- Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 July 2020 01:19
- Real. Sexy. Photography.: The Art and Business of Boudoir
- Nudes on Location: Posing and Lighting for Photographers
- The Beginner's Guide to Photographing Nudes
- Ruth Bernhard: The Eternal Body: A Collection of Fifty Nudes
- The Nude: Conceptual Approaches to Fine Art Photography
Nude Photography Tip #8: Use a Longer Lens
photo by AleksandarNakic via iStock
Using a longer focal length lens accomplishes a couple of things.
First, longer focal lengths mean you have to be further away from the model, and they will likely appreciate that extra bit of personal space during their session. See nude photography - main page here.
Second, longer focal lengths compress the scene, which is often quite flattering for portraits. So, instead of using a 35mm or 50mm prime, give an 85mm or 135mm lens a shot. It could help you create something that looks more like fine art.
Quick Tip: Another lens option to consider for nude photography is a 70-200mm zoom. Though prime lenses rein supreme for portraiture, a 70-200mm zoom gives you excellent focal length variability while offering sharp results throughout. Do a search online of your model of camera to see what types of lenses you might be able to buy.
Nude Photography Tip #9: Omit the Model’s Face
photo by Milkos via iStock
If you’ve seen much boudoir photography or artistic nude photography, you know that often the model’s face doesn’t appear in the shot.
Instead, as mentioned earlier, nude imagery often concentrates on the form of the human body.
Don’t be afraid to capture photographs of the model from behind or the side, or to crop images in post to omit the model’s face. Faceless portraits can often be equally, if not more powerful, than those that show the model’s face! Nudes like this have a mystery about them that can be very compelling. Do a search online for these kinds of shots and you'll see!
Nude Photography Tip #10: Try Black and White
photo by miljko via iStock
Like I mentioned earlier, nude photography is more about the shape and form of the body and its interaction with light than it is about the fact that the model is nude. In this way, it is a pursuit of creating fine art. This is true whether you're working with women or men.
When you consider things like shapes, forms, and textures, your mind should immediately go to black and white images, as those elements are perfect for a photo without color.
Just like stripping down and being nude simplifies how a body is presented, removing color from an image simplifies the photo.
The trick, of course, is to focus your attention on those elements that make black and white photos stand out. Find ways to increase contrast. Experiment with different lighting setups and type of lighting, for that matter (which you can learn how to do in the video above by Michael's Photo Tips). See what other artists have done. Doing so will help you create nude compositions that have a classic, artistic look. These kind of nudes will impress the model and viewers alike as well.
Bonus Nude Photography Tip #1: Never Touch the Model
Photo by PeopleImages via iStock
This should go without saying, but let's say it anyway: don't touch the model.
This is good advice for any kind of portraiture, but especially nude portraiture of women or men.
It's easy to get lost in the moment and simply reach out to position the model's leg, arm, or hand. Doing so is a violation of their space, unless you've asked them and they've give you the go-ahead to touch them.
Instead of feeling like you need to help the model pose by physically moving them, communicate with them what you want them to do. It's a much more respectful and safer approach!
Bonus Nude Photography Tip #2: Get Outside
Photo by Kharchenko_irina7 via iStock
Not all nude imagery should take place in the dark recesses of your studio.
Instead, find a location outdoors where you can capture some au naturel photographs amongst the beauty of the world around us. It can really increase the value of your photographs as fine art!
Obviously, nude outdoor photography requires a whole other set of precautions, like ensuring it's a private location where passersby won't get an eyeful of your models.
But, as you can see above, in the right setting, this type of nude photography can be quite breathtaking! Nudes like this have wonderful depth, visual interest, and appeal.
Quick Tip: Find outdoor locations with lots of texture, like a forest where the bark of the trees and the shape of the leaves provide interesting contrast with the smooth skin of the model. Likewise, avoid shooting at midday so the photograph isn't overrun with harsh shadows. Find a shady spot, wait for some cloud cover, or shoot at golden hour to get the best results.
Bonus Nude Photography Tip #3: Don't Be a Copycat
Photo by Casarsa via iStock
As with any kind of photograph, it's important for you to find inspiration in what others have done before you.
But taking inspiration from someone is a totally different animal than simply copying what they do.
Photo by proxyminder via iStock
Below, I've listed some nude photography recommended reading to help get your creative ideas flowing for shots of women and men. Discover what prominent nude photographers have done, identify what you like and don't like about their examples of nudes, learn a few more tips and tricks, and utilize that knowledge to create nude images of your own.
Often, finding your unique creative voice is the hardest part of being a photographer. The same applies to fine art nude photography, too. But developing your personal style is also supremely satisfying because you create art unlike anyone else has created before. How cool is that?!
Nude Photography Recommended Reading
These excellent books will help you step up the quality of your portraits: