nude paint

Life Of Willow + Body Art

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It has been two months since I shot with the fabulous Kate of ‘Life Of Willow,’ and so these images are long overdue. But life has become very busy with work (68hrs/week anyone?) and so I’ve continually been delayed in retouching these babies. But I tied myself to my computer the last 2 days and finally finished them off.

Let me backtrack.

I’ve shot a few portraits for Kate before, and she approached me again to photograph some of her body art. This lady is crazy talented, so of course I said yes. I let her take over the studio for the day and paint away, whilst I went and did some shooting in the surrounding streets. On this particular day, we were to capture two full-body designs, and that obviously required two lovely ladies getting completely naked. I’ve shot nudes before, so it didn’t phase me, but there was a little apprehension in the air for Sarah and Michelle (as would be expected.) But they were both good sports, and let Kate go about painting them without hesitation.


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Once they were painted, however, a transformation took place. The nervousness disappeared, and the girls strutted around as if they were fully dressed. It did look like they were clothed in tight body suits, and so they both felt more and more comfortable as they realised it wasn’t that bad.

A quick lighting setup, and we were ready to shoot.

Kate had a plan for the images, which involved a lot of retouching. I was to add in flames and ice and awesomeness in post production, so the shooting part of the day didn’t really take that long. A few basic poses, and we had it. I think I only took 20 or so frames per person.

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So the painting took hours, the retouching took hours, but the shooting didn’t take long at all.

We were really happy with the results of the shoot, but I knew I had a lot to do in Photoshop before the images were complete. The idea of these shots was to make the girls into fire and ice queens. Kate gave me a lot of creative freedom with this, and just trusted me to basically “go nuts.” Which I suppose also added to the time it took me to finalise each shot. Without a definitive end point in my head, I had to do a lot of experimentation and playing before I reached what I thought was the finished product.\

Kate had mentioned adding ice and flames into the shots, but I decided to take them one step further and construct each character’s hair out of the elements. I’d never sone this before, and so more advanced retouchers will almost definitely see the flaws in my manipulations, but I thought they were decent for a first attempt. I am not a digital artist or a professional retoucher, as I prefer to keep my photographs close to their originals. So, needless to say, my digital art skills are not top of the line. But I am still really happy with the results.

Have a look, let me know what you think!!

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And for those of you that like before and after shots, here are a few to show you what I started with and where I ended up.

I think I want to practice digital manipulation more, as I’m interested in it. Might look out for a course that specifically deals with it, or watch some more youtube videos.

Also, make sure to check out more of Kate’s work here.

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