Male body painting photo shoot

Male body painting photo shoot

Body painting photo shoot with Syfer

This post is about a body painting photo shoot that Syfer and myself did for a male client.

What do body painting clients want?

When I am asked to do a body painting photo shoot it is very important that I understand what my client wants to end up with. That means discussing it in depth. My part of the job is dealing with the photography. Also backgrounds if we want to make composite pictures. Syfer’s job is to create a design in collaboration with the client, and do the body painting itself.

Some body painting clients want straightforward studio portraits, and some want fantasy images in which they have been transported into other environments. This young man just wanted studio portraits.

“Composite images” are made using more than one photograph. Typically the subject is photographed in the studio and their image is inserted into another photo that could have been taken anywhere. But it has to be done realistically. You can view some samples of composite images on my website. I often source background images from stock libraries, so there is an enormous choice.

Body painting by Syfer

Syfer is a very experienced body painter (instagram) and make up artist (instagram). She also has her own website

Once I have a pretty good idea of what a client wants, and after he or she has paid for the photo shoot, I will put them in touch with Syfer, and then they they plan the design together. This may include making props, such as head pieces.

Syfer is passionate about her work, and I am often aware “from the sidelines” how much fun she is having with clients, working on her design and discussing options.

On the day of the photo shoot Syfer remains in the studio for the duration of the shoot to keep an eye on things. For example areas of paint might need touching up if they get disturbed.

A truly unique experience/product/gift

All my photography is bespoke and designed for individual clients, but body painting takes uniqueness to another level.

Is it possible to have different levels of uniqueness? Please forgive me if I am taking a bit of licence in my use of English!

My customer said this in an e-mail (reproduced with permission); “I really enjoyed the experience and got some great photos that I can look back on. It was a surreal day and a lovely new experience to try”.

How long does a body painting photo shoot take?

Allow a whole day for this.

Expect the body painting itself to take at least 4 hours. Then there is the photo shoot itself. You have already invested time and money, so I am prepared to do whatever it takes to capture everything we plan to capture.

Throughout the day you will be fed and watered and kept as comfortable as possible. So far all my body painting clients have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but be aware it will be necessary to remain on your feet for long periods of time.

What kind of person commissions body painting photo shoots?

Body painting is not for everyone.

I think body painting customers tend to be adventurous, they tend to be confident in their own bodies, and they want something that is truly unique. This “uniqueness” is the experience as well as the final product.

In general body painting is more popular with women than men. Having said which, that statement is probably true of all portrait photography!

What about the, ahem, “naughty bits”?

Clients wear pants, and female clients typically wear foam nipple covers (all are supplied by Syfer). Males wear cloth pants and females wear plastic pants. Part of my job is to make the pants “invisible” in post-production. Here is a comparison between the original image (left) and the retouched image (right).

One of my jobs is to make underwear “invisible”. This always includes retouching the edges of the garments so they blend into the painted skin, and it often includes removing folds that give the game away. Sometimes painted lines that cross from underwear to skin get out of line when the model is moving, so I have to fix that too. It is also necessary to remove stitched seams when cloth pants are worn.


Syfer is very protective of her female customers! However I think she trusts me now. The body painting itself is done in a private space until the customer is ready to be seen. Keeping the photographer away from the client is not so important when the client is male.

Images from the photo shoot

The design was a collaboration between my client and Syfer. This client did not want a composite image, he just wanted some studio portraits using grey and black backgrounds. The footwear is the client’s own.

How can I book a body painting photo shoot?

Each body painting photo shoot is unique. In the first instance I recommend you give me a ring on 07903 624 238, and we will have a conversation. There is absolutely no obligation at this stage. We can explore any ideas you have, and talk about what you want to end up with.

There is no need to pay anything until you have made up your mind and want to proceed. Once you have decided you want to go ahead you need to pay for the shoot in advance. The cost of a body painting photo shoot is £400, and once this has been paid I will put you in touch with Syfer so you can plan the design together.

If you want me to make a composite image, in order to transport you into another environment for a final picture, you and I will continue planning for that. It is important that I know what kind of background I will use before the day of the photo shoot. This is so I can photograph you in a way that makes you look natural in that environment. A number of things need to be correct. These include correct lighting (extremely important) and the angle of view (also extremely important). Focal length is also important, but not so critical as the other two.

After the photo shoot you will take a shower to remove the paint (clean towel provided).

How much does it cost, and where is your studio?

I charge £400 for a body painting photo shoot. This includes all the planning, the body painting, and the photo shoot itself. It also includes a certain amount of editing (see below). It does not include any products, and these have to be bought separately from my product price list.

My studio is in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. There are no parking restrictions in my road.

How much editing is included in the fee?

Editing photos of body painting is partcularly time consuming. Especially if I am making composite images.

If a client wants to buy studio photos, the £400 fee includes all editing on images that are bought. However I will only fully edit photos a client wants to buy (as a digital file or in a product).

If a client wants a composite image in which they are inserted into a different background, compositing is included for one image. If the client wants to buy more than one composited image I may charge extra depending on what is involved. I would have to decide that on a case-by-case basis. It is impossible to make promises because all these images are unique, and the amount of work that is involved varies a lot.

What does it feel like to wear body paint?

I am also curious about this! So I always ask. Some people say they feel as though they are wearing clothes, but others say it feels like they are just dressed in their underwear.

More examples on my website

Click the link here to see more body painting photos and composite images.