Powder Beauty Nude Shoot – Project Brief

If you are reading this then you’ve either agreed to take part in this event, or you are interested in some more information about the project.  For those that are involved, great to have you on board.  It’s sure to be great fun, very messy, and we hope will produce some amazing images!

Here’s some of the details, some sample images so you can see some of the inspiration, and some of the things you’ll need to bring.  The basic concept for the shoot is very simple – I have imported high quality, non-toxic Holi festival powders.  These are the super bright coloured powders often seen in Indian Holi festivals.  There is a lot of information and sample photos online regarding Holi (and some links below), and it has taken me months to understand the requirements for ensuring a great shoot that was going to be safe.  If you want more info about Holi, I’ve added a bit of explanation at the end of this doc.

Nude shoot: The nude shoot is effectively being broken down into three sets – traditional classic nude before powder, dynamic images with the Holi airborn (ie being thrown around), and then final static images where you are basically covered in the powder.  All images will be crops (neck to knees), so no powder will be applied to your faces deliberately (refer cleanup below).

I’ve done powder shoots before (with flour), but Holi is a bit trickier.  I’ve not seen any decent attempts from other photographers, so this is new ground and a bit experimental.  Basically I’m looking to combine the style of Andre Brito with the lighting of Ben Heys:

Ben Heys – Flour bomb

Ben Heys – Flour Bomb 2

Andre Brito – One example.  Just Google Images “Andre Brito”, his style is quite unique and his anonymous nudes are pretty amazing.

I also assume at this stage that you don’t have skin allergies and won’t have an issue with the powders.  I’ve not heard of anyone having issues previously, but most people have never played with Holi before.  Any website talking about skin irritations with Holi is usually talking about the cheap (and toxic) versions that are used in India – we are not using those!!

Multiple models: There are at least 2 models involved at the time of writing, with a 3rd to be confirmed.  This shoot is at the fine art end of the spectrum, not erotic.  If you are not comfortable being nude with a couple of other models, in front of a photographer and 1 or 2 female assistants, then please let me know asap and we can work on a different project some time.  I’d rather you are comfortable and enjoying the creative process, good images are hard to get if you are stressed or nervous.  It’s certainly meant to be a fun and relaxed shoot, I’ll be working just as hard trying to get a good result, and I want our efforts to be collaborative and creative, so we all get something great for our ports!

Oil/moisturiser: One of the challenges I have not resolved is how to get the powder to stick to your bodies for the last set of images.  I’ve done powder (flour) with water before but it is patchy and looks bad.  It was suggested to me that an oil of some kind (olive/baby/coconut) would work, and that some  moisturisers might also be suitable if we shoot just after application.  It turns out this is also a handy tip – many Holi sites talk about making cleanup easier and avoiding skin staining by applying olive oil to the hair and skin, so that the mess rinses off easily.  I’m happy for you to decide what you are comfortable with – if you choose to bring oil or moisturiser to help with clean up, that will help the shoot as well.

The change room is heated (although it will be a hot day), and oil/moisturiser application can be done in private (prep is not part of the shoot!!).  This link talks about using oil on your skin and Vaseline under your nails just to be safe. You can mostly ignore the advice about hair and face, since we do not plan to have faces in the images and powders will not be thrown at you like that – moisturiser on your face should be sufficient, you will almost certainly accidentally scratch your nose at some point!

Holi Samples: Images on these links were used to clarify the concept.  Our results will be different, but should give a good idea of the plan!

Justin Bartels – Great images, but cloudy/misty

Close-up Holi – that’s what Holi can look like when thrown very close

BTS Powder Shoot – not a bad video, we’re not going to be throwing so much powder tho!

Location/time/other: Shoot is at ShutterClass studios, directions/details can be found here (271 Huntingdale Road Oakleigh).  If you can be at the studio at 1pm for the briefing and prep that would be perfect.  The powder is messy, and you will need a rinse off afterwards (there’s a shower on site), so bring a towel/toiletries/change of clothes.  Duration is likely to be a few hours, we won’t be shooting past 4pm (as I will need time to clean up the mess!)

Other prep: A little prep is required before shoot day so that the powders don’t dry out your skin, cause any staining and make removal easier.  Stacks of moisturiser the night before and then bring more on the day to apply after you rinse off.  Also, give hair a good condition, and nailpolish on your nails to prevent stains.  Hair will be tied up/back for the shoot, so no need to do hair for the shoot.  It’s not actually that complex and I’m probably being more cautious than I need to be – the powders are all very safe, but prep does make the cleanup much easier!

The project and shoot is meant to be a fun, low stress day and I’m sure there will be lots of collaboration and problem solving as we go.  Bring a robe or similar just in case we have to pause for any length of time, keep in mind that the powders are messy and can stain clothes.

I think that’s everything so far, but if I’ve missed anything or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me a note!

Holi Notes:

There’s a lot of info about Holi online, and most of it refers to the cheap colours used in local communities in India where they cannot afford to purchase safe, non-toxic powders.  Rest assured I’ve paid quit a bit extra for non-toxic and safe powders, so we will not have any of the risks you might read about online.  However, even the safe colours can stain, so you will need to follow the instructions above to make cleanup a lot easier.

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