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How to work with body paint (NSFW)

By Ruben Whitter, written 1572016630.

What is body paint?

Simply enhancing the 'visual art' sub-genre of photography; often vegan, vegetable-based, water-soluble oozing coloured liquid is dripped all over the body as well as painted on clothes using fingers, brushes, or the palm of the hand. Using the primary colours; red, blue, and yellow; often the became mixed to make green, orange, and at times, purple. When patterns are made with paint it can be called 'body art'.

As a rule, body paints have to be non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-allergenic, and easy to wash off as the paints may be going directly on to human skin. A base-layer of petroleum jelly or baby oil might also be suitable to protect the skin. When using clothing a variety of colours can be used to paint on but white can show off all of the colours in the rainbow.

There are so many colours and details!

Photographers say that the amazing thing about a home studio is that they can control the lighting settings. As you may be working with the bare skin, it is a good idea to keep relatively warm to ease the flow of paint as well as to add to the comfort of the model. The different backdrops can also help to make the colours to pop in the best way possible - in the shoot below you can see the be backdrop is navy blue.

After use, the body paint can be removed by water, alcohol, or other non-corrosive solvents. Bring a towel.


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Colours and their meanings

This shoot is special as I feel that editorial shoots are a direct window in to the soul. The paint has become my skin. Memorising, magical, and majestic are words used by fellow Purpleport members.  What do the colours mean to you? Would you ever use body paint?