A Guide to Latex – For Aspiring Photographers
The things you need to know about latex before booking your latex photo shoot, the Myths and the practical elements.
Admittedly the title suggest it is aimed towards aspiring photographers but this is a helpful guide for any photographer of any level of expertise who would like to know a little more about latex before booking his or her model.
As a model who wears a lot of latex, I am frequently asked a lot of the same questions or encounter those who think latex is just like any other garment – it’s not.
the first myth I am going to bust, is that it is nothing like PVC, granted both fall within the Fetish genre and both look shiny, but this is where it ends. PVC is usually pretty easy to get on and the fabric is pretty durable. However it doesn’t cling to the every curve of your body like latex does, it can ruffle up, develop stretch scarring and even peel, fun huh?
This is why I have not bought any PVC since the day I bought my first latex dress, and here is why…
Latex is more figure hugging, firming and shows off the body in a way that no other garment can, this is why it is commonly referred to as a second skin.
Before you discard the notion of PVC and go in search of a Latex model or designer here are a few need to know facts and things you should take into account.
- Latex is really expensive, OK so we’re not talking about remortaging your house but its expensive enough that you are going to want to take great care, and the owner of this latex might be bit particular about the details of the shoot. in my average experience the cheapest latex catsuit I have come across falls between £250.00 and £300.00 and thats the starting off point, it can sky rocket from there depending on brand and quality.
- The disadvantage of latex ( unlike PVC ) is that it can easily be punctured during dressing – you know when you’re pulling on something really tight and your nails get involved? do that with latex and you’ll puncture or worse tear it. There is no quickly sewing this up, it has to be sent back to the maker ( assuming not too serious ) to be repaired, at cost.
- Some latex is thinner than others ( see photos below ) with the sheer latex on the legs? tissue paper thin, so high risk of puncture and tear – for this reason I won’t even consider these outfits for a location shoot or a shoot under 4 hours, sorry!
It takes time to put your latex on, depending on garment, a simple dress with straps and a zip, a matter of minutes, usually. the average dressing time of a latex catsuit or anything with limbs is roughly 30 to 45 minutes, and I am going to explain why…
Preparing and Putting on your Latex:
- Firstly you prepare you latex. I usually lay the garment out on a towel and then turn it inside out. I then coat the inside of the latex with a dressing aid. I really like Vividress for this. then I turn it back ( outside on the outside )
- Now I prepare my self and strip ( and this is why a private place is needed for prep and dress ) I use the Vividress dressing aid and cover my body in it, even the parts that although won’t be covered in latex the latex will have to be pulled over.
- I then start to pull the latex on, special attention should be paid to ankles, knees, hands, elbows and shoulders ( if you’re wearing a hood then be careful not to catch the hair in the zip.
- you have to slowly ease the latex on and massage it into place, smooth it out along your arms and legs.
- Once the latex is on and zipped up it still needs time to slip into place and this requires more smoothing and massaging the latex in to place, wriggling and some stretching helps.
- Now you have to polish you latex. I like Vivishine Latex Polish, by the same maker as the dressing aid. you can spot these by their blue bottles with black label but I’ll provide links at the bottom of this post.
- Take time to massage and smooth the polish over the latex, be generous with the polish. Do not use furniture polish, some use dashboard spray, but I wouldn’t even recommend that.
- Once dressed up your model looks amazing, and she/he might feel daring, but avoid things that could damage the latex, like sharp objects, baby oil, even most bath products could be a recipe for disaster. You Urbex shooters might want to be wary about shooting latex where there is lots of sharp objects, broken glass, barbed wire and things you need to climb over…
- Care of your latex model, is she/he OK? as latex is skintight and doesn’t really offer any ventilation it can really make you feel hot, and sweat a lot, in extreme heat ( like this week ) keep shooting time to a minimum, you could probably extend the time by seeking out cool and in the shade areas but in direct sunlight she/he is going to melt. Latex isn’t warm either, so if shooting latex during the colder weather, please keep a warm coat, blanket to hand to offer her if she appears to be shivering ( teeth chattering is a really good indicator of suffering ) One thing I hate is when the photographer faffs about while you’re already in place and disrobed, let your model keep her coat on until you are ready, then she won’t be worn down by the elements before you have begun.
- When you have finished shooting , a towel is always handy 😉
Due to Latex Prep time and changing I usually won’t agree to a Latex shoot under 4 hours, and assuming the garments chosen a 4 hour shoot can range from 1 or 2 outfits only.
For those lovely photographers who invest and buy latex: I salute you.
Latex isn’t some garment that after wearing you can fling in your costume and clobber bag and forget until next time. your last model wore it, had it pressed against her intimate areas and she sweated in it. it needs washing before you offer it to your next model to put on ( I know I am stating the obvious to some but I have known and seen photographers do this, so some missed the hygiene memo )
Product Care: C/O Atsuko Kudo.
1. ALWAYS USE TALCUM POWDER OR WATER BASED LUBRICANT (Pjur Original) INSIDE ALL LATEX CLOTHING BEFORE USE – forcing it on without aid may cause the fabric to rip (lube is better for transparent latex and tighter fitting garments such as leggings, catsuits & gloves – please note only a small amount of lube is required but I find more allows easier slipping on.
2. KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT AND DAYLIGHT – even indoors, store in a dark wrapping.
3. DO NOT STORE LIGHT COLORED LATEX WITH STRONGER COLOURS – the stronger colours can stain the lighter ones.
4. KEEP LATEX AWAY FROM METALS – latex might stain or get otherwise damaged from contact with metals so keep away from coat-hangers, body piercings, belts etc.
5. AVOID CONTACT WITH ALL OILS – oils can permanently stain or otherwise damage latex so keep away from greasy fingers, baby oil, moisturizers which are oil based etc and fake tan (which will also stain).
6. WE RECOMMEND THE USE OF A LATEX POLISH – polish is needed to sustain the quality of your latex garments, it cleans and nourishes the latex keeping it stretchy and vibrant. We recommend the blue polish called PVC dressing (sometimes nick named “Pervo shine”) as it’s the best product we’ve found on the market.
7. WE RECOMMEND THE USE OF WATER BASED LUBRICANT (Pjur Original) – it can be used as a dressing aide as well as to shine the latex, it can be mixed with the polish for extra protection and a high shine.
8. TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN POLISHING PRINTED LATEX – printed latex is more delicate and requires special treatment. When polishing on print use a dabbing method or light strokes, vigorous rubbing may cause the print to wear.
9. TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN WEARING PRINTED LATEX – as with all printed fabrics it is possible that the print on some printed latex may ‘wear’, this is more common where the garment is rubbing against itself or other garments (e.g. under armpits and then corset’s, jackets, handbags etc…).
10) WE RECOMMEND RE-TALCING THE GARMENT AFTER USE – doing this will dry clean the garment and prevent a moist garment from sticking to itself when stored. Never store while moist as the fabric might stick to itself and subsequently rip when being unpeeled.
You can wash your garments if they become particularly dirty, to do this we recommend adding a teaspoon of washing up liquid to a sink of luke warm water, clean and then rinse. Dry the garment with a towel (please note the guidelines above for printed latex and take extra care). We then recommend dipping again in the sink but adding a tablespoon of polish, to the luke warm water, before removing the garment for the last time and a few drops of lube to the water to seal in the moisture. Dry with a j-cloth.