I was teaching a portrait workshop and the photography center holding the event had arranged for the model to use for lighting demos. When I saw her my jaw  dropped but before you get any ideas, let me explain. As a portrait photographer, when you meet people throughout life and find beauty in them, no matter what they look like, you naturally want to photograph them. Whether they are a crusty old fisherman or a tattoo artists and you find beauty in them, you want to photograph them. That is was portrait artists do.


When I saw her arms and was told her body was covered in art I was excited. Under her t-shirt was a black tank top and after this demo shot taken for the students benefit, she removed the t-shirt and we created beautiful images like these below.

Our lighting setup was simple and sometimes simple is more powerful. Two light boxes: one on her front and one on her backside.


First, she had black hair and I chose a black background so it was important to make her hair separate from the black background so I added light to it. You can see the series below of poses and the processing in Photoshop.