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News & Insight

UV Lights and Body Paint | Von Wong Inspires Again In This BTS Video

By Chris Nachtwey on July 10th 2014

With so many photographers in the world, it’s easy to feel like a lot of the work we as photographers see on a daily basis is redundant. Enter Von Wong. He does nothing ordinary. I’m at the point where you can show me a Von Wong image and I will probably know it’s his work without you needing to tell me. Just because it is so different in his vision and creativity.


Recently Von Wong teamed up with body painter Michael Rosner for an awesome project. Using a mix of glow-in-the-dark body paint, UV lights, and special UV adapters on his strobes, Von Wong creates truly one of a kind images. Check out the BTS video below. It’s awesome!


Gear Used

Nikon D800E
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
Broncolor Move 1200L Packs
Broncolor Paras
Broncolor UV adapters
UV Lights



Von Wong went with some serious firepower for lighting, breaking out Broncolor Move 1200L Packs bouncing  into Broncolor Paras. The Broncolor UV adapters are important, because they transmit UV light and filter out other wavelengths. He also had some inexpensive continuous UV lights lighting his subjects. The mix of continuous and strobe lights helped him not only light and focus his subjects, it allowed him to shoot at lower shutter speeds (drag the shutter) to add some surreal movement to his images.





Personally for me, these images are amazing!  They’re honestly some of the coolest images I have seen Von Wong, or anyone make for that matter lately. Let’s get real for a second though, and even Von Wong mentions this in the video, the Broncolor UV adapters are extremely expensive. They’re not a piece of gear the average photographer has in their kit. I would have liked to see some images made using just the cheap continuous UV lights to give an example for the average shooter. Either way, the images are still inspiring and really cool.

You can read more over on Von Wong’s blog.


CREDITS: Photographs by Von Wong have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist

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Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Barry Cunningham

    Just an old guy’s note of caution: Please be careful about how UV exposure for you and your models. Low levels, particularly on flash, should be enough to get body paint and the like to light up and they should be fine. But, bright UV light sources can cause eye damage, so think twice about DIY continuous light solutions to make sure everybody stays safe. UV can also cause skin damage, but this is less likely to be a problem unless your set doubles a tanning booth.

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  2. Jared Stewart

    Incredible images as usual!

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  3. Nick Viton

    I met Ben at New Year’s while he was working. He took time out of his shoot just to chat with me. Amazing, generous, caring, stand-up genuine guy.

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  4. Aaron Spencer


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  5. Anthony McFarlane

    Another epic shoot…

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  6. Stan Rogers

    We’re not so far from the ’70s, you know, that you can’t still find the odd old-fashioned “head shop” run by earnest hippies in larger metropolitan areas, and in there you just may find UV gel wrappers/tubes meant for good (yeah, like they’re any good at all) old-fashioned flickery-greenish fluorescent tubes. (How else are you going to appreciate your psychedelic black light posters in all their glory? Double up the lighting and use dedicated black light tubes? Your mom will KNOW, man.) Now, you CAN throw them over your nice flicker-free T8s, I suppose, but you can also cut them up into neat little speedlight filters. (Your new guide number will be a very small and easily-remembered single digit, since your flash is probably a newer model that has some amount of UV filtration built in, even if that only amount to a thicker glass tube than we had in the old days. Don’t worry about the camera’s built-in UV filtration, since the dayglo paint/makeup and props emit visible light.) I’m afraid there’s no cheap DIY substitute for the Para, though (although there are expensive DIY substitutes and cheapER commercial near-equivalents that’ll knock the price down from terrifying to merely really scary).

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  7. Herm Tjioe


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  8. Tyler Friesen

    His work is always incredible.

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