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9 Nude Photography Tips

Warning: Lets start this tutorial with a warning. This post is about Nude Photography and does cover a topic that some may find offensive. We’ve only included one very tame image and the post is (in my opinion) very tastefully written by a woman (one of our forum members who wishes to remain anonymous) who shares her experience and some lessons learned while photographing a friend.

If you think you’ll be offended by this post we do invite you to skip this post. This is a topic many of our readers are interested in so we feel it is relevant but do understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

9 Nude Photography Tips

Image by Daniel James

Image by Daniel James

Let me start by saying that I never thought I’d do any nude photography – not because I am against it as a form of Art – but partly because it never seriously crossed my mind as something I’d do and partly because I never thought I’d come across anyone who would pose for me.

However recently a long term friend asked me if I’d be interested of taking some nude photos of her for her husband.

At first I thought she was joking but she was quite serious. They’ve been married for 10 years and she wanted some tasteful shots – nothing too risque or explicit – that she could give to celebrate their anniversary. She wanted someone that she could trust and someone who she thought could take a decent shot.

After attempting to convincing her that perhaps I wasn’t a good enough photographer for the job – I eventually agreed. We set up a time for the shoot at my home and I set up a simple make shift home studio. Below are some of the lessons that I learned from the experience.

1. Know what you’re looking for before you start shooting – what ended up happening with us is that when my friend arrived for the shoot and we started taking photos we quickly realized that we didn’t really have too many clues when it comes to posing for these types of shots. The first shots I took were quite bad and we quickly realized that we (or I) were not prepared. We decided to take a break and I pulled out a few of my photography magazines and books where I knew there would be examples of some poses that we could aim for.

We chose a pose that we wanted to start with – a shot of her standing with her back to the camera – the focus being her back – lit from the side to accentuate her curves. We saw this ‘classic’ nude shot in a couple of different books and thought it’d be a good place to start. Knowing what we wanted to achieve in this shot helped a lot. Taking nude shots is not as simple as grabbing a camera and getting your gear off – it helps to know what shot you’re attempting to get.

2. Try Black and While – at the start of our shoot we were shooting in color. The results were quite confronting to my model. She is a beautiful woman but even the best of us have a few blemishes or blotches on our skin that can be quite eye catching in shots. I had been intending to shoot in color and convert the images to black and white later but on seeing her reaction to the shots I’d taken decided to shoot in Black and White.

In doing so I noticed that the shots completely changed in their look and feel. They became less about the body in the shots and more about the shapes, the light, the shadows etc.

3. Warm up the Room – ok, so a practical tip and perhaps an obvious one. Make sure the heating is on! I actually didn’t notice the coolness of the room (I had my clothes on after all and perhaps had a bit of adrenaline at the thought of messing up the shoot) but my friend certainly did. It’s hard to pose and look relaxed when you’re shivering!

4. Use Longer Focal Lengths – this will probably vary from person to person but we found that things worked best when I shot with longer focal lengths. Perhaps it was partly that I wasn’t up real close and personal as I took my shots and this allowed my subject some personal space – but the shots when I used a longer lens were better than those when shooting with short ones. I had started off shooting with a 50mm lens but ended up using a Canon 85mm prime lens that I’d borrowed from a friend for most of the shoot and was very happy with the shots.

I also had a 70-200mm lens which came in handy towards the end of the shoot when we did some shots that focused upon taking some more close up shots of parts of her body – almost abstract type shots.

5. Anonymity Helps – another thing that we discovered as we went along is that the shots where my friend’s face was turned away from the camera were somehow more photogenic than those in which she was looking at the camera. Again it wasn’t that she’s not attractive or that she was uncomfortable with the situation – but something about seeing her face proved to be a little distracting in the images. Not seeing her face on the other hand added a little mystery into the shots. I’m not quite sure how to describe it any other way but the images also became a little less confronting.

6. Keep the mood relaxed and fun – I had the advantage of being friends with my subject and being a woman myself put her at ease more than if I were a male – however even with those two advantages it was a somewhat never wracking experience for both of us. Being naked in front of another person and being that other person can be quite confronting – although it can also be quite funny if you let it be. We took the ‘funny’ approach and spent a lot of the time giggling like school girls and I think it helped us move beyond the initial awkward stage.

I also had a couple of sheets and blankets handy so that between shots my friend was able to coverup and keep warm. We also used them to keep her covered when we were taking some of the close up shots later on where they couldn’t be seen.

7. My Home Studio – we used a couple of setups that worked well. One was with black material behind the model and a couple of spot lights lighting her from the side. We did this with the first shot that I mentioned above and it left us with the effect of her standing in front of a dark background. The other shot was her sitting on a chair that we covered with a white sheet. This we lit with natural light from a great window in my home.

My main advice is to keep it simple when it comes to your set up. You don’t really want your subject standing around while you adjust settings and get things set up – you want him or her to be relaxed and not put out by the experience.

8. Simple Poses – I wish I could show some of the shots we took (by my friend would be horrified with that as they were shots just for her husband and her and not the masses here at DPS) but the best shots were very very simple shots.

I’m not sure if this helps but I found that when I stopped treating my friend as a person wanting a portrait and started looking for shapes and considering how light was falling on her body (almost more like a landscape) that I started to get the best results. As a result I had her stand, sit and lay in comfortable positions and found myself moving around her more than having her move around me.

9. Cover Up – another lesson that we discovered over the morning that we shot was that sometimes less skin is more. We tried a few shots where my subject covered herself up in a number of ways – either by using her hands and arms to cover her torso or where she even at one point wore an unbuttoned shirt.

As it turned out some of these were her husbands favorites.

Over all the experience of photographing a naked person was one that was a great learning experience. I’m not sure that it will ever be something that I’ll do again (although my friend wants to do it again for their 20th anniversary) however it was one that taught me a lot. I am sure many other DPS readers have experiences that they could add to this in comments below – I’m looking forward to learning more from you.

PS from Darren: The DPS forums do have an area set aside for nude photography. This is a password protected area and one with fairly strict guidelines and well enforced moderation. If you’d like to be a part of it you need to be over 18 and approach one of our administrators (Sime or Darren) for a password.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Jerry

    I found the article to be very tastefully written and the authors advice was right on. I have shot quite a few nudes, both for artistic styles and some at the request of models for portfolios and magazine submissions. I tend to enjoy more of the natural settings and lighting for a more realistic appearance. One of the biggest elements to remain successful at shooting nudes, is a trust between you and the models, second most important thing is to always keep your model safe and comfortable. I encourage them to bring an escort, after awhile they start calling me to schedule sessions without escorts and is comfortable with my assistant and me in almost any enviroment to make great photos. Thanks for a great article!!

  • Samantha

    Hi! Does anyone have recommendation for a photographer who can do tasteful nudes and is willing to take the pictures on my sd card? I don’t mind if they keep the ones without my face but I’m concerned about privacy.

    Thank you!

  • May Baird

    I have been asked to do a nude photo session for life drawing purposes by a total stranger who replied to my ad offering portrait photography, thought it was a wind up at first but quickly realised he seemed more nervous than me over the telephone. I am willing to have a go but not sure I have the ability or equipment to get good photographs though. Nikon D40X 18 – 105 Nikon lens, Nikon SS 400 flashgun. Should I shoot in Micro mode ?
    what background is best. ? I cant exactly do a practice run beforehand.

    May

  • Ian Benn

    I am in the same situation and never ever took any photos like this, felt a little uncomfortable. Reading this has built up my confidence lots and i am now able to try at least a few shots,many thanks for the help i needed.

  • Brant

    Another idea that has worked out very well for me is to use a very large mirror as part of the props to start off. It allows the model to get a feel for herself. Plus it may result in some unexpected yet pleasing angles as the camera captures both sides of the subject. If the mirror is clean enough, I have found that I can crop out the original model and use the reflection instead. I don’t use dance studio mirrors as it becomes too much a part of the background and you can’t change the tilt of those as they are hanging on a wall. Also try some shots from above with the model sitting on the mirror.
    Lighting is a bit harder (hiding the light sources can be difficult), but almost all of my best nude pictures have been produced using a mirror. Another hint for mirror shots is to always take two shots for every one you normally would. One with the model in focus, and one with the reflection in focus. Photoshop the two together to get both in focus.
    I have also found that shooting from a distance is a must with nude shots. The way the 80mm+ lenses “flatten” the subject really help with these types of shots. I have found that the further away I can get and zoom in, the more natural the model looks in the final photo.

  • Rosser

    On a female photographer: when I was engaged to my now wife of 45 years, a close older friend of hers and his wife convinced her to do some nudes for me for my birthday. The pictures were wonderful, very tastefully done. However, being young, foolish, and very proper at the time, I was very uncomfortable with the fact that a man, who was not a doctor or family member, had seen my wife nude.

Some older comments

  • Brant

    July 22, 2013 02:18 am

    Another idea that has worked out very well for me is to use a very large mirror as part of the props to start off. It allows the model to get a feel for herself. Plus it may result in some unexpected yet pleasing angles as the camera captures both sides of the subject. If the mirror is clean enough, I have found that I can crop out the original model and use the reflection instead. I don't use dance studio mirrors as it becomes too much a part of the background and you can't change the tilt of those as they are hanging on a wall. Also try some shots from above with the model sitting on the mirror.
    Lighting is a bit harder (hiding the light sources can be difficult), but almost all of my best nude pictures have been produced using a mirror. Another hint for mirror shots is to always take two shots for every one you normally would. One with the model in focus, and one with the reflection in focus. Photoshop the two together to get both in focus.
    I have also found that shooting from a distance is a must with nude shots. The way the 80mm+ lenses "flatten" the subject really help with these types of shots. I have found that the further away I can get and zoom in, the more natural the model looks in the final photo.

  • Ian Benn

    April 28, 2013 11:44 pm

    I am in the same situation and never ever took any photos like this, felt a little uncomfortable. Reading this has built up my confidence lots and i am now able to try at least a few shots,many thanks for the help i needed.

  • May Baird

    June 10, 2011 06:38 pm

    I have been asked to do a nude photo session for life drawing purposes by a total stranger who replied to my ad offering portrait photography, thought it was a wind up at first but quickly realised he seemed more nervous than me over the telephone. I am willing to have a go but not sure I have the ability or equipment to get good photographs though. Nikon D40X 18 - 105 Nikon lens, Nikon SS 400 flashgun. Should I shoot in Micro mode ?
    what background is best. ? I cant exactly do a practice run beforehand.

    May

  • Samantha

    March 10, 2011 12:11 am

    Hi! Does anyone have recommendation for a photographer who can do tasteful nudes and is willing to take the pictures on my sd card? I don't mind if they keep the ones without my face but I'm concerned about privacy.

    Thank you!

  • Jerry

    July 26, 2010 11:39 pm

    I found the article to be very tastefully written and the authors advice was right on. I have shot quite a few nudes, both for artistic styles and some at the request of models for portfolios and magazine submissions. I tend to enjoy more of the natural settings and lighting for a more realistic appearance. One of the biggest elements to remain successful at shooting nudes, is a trust between you and the models, second most important thing is to always keep your model safe and comfortable. I encourage them to bring an escort, after awhile they start calling me to schedule sessions without escorts and is comfortable with my assistant and me in almost any enviroment to make great photos. Thanks for a great article!!

  • Ash

    April 5, 2010 03:02 pm

    Thanks for tips on nude photography.

  • Anonymous

    April 2, 2010 06:35 am

    I got my start in pro/amateur photography by shooting nudes/semi-nudes. The warmth of the air is critical if you want to maintain any kind of skin surface at all. You cannot cover all the "goose pimples" or "gooseflesh" no matter what program you use. I would love to upload some, but I have concerns because they're a bit risque for this site. I primarily shoot now for people who have a spouse fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq and want to remind them of what awaits them at home. I am a male and shoot primarily - though not exclusively - females. Ideal props in my opinion have been shooting against a red, white or black/midnight blue background using roses as the props to conceal private parts. Critical to any nude work is the amount of time you spend with your subject before the shoot to obtain a comfort level. I disagree with the wine concept because there are laws dealing with obtaining signed photographic releases where the subject COULD be even the slightest bit incapacitatated. And yes, many of my best nude shots were taken at 2 specific times. 1) while subject was preparing for the shoot and as such not themselves distracted by their own nudity - such as while applying eye makeup and the shot unexpected, and; 2) When the nudity itself is not a distraction from the overall artwork of the shot. (Nudity implied, but not actually shown).

    For those considering a career in this field, permit me to say it will take all of a week to get over the fact that your subject is sans clothing. In order to get artistic rather than erotic shots there are probably 50 other factors much more demanding of your attention! i.e. lighting, posing, props, backdrops, eyeglass glare, skin glare, hair placement, tattoos, piercings, eye makeup, lip makeup, application of face powders, wrinkles (where they don't belong), stretch marks, "cottage cheese", etc............ad infinitum.

  • Pat

    March 25, 2010 12:24 am

    @ElegantEye

    Hi Aaron, I'd be happy to have a look although I can't promise it would be more than a browse as my photography business is really starting to pick up now after many months of hard slog. Weddings are still quiet but boudoir, nudes, pregnancy followed by newborns is starting to grow now, which is great news :-)

    If interested email me direct so we can take this off line. You can get my email off my website.

    Pat
    Inner Beauty Photography

  • ElegantEye

    March 23, 2010 08:16 am

    @Pat

    Hi Pat. I'm very close to publishing my first how-to guide. It is about 120 pages. If someone has a prowess in both the mechanics of English and photography, I'd love to have them volunteer to review my book.

    Aaron

  • Pat

    March 23, 2010 12:25 am

    @ElegantEye

    I hope you'll let us know when your how-to guides are written so we can see them. Perhaps you'd like to let some photographers review it for feedback before publishing - just a thought :-)

    Pat
    Inner Beauty Photography

  • ElegantEye

    March 21, 2010 10:26 pm

    I enjoyed reading the article and comments. I've photographed hundreds of nude models, and am writing how-to guides for nude photography. A lot of the advice above is the same as I would give.

  • Rhoel

    March 19, 2010 09:03 am

    hi darren,

    i've been trying to experiment in maternity shots and nude photography....would appreciate it much if i could draw inspiration from the nude photography section on this site.....please kindly e-mail me the password for section... thanks much darren..........

    rhoel

  • Mia Rose

    January 18, 2010 11:42 am

    I enjoyed reading this article. I'm a photographer but recently had the opportunity to pose for shots so experienced it from the other side. One tip that I'd like to add is to work fast. We chose a lovely outdoors setting at a deserted stream with natural rocks. It had to be in winter to minimize the risk of unwanted spectators. I can honestly say I'd never been so cold in my life. The photographer was great and even got into the water with me, but it got to a point where I just couldn't stay in the water for one more second. It's hard to relax into a pose when it's that cold! In hindsight, it would have been nice to have a flask with a hot beverage there to warm up in between poses!

    Warm wishes,
    Mia Rose
    www.basic-photography-tips.com

  • Ann

    January 9, 2010 08:35 am

    Thanks so much for this article and others for tips about pros to check into. This is definitely a difficult area for people but one I'd be willing to take on one day.

    I think a lot of husbands prefer the less risque shots of their wives, despite how much they may be viewers of "very risque" shots or movies...maybe it has to do with the girl I married purity thing or something...it reminds me of Robert DeNiro in one of the Analyze movies talking about things he can't do with his wife so he does them with his girfriend.

  • Erin Dyker

    July 19, 2009 09:26 am

    Great article! I've only done one nude shoot (of a pregnant friend who wanted pics for her husband). My favorite picture from the set was one I snapped during her 'break'...she sitting with her feet up, wearing her robe loosely bound, eating a bowl of ice cream with the bowl was balanced on her bare belly...

  • Eddy

    June 20, 2009 05:07 pm

    Gerson, it's explained in the introduction : "the post is (in my opinion) very tastefully written by a woman (one of our forum members who wishes to remain anonymous) who shares her experience and some lessons learned while photographing a friend."

  • tpphoto

    May 15, 2009 07:39 am

    one other thing to remember when shooting nudes, is too have plenty of time from taking off any tightish clothing to allow elastic (??) lines to vanish away

  • Pat

    February 8, 2009 03:45 am

    Good for you Jodie!

    Photographing nudes is very rewarding. It is much harder than it looks but stick with it and the rewards will come with time and lots of practice.

    Lighting, posing and composition are the key things, which is just about everything :-)

    There are several books on photographing nudes, which will give you a good starting place. Then look for the classics for inspiration from photographers such as Edward Weston.

    Inner Beauty Photography

  • Jodie

    February 7, 2009 01:08 pm

    Thanks for the tips....I am currently taking a black and white photography class and my goal is to specialize in nude photography. I find it artistically stimulating. Your info was well done and not at all inappropriate. It is so hard to find good tips on this subject. Thanks to the others who left tips in their replies as well.

    Respectfully,
    Jodie

  • Gerson

    February 7, 2009 04:06 am

    Hello Darren.
    Are you a man or a woman? Your name seems more like a men's name and your picture definitely doesn't look like that of a woman. But yet, you said in your article (paragraph 6): " I had the advantage of being friends with my subject and being a woman myself put her at ease more than if I were a male -"

    Which is it Darren?

    Regards,
    Gerson

  • Davey

    February 1, 2009 11:47 am

    Wow! :) Great, well-written. I , having POSED nude for art classes as an art model ,(yes, I had the most interesting work study job on campus....) I will tell you that 1.) When I agreed to free lance for a couple of the photography majors it was a very oddly different experience. All of those things that you said were absolutely correct (although I would skip the wine unless you really, really know the photographer well! :)
    2.) all of those things that have been said about tight clothing, being covered, black & white/sepia, having robes, sheets etc... all very helpful. Further..3.).a personal connection with the photographer does wonders... The photos taken of me were primarily of an abstract nature and I didn't see them until they were submitted for showing.. They were nice--and I wasn't recognizeable... :) The experience, though a bit more intimidating than I thought it would be was one I'm glad I had... 4.) You have an obligation to honor any requests your subject has regarding privacy (e.g. keeping the face in sillohette or off camera in full nude shots) Like any candid photos the photographer's relation to the subject both focal and emotional really effect the quality of the pictures...Again, great article--I hope this helps! :)

  • Pat

    February 1, 2009 12:22 am

    David asks about the camera used because of the sensor size and the focal length of the lens used.

    Even though a 50mm lens appears to behave like a short telephoto on an APS sensor compared to a full frame sensor it does not. All lenses behave exactly the same regardless of the sensor size. All that actually happens is that the full image is cropped on the APS sensor giving the illusion that it is magnified. If one was to crop a full frame image down to the same proportion as that of the APS image they would be identical.

    Why is this important?

    It is important because if you're taking close ups of a person, such as a head & shoulder crop a standard or wide lens distorts the facial features. The ideal length for a H&S shot is 85mm to reproduce the face in the most flattering way. We may wish to use other focal lengths for effect of course :-)

    Inner Beauty Photography

  • David Blanchard

    January 31, 2009 11:48 am

    The article fails to mention what kind of camera was used. A 50mm lens is a considerably different critter on an APS sensor than on a full-frame sensor.

    I have done a little nude photography with my Canon APS sensored cameras and found that the 20mm-105mm L lens is a winner. Of course, that lens almost always a winner. That translates into 38mm-168m full-frame.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    January 31, 2009 08:15 am

    great post, thanks!

  • Pat

    January 31, 2009 07:47 am

    Nice article Darren that may encourage others to have a go at this very honourable art form.

    Hope you don't mind me sharing a couple of articles with you all. I'm working on a bridal boudoir article and couldn't resist posting this last night, which shows a set up that readers could mimic at home using window light: http://www.patb-photography.co.uk/1514/bridal-boudoir-photography-touch-of-tenderness/ By making drapes with a material like velvet or satin you can make a great backdrop. This looks so elegant whether the lady is nude, wearing lingerie or a bridal gown.

    Here are a few tips for the nude subject on getting the best from your boudoir photography:
    http://www.patb-photography.co.uk/782/how-to-get-the-best-from-your-boudoir-photography/

    Inner Beauty Photography

  • Darren Rowse

    January 31, 2009 06:38 am

    sv - I'm the editor of DPS and so posted this post. The author (as introduced) wanted to remain anonymous.

  • SV

    January 31, 2009 04:29 am

    Funny or Fishy, but the author is a male (as it says at the very bottom of the article), and yet in lesson 6, it says "being a woman myself". I am thinking this is a copy/paste, and not an original contribution by the author.

    I have seen many articles posted on this website that first showed up on other websites, and yet this website does not link to the source, and claims them to be its original work.

  • Leslie

    January 31, 2009 01:19 am

    This is wonderful! I have a woman coming over to do a Valentine shoot for her hubby this week & I'll incorporate this advice for sure. One thing I will add for anyone wanting to do this for their husbands is that I have asked my friend to bring some of her hubbies work shirts and ties. :) He'll never see those articles of clothing as just work attire again.

  • Tom

    January 30, 2009 09:18 pm

    I don't think the disclaimer is such a bad thing... The tutorial is, in any case, intended for people who have never tried the subject, and might (subconsciously?) imagine it's a taboo subject for photographers like them (wanting to learn, persumably, if they are here on DPS).

  • Marcello

    January 30, 2009 08:47 pm

    I've still not read the article... but i was thinking...
    are we really at the point where we need a disclaimer for *talking* about nude photography?

  • Tanya Plonka

    January 30, 2009 04:12 pm

    What I've recently discovered is that the best way to "warm" your model/subject into the shoot is to do a clothed shoot first, for example in a sexy dress. It gets her into a photo taking mood and makes her start to feel really beautiful before everything is exposed.

    As for the covering up tip... get a sheer piece of fabric and wrap where appropriate, and it can be gorgeous (though usually works better for outdoor photos for your more brave subjects).

  • Alan

    January 30, 2009 12:48 pm

    You are so right canon maiden,
    I try not to show but maybe the best few before I go and save the best for giving them once the shoot is finished.
    Great advice,
    Alan

  • Canon Maiden

    January 30, 2009 12:40 pm

    I had a very similar experience and I agree with pretty much everything here. In the style I'm drawn to, it's all about the shadows, light and curves. Being armed with poses and shots to aim for is excellent advice, both for the photographer and the subject.
    I've found that Gray Tone, B&W and Sepia are always flattering but shooting in color gives more tone to work with after the shot has been converted. A little bit of blur in post processing also does wonders for blotchyness, blemishes and the dreaded stretch marks.
    I do however, like to agree beforehand that the subject not see the shots until after I have a chance to play with them. Of course it's always nice to take a quick look at the shots, pick one or two, make whatever adjustments in color or crop and show them to your subject before she leaves. It'll please her very much and she'll look forward to seeing the rest with enthusiasm.

  • J.D. Dickerson

    January 30, 2009 10:34 am

    A great post for anyone shooting their first nudes. I've created commissioned nudes for about ten years and anyone reading this post who has never photographed a nude, I highly recommend that you give it a shot. It's required learning for all photo students, and for great reason. You can learn a great deal not only about how the body responds to light and vice versa, but about the visceral qualities that define your style: compassion, delicacy, intimacy with a human subject, etcetera.

    Also, another little tip for newbie nude shooters that will save you a little time in post: when shooting a nude, ask your model to forbear wearing constricting clothes for a couple of hours before the shoot. Bras, socks, even tight jeans and such can leave imprints in the skin which are just annoying to remove in post. Happy shooting, everyone.

  • Gary

    January 30, 2009 07:15 am

    Thanks for the great post and information.

    And seriously, are we all ashamed of our own bodies? Nudity doesn't have to be a negative/bad thing.

  • Charlie

    January 30, 2009 05:33 am

    In item 5 the word you are looking for is "alluring". The face turned away look adds an air of mystery and/or modesty that is very fetching in a nude photo.

  • Alan

    January 30, 2009 05:21 am

    Wow,
    I am shocked at the response from adults, thinking they would be offended by nude photography.

    I have done several nude photo shoots, what I have found is that you get the time and appointment set up at least a week or so in advance. Then you start talking to the client on a regular everyday to every other day schedule. Talk about how much fun it will be, what you want from the shoot, what they expect from the shoot, who they are going to share their photos with etc. That way you know what their intentionsare for the photos, if they will be displayed in their home etc.
    Get to the shoot early so you can talk and sometimes I ask them if they would like a light snack or 1-2max glasses of wine for the shoot. That usually loosens most people up and the fact that you have spent an hour or so talking about their life and what is about to happen thrown in sometimes.
    Just my 2 cents.
    Alan

  • John

    January 30, 2009 04:28 am

    Another good tip in to make sure the model goes underwearly for a couple hours before the shoot. Underwear marks are hard to shoot around.
    Also most people look better with some clothing. Not that many perpect bodies out there

  • carole

    January 30, 2009 03:31 am

    While I do not do nude photography, I find these tips very helpful in photographing people in general. The body is a beautiful art work.....i find I can get some beautful images with the clothes on also. Some times its best to leave some things to he imagination......

  • Tom

    January 30, 2009 02:55 am

    Exactly what I know I can expect to find on DPS -- great articles. I'm not quite sure quite what I expected to find on this subject when I clicked through to the article -- but I knew when I got here: this!

  • Becci

    January 30, 2009 01:56 am

    That was a very interesting and inspiring post. Thanks. I can't wait to shoot my first nude.

  • NormMonkey

    January 30, 2009 12:46 am

    RE: Anonymity -- Most people are uncomfortable admiring someone when that someone is staring right back at them. Someone staring at you indicates concern or threat on their part. When someone knows you're there but they're looking away from you, they're clearly comfortable with your presence. Imagine a cat watching you with hawk eyes as you move around the room vs. one that gives you a glance and curls back up for a nap.

    So if your goal is viewer relaxation, e.g. for the model to say "please admire me at your leisure" then having them look away will help accomplish that. On the other hand, having your model look at the camera as part of a pose can inspire other feelings, e.g. a "come hither" look over the shoulder, a playful look as they crawl towards the camera on hands and knees, etc.

    I guess an important thing with this point is to combine it with #1, "Know what you're looking for...". When you're coming up with ideas for poses, don't forget to include where you want your model to look.

  • Photoskipper

    January 30, 2009 12:34 am

    I had the similar experience as Darren. During a trip overseas, a colleague made the same request. The job was done in her hotel room. Lucky that I had 2 flash guns and the 70-200F2.8 in my gear box.
    The learning:
    1. Use what ever available in the room - the white bed sheet as reflector, the white pillow case for the softbox, floor lamp pole and cushions to support the flash.
    2. discuss the pose, composition and what to take then put it on the story board
    3. Set up the lighting and tested shot with full clothes on. Mount the camera on tripod and preset the exposure.
    4. Let her pose as comfort as possible before I turn my head to her.
    5. do it with respect.
    6. Most important - keep it confidential and respect. No sharing of photos to other people.

  • Ruthanne

    January 30, 2009 12:05 am

    So delighted to read this post. Have wanted to explore nudes thru photography having done so thru art classes...hoping to blend the two forms somehow.

  • Steve Marcum kptasteve

    January 29, 2009 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have just finished a couple of these so if you do not mind I would respectfully like to add some advice.

    1. Set aside plenty of time to do this. I was surprised how long it took to get the number of good shots, and keep a relaxed pace.

    2. If some of the poses are on a flat surface, make sure it does not have a texture to it. A weave pattern gets imprinted on the skin when you lie on it.

    3. Keep a warm robe handy to put on during the breaks. With some people the skin color mottles some when cold.

    4. Keep your poses easy. It was very tiring for my friend to hold certain poses. It turned out to be very physical.

    5. Try a variety of natural and artificial lighting. This allows variety in the finished shots.

    6. If possible have an assistant to help with lighting and keeping the model occupied talking and being at ease. It helps to have natural laughter in the shots.

    7. Sometimes some fun props like hats, beads, boas and scarfs help with the beginning shots.

    8. There are many sites online that have collections of artistic poses. Easy to download and have printed out .

    9. Expect to do some post production work on skin tones and such.

    10. Experiment with light and have fun.

  • Sandi

    January 29, 2009 11:39 pm

    I think this topic is so taboo.. but why?? What a lovely idea as a gift for her husband of ten years.
    I think if its done tasteful, then why the heck not. I was thinking of starting up something like that for my business as gifts for husbands, ( of the wives and girlfriends of course!)
    Some people are very timid when it comes to being nude, in front of their own husbands, nevermind a friend.
    If you can relax with them, they will relax and I think you could come out with some fantastic shots.
    I totally agree as well with the black and white. They are more arty that way, and also cover up all of our bits we dont like.

  • rhermans

    January 29, 2009 11:03 pm

    Loved reading the article,

    it's great to have a view of someone who has done a shoot that is so far from the stuff I'm doing.

    thanks for posting

  • Crowd

    January 29, 2009 10:08 pm

    3. Warm up the Room:
    Hmm... it deppends on the model. A profesisonal must be able to pose in any position. The cold hardens the nipples (and the overal skin feel), tightens the pores and srights up any body hair (looks much sexier on close-ups)

  • Henry North London

    January 29, 2009 09:55 pm

    Came here from Twitter... I now know why I bought the 85mm Prime lens... It is an excellent lens to take subjects from faraway...

    Enjoyed the post Well thought out. I have read books about nude photography and wondered but this has helped me understand more

  • philip

    January 29, 2009 09:47 pm

    Nice post!
    Although the 6 line warning made me giggle :)

    I did not expect anything tasteless or offensive on this website and I am wondering how an artikel about nude shot could make one nervous. Its just us - humans, naked.

  • Olivia Bell

    January 29, 2009 09:44 pm

    A very well written post - no need to worry!

  • Ilan

    January 29, 2009 09:37 pm

    Wow... Cool read. Be ready for Digg effect here :)
    I think one important tip is missing - no matter how it sounds - look up other nude photos (artistic not p0rn). I'm sure you'll be fast to see that this kind of photography is very like photos of flowers and sunsets - meaning - 99% of photos tend to be quite the same - Im talking about the "forum photographers" not artists of course.
    Look up for photos of the masters: Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe comes to my mind, and get inspired by their works.
    Don't rush. Read, get inspired.

  • Mel-Anne

    January 29, 2009 09:37 pm

    I was a little nervous when I saw this post in your newsletter but am pleasantly surprised and very impressed with the tact that this post was written with. Thanks for covering the topic. While I don't think I'll ever use the tips in Nude photography there's things in this post that I think I'll take into my portrait work. Thanks for another great DPS post!

  • jf

    January 29, 2009 09:34 pm

    One of the most beautiful shots we have is one my wife took of herself while pregnant, using a timer (I was at the office at the time). She's nude and facing the camera, but covering her breasts and below. Against a white wall. The lighting, the pose, somehow it all came together perfectly.

    One thing about both photographing and drawing nudes... the experience is often surprising, because you quickly find yourself shifting from any feelings of awkwardness or titillation... to amazement at the power of the shadows, the lines, and all those things you usually overlook when looking at a nude figure in the more conventional way.

    I spent a semester in a drawing studio drawing nude models. Our first was a beautiful woman... the rest, not so beautiful. One of the regulars was enormous, snarfing down lasagna from a tin during her breaks. But when you set out to draw the figure... though I know this sounds cliche... a kind of beauty really did emerge, in a way I never would have seen it otherwise.

    Makes one think that a little nude photography (tastefully done) or sketchwork between longtime couples would be a great way to rediscover that kind of awe you experience at the very start of a relationship. It's transcendent of the purely sexual.

  • Edeena Cross

    January 29, 2009 08:51 pm

    This is fantastic! There are a lot of people who want photos taken when they're pregnant, and want to look sexy, too - and this is great and practical advice! THank you so much!!

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