had 2.5 hours to produce this look. Third from the left was the winner.
Julian from BodyFX ran a fund session on communication
Amazing looking wounds created from Nicole Heydenrijk’s class on Gells
Nick Wolfe and the two models he painted in his first session
Annie Reynold from Australia demonstrates how to create advanced butterflies
Lace inspired masks
Nick produced some very intricate designs
One of the workshops centred around half face animal designs and was run by Christy Lewis.
The detail in the body painting was very impressive
The makeup room was full on for the whole 5 hours that the artists had to work.
Contestants in the Beginners Face Painting competition
Annie applies finishing touches to a makeup that also included gems
Models compare looks
Nick turned Tom into the terminator in around 5 minutes.
Families visiting the Dowse on Saturday also ended up being painted.
Working through the Extreme Makeup competition
Dan applied most of this makeup to himself.