It was a weird request, to take photos of loved ones whilst bathed in blacklight. But you know what? The results—from painted pregnancies to bubble self portraits—were cooler than I could have ever anticipated.

WINNER: Scuba Man

I found a recipe online to make your own blacklight reactive bubbles. It involves marinating a highlighter in water and mixing it with the bubble solution. Paired with a highly reactive scuba mask, the end result looked even more "underwater" than I had anticipated. My skin is now permanently tarnished with highlighter marks from the popped bubbles but ehhhh. What are ya gonna do? Shot on my Nikon 5100, f/1.8 35mm Nikkor, 1/50 shutter. 1600 ISO. CHECK OUT THE FULL SHOT BELOW!
- Dan Durakovich


Seeing that this challenge involved light and drawing, I convinced my girlfriend that we should do some body painting, since we're both artists. She spent some time and drew me up all nice and clean. I then decided to timelapse me drawing on her, and then get some pictures of the final product. It came out so much better than we expected, that I decided to actually make the timelapse and to show off some of the best images. Canon T2i - 18-135mm Lens, F/3.5, Exposure 1/2, Iso - 2500, 18mm
- Zak Robinson

Painted Lady

This was a fantastic, and fun challenge this week. With neon being the "in" clothing trend for the summer this was the perfect time to do the blacklight challenge. I aquired the assistance of my beautiful wife and she relished the opportunity to not only help, but to spend the weekend together. We started on Thursday by hitting our local shopping mall and party supply stores and ended up with quite a few items. We continued every day by going out and finding more and more stuff and possibly went a little overboard, but we really had fun doing this. Everything you see in the picture was purchased within the time frame of this challenge being released, except for the backdrop and the sunglasses.... and the wife. I know the point may have been to paint the body of a person, like the video, and I did, but with all the accessories it became garbled. Ok, it is garbled, but even more than it is, I swear. I began Saturday morning by finding stencils of butterflys, stars, flowers, and other feminin objects and sized them in photoshop, printed them out, cut them delicately with an exacto knife and used them to paint temporary tatoos all over her body. I airbrushed her entire body with blue and purple neon paint because it doesn't glow as harshly as the other colors, but I ran out with only her face and neck left. The bright yellow I chose clashed badly with the more subtle colors, but it ended up as a good practice run for Sunday.


This time, I airbrushed her entire body in purple - from head to foot - to make it glow, but to also pop it off from the more brightly lit clothing. She deserves credit for enduring the 105 degree heat of the garage as I airbrushed her, and then the 72 degree air conditioning/fan blowing on her to get her skin dry. She nearly froze her painted nipp... never mind. Anyways, after that, it was just simply getting her dressed in several layers of trashy clothes, throwing glitter on the black backdrop, and taking dozens of pictures in a darkly lit room. All this, and then franticly cleaning up to go to a family BBQ afterwards. We are going to be cleaning up this mess for the rest of the week, but you know what, it was worth it. Mabey we'll do this again for fun, and I'll get to use the stencils I pain-stakingly cut out.

Taken on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR. EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens @ 18mm. Manual exopsure mode @ f/3.5, 1/15 shutter speed, ISO 800. I hung two 48" blacklights vertically from the ceiling on either side of the backdrop. My model is wearing (in order of how we put them on) fishnet tights, knee high tube socks, thong panties, pink bra, white mesh tank-top, mesh wristies, plain white mask with painted lips, pink sunglasses, pink wig (that glowed orange), white beret, yellow flower clipped to the wig, pink and purple hair extensions, bracelet, glow-stick necklace, glow-stick bracelets, neon scarf, and a bubble gun. I only mention this to show how much labor was involved in putting this together and it was so hard to pick the shot I liked the best. I'm still not sure but I have to submit something. I'll be interested to see what others came up with this challenge.
- Raleigh Barrett

Skeleton Hand

So, finally, not taking all my Halloween stuff down and putting it up pays off. I keep a blacklight mounted on the ceiling of my garage instead of taking it down and storing it. So all I had to do to ready for this was to plug it it and turn it on, and hang a background, which I choose a black sheet for to focus more on the subjects. We brought a lot of stuff out to see what would glow under the blacklight. Surprizingly, green and yellow playdoh glow. So does petroleum jelly. Same goes for yellow highlighters. My two sons posed for me, using playdoh and glow in the dark makeup. We shot over 60 shots. The hard part was that the exposure times of 4 seconds makes it hard to hold still enough for a sharp focus. I broke out my tripod, and also got out my large reflector, with the white one glowing nicely to add some ambient light. This shot is my youngest son with just some glow in the dark makeup lines drawn onto his hand. Canon EOS REBEL T2i, f/5.6, ISO 3200
- John Hays


The photos were taken with the JVC GY-HMZ1U 3D Camcorder in still mode, with a Cyclopital3D 11mm twin wide angle lens adapter. The model, Lauren Simmons, was lit with a 400W blacklight as the key, and several 25W backlights to for back lights. Lauren was painted with latex body paint and UV makeup, with an intricate paisley design using her skin color as the base. No natural light was used so that the Lauren's skin would blend in with the black backdrop, and the pattern would produce light trails that float through 3D space as the model moved towards the camera.


The image itself is intended to illustrate the feeling of an out-of-body experience. Three images were placed together in a triptych, to show a progression as she begins to feel a disconnect from her physical self, separates from her body, and floats up above herself.

I have worked with blacklights on a few projects; previously I produced a short film made of over 7,000 still images of actors in blacklight costumes and light paintings.
- Ryan Suits

Invisible Woman

This is a portrait of my girlfriend Carol under black light. Her face has white paint on it, her right arm has green paint, and her left arm has orange paint. She is holding her arms across her face, making an Irish tricolour. Her Irish eyes are hidden in the black light.

I took the photo using my Nikon D90 on a tripod at ISO 400, 42mm focal length, f/4.5 and 0.3s shutter speed. The lens is a Nikon 18-200mm with a UV filter. The only lighting is from the black light set up behind the camera.
- Mashuqur Rahman


My wife, who is 37 weeks pregnant, is the best wife in the world for letting me decorate her belly in non-toxic day-glo paint and photograph the results. Canon Rebel T3i, 50mm lens. Shooting mode Aperture-Priority. F/2.0. Shutter speed 1/15. Auto ISO 3200. Auto WB. Exp comp +1/3.
- Chris

In Motion

This blacklight challenge was so much fun, I had my friends daughter help me paint my face and this is what we came up with. I shot this with my Canon T3i using a shutter speed of 6 sec and an F stop of 1.8, my ISO was 200.
- Tracy Miller

Puff Painted

I had a couple babe friends help me out with this challenge. One did the painting/shooting assistant, while the other was my model. I used a smaller light further back camera left for the paint highlights. I also used a larger light directly behind a Neewer 5-in-1 disc using the translucent disc. This lighting was camera right about 2 feet from models face. All we had was a few fabric paint pens and they did not flow very well, hence the thick paint that is running in a few spots! Canon 5DMKII + Canon 17-40mm f/4, ISO 2000 | 19mm | f/6.3 | 1/30th sec
- Isaac Ladd


My shooting buddy Dan made sure I submitted this week, and for that I'm pretty damned grateful. We spent all day preparing, then he shot our wonderful model, and then I got up to shoot. The shoot went from strange guns, underwater fantasies, and flowers to Sci-Fi warrior, and the power she didn't know she had. I didn't expect it to go where it did at all, but I'm extremely happy with where it went. Nikon D300, Remote SpeedLight SB-800, NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8 lens, Shutter Speed - 1/30 , Aperture - f/1.8, ISO 100
- Chad Whitaker

WINNER: Scuba Man

I found a recipe online to make your own blacklight reactive bubbles. It involves marinating a highlighter in water and mixing it with the bubble solution. Paired with a highly reactive scuba mask, the end result looked even more "underwater" than I had anticipated. My skin is now permanently tarnished with highlighter marks from the popped bubbles but ehhhh. What are ya gonna do? Shot on my Nikon 5100, f/1.8 35mm Nikkor, 1/50 shutter. 1600 ISO.
- Dan Durakovich


Incredible entries, everyone—and thanks to all the patient models who participated this week, too. It's remarkable what a difference a flash can make to bring out someone's features without masking the blacklight glow. Find the full shots on flickr.