The Difficulties of Black Light Photography and Video

Black light photography and videography presents unique challenges to not only the photographer and videographer, but also the models. When you add the element of body painting into the mix, it becomes especially difficult and interesting.

In the case of this latest project, Brian handled the lighting setup, video and some of the photography. Cindy and David handled photography. And Sheryl brought in her expertise on the makeup. Her extra challenge, was finding makeup that looked good in both black and mixed lighting.

If you’ve ever worked with black lights in any manner, you know they can be hard on the eyes for an extended period of time. They work on unique frequencies that the human eye and brain are not used to dealing with. So, you can imagine the challenge of adding camera work into the equation.

Black lights are actually ultraviolet lights with a little bit of the violet frequency being emitted (the purple glow you see). The Ultraviolet (UVA in this case) light causes phosphors in various substances to actually emit light in a minor radioactive reaction. Very minor. So, with photography, in reality, you’re photographing light emitted from a low-level light source rather than photographing reflected light.

I won’t bore you with the nerdy details further. For more on how black lights work, see this article.