Nude photography is a fascinating genre of portrait and fine art photography that embodies creativity, technique, and professionalism. I label some nude photography as a form of portrait photography since it involves people, but I also see much of it as a form of fine art.
Check out the instructional and inspirational articles at PhotographyTalk.com for an excellent view of this interesting photographic artform. Nude photography can be a great source of extra income as boudoir imaging, glamour photography, or fine art images.
How To Get Started in Nude Photography
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How to get started in nude photography of any kind can be quite puzzling at first. Things such as how to find models, where and when to shoot, what regulations or legalities are involved are all important subjects.
A great way to find models for nude photography is to join a photography club or talk group. These can be in person locally or online both locally and elsewhere. Within these groups are often a network of people that have been involved behind the camera and also as subjects.
What’s good about this is that you right away you’re not in some (ahem) *questionable* situation, but involved with people serious about the artform of nude photography. For starting out, that’s a huge part of becoming comfortable with the genre.
If you’re already pretty sure about your abilities to create great nude photography images, just letting people know you also do nude photography can even net you some volunteers. A portrait client might like a boudoir session, for instance.
Talk It Out
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Important with almost every genre of photography that involves people, being able to clearly converse with the subject is vitally essential. Communication should be happening before, during, and after the nude photography photoshoot.
You already have to have a conversation about booking the shoot, when, where, and who needs to be decided on ahead of time. So, use this opportunity to also talk about the images desired, the poses, how much nudity will be involved, what the final results should be, and so on.
During this stage, really listen to the intended subject, get their ideas. This conversation can open the door for some great images.
As you’re taking the photos is another time to keep the line of communication open. Some models and many of us as photographers tend to get into a zone, but this doesn’t mean all talking ceases. Direction in posing may be needed, but encouragement is a form of speech that assists the creative process in a great way.
Afterwards, have a discussion with the model to see what they thought about the process, what other style of images they might enjoy during your next nude photography session. If they’re a paying client, this could be an opportunity to open the door for nude photography referrals, perhaps with some sort of reward initiative on our part, such as discounts on physical prints or on a future session.
Choose a Good Location
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Where the photos are taken falls under the categories of the creative process, compliance with local regulations, and how comfortable the subject of the nude photography images will be.
If you have your own studio, make sure to equip it in a way that is conducive to good results. It should stay at a comfortable temperature, props or furniture can be used, and you can maintain a level of privacy.
If you don’t have a studio or a home studio, look into renting one for a session. If you do have a studio of your own, perhaps check out what would be involved with local regulations and your insurance about making it available for other photographers to rent for their nude photography bookings.
Outdoor locations are another idea for unleashing your creative ideas for nude photography. Just make sure you can still have enough privacy and that the Law in your locality is strictly adhered to and that your photography insurance covers that type of photoshoot.
Stay Completely Professional
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This really should be our standard with all of our photographic endeavors, but it really needs to be our mindset with this type of photography.
When we’re speaking our nude photography subjects, before, during, and afterwards, it’s important to choose our words well. This impresses on their minds that we’re looking at the art of the situation is both comforting and reassuring.
It’s also a pretty basic rule of thumb that we avoid unwanted or unexpected touching, even if it’s for posing directions. Using a model guide is a good method, as is being very specific verbally.
Staying professional also means being completely aware of the laws and regulations in our area covering nide photography, using a model release (even for unpaid photoshoots), and being sure our photography insurance has the proper coverage.
Play with Lighting and Composition
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Now we’re ready to get into the fun of nude photography! We already know several good lighting techniques and configurations. Using these as a starting place, vary them up and try out different ideas. The same goes for posing our subjects and employing different rules and techniques of composition.
Use these ideas, inspiration, and instruction to get started in nude photography!