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Archive for May, 2009

7 Tips For Cleaning Up Body Painting

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Here are 7 quick tips for removing body paint from the skin, and also for staying clean and neat while you are working.

1. Check your paints and packaging.

Always use safe paints that have been made specifically for face painting and body painting. They should explicitly say that is what they are for. Read what they say, either on the label, or on the website, about how to clean them up. Some body paints are made to be cleaned with water; others may use a special kind of remover that you will have to buy. Be sure you are cleaning them off skin using the methods the packaging says to use.

2. Use warm water, sponges, and cloths.

If your body painting or face painting supplies say to use only water, or mild soap and water, then follow those instructions. Use warm water if possible to make cleanup nicer for your clients, and easier paint removal. Sponges (the same kind you use to apply body paints) and soft cloths are the best tools; you can use paper towels, but why not save the environment a bit and use something re-useable? And using the same types of sponges you use to put paint on will give you the best kinds of shapes for removing it as well.

3. Use non-allergenic, natural, safe skin soaps.

If you’ve chosen your face and body paints correctly, you have made sure they are meant for face painting and body painted and are almost guaranteed not to cause an allergic reaction. Be sure your clean up soaps follow the same standards. Natural bases like glycerin and castille are good; try to avoid perfumes, artificial colors, and chemicals. If it says ‘natural’ or ‘hypo-allergenic’ on the label, you may still want to check the ingredients, they may still include scents or high amounts of alcohol-stearates, which can cause sensitive skin to react.

4. Be careful around the eyes.

Watch cleaning around the eyes especially - of course ask your client to close their eyes, and go slowly. Some makeup suppliers (Mehron, for example) carry special cleaners especially made for cleaning around eyes; you may want to try one of those. You could also look at makeup suppliers for smaller tools meant for cleaning around eyes. The skin around the eyes (and of course the eye itself) is more sensitive than the rest of the skin, so what works on the rest of the skin may not equally well around the eyes.

5. Baby Wipes are great, but use the right ones.

Baby wipes are great to have on hand, but remember they were formulated for wiping a very different area of the body than the face. This means they have probably not been tested for facial safety and irritation. I would recommend getting baby wipes that are ‘natural,’ but again, check the ingredients on the back. You want no fragrances if possible, and no dyes. Sometimes you can get them especially for ‘sensitive skin,’ again, read the labels. Then try them on your face to see how they work before using them on others.

6. Protect clothing while painting - and washing up.

Paints made for face painting and body painting should never stain the face, but the same can’t be said for clothing. Even water based body paints can still stain clothing. Keep clothing away from the paint as it is being applied, of course - but you will want to watch it when you are cleaning up as well. Soaking paints with water and washing them off can be a drippy process, and colors are even more likely to get on clothes then than when painting. Consider using covering cloths while you are cleaning, even if you didn’t when painting.

7. And Last But Not Least: Don’t Scrub!

Don’t scrub the skin, even if the paints are not coming off properly. Scrubbing can cause bad reactions even if everything else is safe for skin. If your paint is not coming off quickly, be patient, let it soak a bit and try again, gently. Try using something else to clean such as baby wipes or a cloth with a little soap squirted directly on it. You may also want to take a look at the paint’s instructions on cleaning up again - maybe you missed something on cleaning up. In any case, don’t get frustrated and scrub! Your client will appreciate it.

Portrait Photography Tips For Good Looking Portraits

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Types of Portraits

First, it is important to understand the different types of portraits which you can take. There are three basic types of portraits. They are 1) close-ups or head shots, 2) head and shoulder shots and 3) environmental shots. An environmental shot is a type of portrait where the photographer focuses on the subject and the environment that surrounds the subject. This type of shot provides character to the subject.

The type of portrait you choose depends on the purpose of the portrait and the mood you want to convey. A more formal portrait, for example, might feature an upper body shot. A less formal portrait might be an environmental shot. A great environmental portrait can be achieved provided that you frame the environment and the subject well. Arches, doorways and windows can all be used to your advantage for framing an environmental portrait.

Portrait Photography Tips: Posing

There are also different ways in which the subject can be posed. Many of the best portraits are taken when the subject is not actually looking directly into the camera. In fact, great portraits are often taken when the subject is completely comfortable and natural. Allow the subject to sit or stay comfortably.

You might have them sit on a chair or even on the floor. Encourage them to be comfortable. If you need less of a relaxed look, you can always move in closer to focus on a face shot.

Portrait Photography Tips: Depth of Field and Focal Length

Both depth of field and focal length are critical to creating great portraits. When you have a shallow depth of field, the focal point will be sharp while everything else becomes blurry. This can prevent the background from distracting the viewer’s attention from the subject.

A larger aperture setting will result in a shallow depth of field with a background that is softer while the subject is sharp. Likewise a smaller aperture setting will result in both the foreground and the background appearing in focus and sharp.

Zooming or walking in closer will help you to fill the frame with the subject of the portrait. This does not necessarily mean you must do a facial or close-up shot. Filling the frame with your subject will still allow you to achieve a ‘tight’ full-body shot.

Portrait Photography Tips: Lighting

Lighting is critical to good portrait photography. There are various types of lighting that can be used in portrait photography. Main light should typically be diffused or you may have results that are too harsh. You can diffuse the main light by placing something nearly transparent between the main light and the subject. Generally, the main light should be positioned approximately 45 degrees either to the left or the right of the portrait subject.

Fill lights are also used, typically opposite the main light source. Fill lights should be used with less intensity than the main light source; however. One of the advantages of fill lights is that they can soften shadows that may be created as a result of the main light.

Side lights or hair lights can provide lighting for the subject’s hair. This can give your portrait depth and can also help in separating your subject from the background.