Pattern projection ~ idea

Apr 25, 2012 | Continuous Lighting, Studio | 4 comments

Last week I was helping an A level photography student realise the ideas she had for a set of pictures and I suggested we use a data projector to project patterns, spots and stripes on people and not use gobos in projector lamps. Here are a few frames I took of my daughter Francesca using my Fuji X-Pro1.

A simple pattern pulled from Google and modified in Photoshop was used as the source image to my data projector. I used a 3000 lumens, DLP projector with a resolution of 1400 pixels x 1050 pixels. Since I took this shot I have now bought a new LCD projector with 1920 pixels x 1200 pixels and 4200 Lumens. DLP is not great for colour photography because it forces a slow shutter speed in order to get an even colour rendition. LCD is better.

Francesca is standing in front of my dark grey studio wall and is wearing a black leotard and tights.

A simple bar code pattern is a great background in it's own right.


I’m going to develop these ideas and create more stripey and patterned bodyscapes. I can live edit the light using Photoshop brushes so anything is possible. Please feel free to comment.


  1. Stephen Kean Low

    Very clever. Projector is not new, most of us have used it before, but no one has ever think of using it in photography. BIG thumbs up!!!

    I wonder is it possible to use studio flash or speedlight to do the same effect? I guess I can only get “sun through tree leafs” effect.

    • damien

      Hi Stephen,

      I think you answered your own question. Thanks for your kind words.


  2. Andrew Cresswell

    WOW, this is uncanny. I was giving a client presentation last week with my projector thinking about what possibilities there were for some creative studio lighting. Guess you have answered my questions, will be experimenting very soon :) Thanks Damien.
    (p.s. Having great fun with the Lupo’s bought from you at Focus, used at recent wedding for backlighting in the dark, great fun)

    • damien

      Hi Andrew,

      There is pleanty more to shoot with a projector as a light source. I’m waiting for a rainy day without a workshop or shoot to give it another go. I’m glad you are feeling creative with the Lupolux lights :)

      Cheers, Damien.


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