Cars, Girls and California Sun
September 14, 2015
Mina Elizabeth
September 26, 2015

Photographer: Roger Talley

Projecting Patterns Onto A Model


Focal Length


All of us have seen pictures of the patterns that naturally occur as light streams through objects like Venetian blinds. Jess Robinson So then the question arises, “How can we produce patterns that can be projected onto objects or models for photography?”. This article shows one approach to it and the pictures that can result.

I chose to start with something simple: black lines, similar to what you would get through those blinds. You can make easily them in Photoshop. To vary the effect of simple lines they can be made so they are mostly clear, mostly dark, and changing the spacing. Then you can add complexity by making them into a grid, or choosing any other repetitive pattern you like. I settled on just lines, grids and stars of various thickness for this experiment.

The files can be projected directly onto a subject from an electronic projector. I started with an inexpensive SVGA (800×600) resolution machine, but found that the patterns were pixelated noticeably, and ended up trying a true HD native resolution (1920×1080) projector to reduce that problem.

Even so, while electronic projection has its advantages, the resolution issue and small depth of field made it hard to get consistently crisp results as the model moved around in the projection. So I decided to try using a 35mm slide projector, which had the advantage of a larger “in focus” area for the projected image.

That meant that the digital pattern had to be higher resolution than what was needed for electronic projection – at least 1600 pixels in the larger dimension, and higher recommended. Pixels are cheap; I chose 2400×1600 and it worked fine. Doing the conversion from digital to a physical slide is easy. Most major cities have one or more labs that will do conversions for you. I chose the simpler route of uploading the patterns to one of the online websites that provide this service ( and had my slides back in four days.

As expected, the results from a film projector were better. The projector could be further from the model, so she had freedom to move 2-3 feet back and forth and still get a reasonably crisp image. So the only remaining issues were how to project the patterns (directly, from the side, from above . . .), what kinds of backdrops to use, and what to do about shadows. The answers to those questions turned out to be easy and fun: play around. See what works.


Models:  (not all models want to be fully identified.)

April Berry

Desiree Lacole

Emmy Elle

Gabby Hile

Jess Robinson





Photographer: Roger Talley


Roger Talley
Roger Talley
Roger has worked as a photojournalist with over 200 published articles in local, national and international magazines, has been a commercial and fashion photographer with scores of tearsheets, and owned and operated a model agency in New York City for five years.