On a cold and sunny day in Barcelona I got together with Aisa, my lovely and consummately patient model, to set about shooting a pair of high key, predominantly white and rather stark but elegant photographic images. I had in mind my model, The Painted Lady, to be painted white to resemble an alabaster or marble bust within a white set, in this case sat at a white table with a white background behind. To break up the white I added a splash of colour, a crimson venetian mask and some red beads to one photo and red lipstick and red nail varnish to the other.

I tasked Linn Dembacke, the make-up artist with the job of painting Aisa white and she started by applying the body paint with a sponge and finishing off with a couple of coats of white spray which also covered our model’s hair, which I did want but sadly some of my lighting equipment too, which I didn’t want. During the shoot Aisa had to remain very still as the paint tended to dry and crack, even moving the pearl necklace a little caused it to flake off, so Linn had to be on hand to keep reapplying it with a brush. Later during post-production, any patchy or cracked paint that wasn’t dealt with during the shoot was cleaned up and retouched in Photoshop.

Creating The Painted Lady

Keeping the lighting fairly simple, a Profoto Octa softbox slightly to the left of camera and close in to the model to give a soft light and a honeycombed and diffused spot just above the camera to pop some light into her eyes. The white background was lit with a couple of strip lights behind and to either side of Aisa.

The finished Painted Lady portrait photographs can be seen HERE in the editorial portrait photography section of this website.


Photographic Equipment used

  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III
  • Zeiss Planar 1.4/85 ZE
  • 2 x Broncolor Grafit A4 generators
  • 4 x Pulso F4 flash heads
  • Profoto Softbox RFi 4’ Octa
  • 2 x Profoto Softbox RFi 1×4’ striplights