Millions of photos are taken from about five feet eight inches (1.75 m) above the ground because that’s the average persons eye line. Whether photographing fine art nudes, boudoir or glamour nudes it pays to look for a different point of view.
It is easy to take better photographs. Anyone, even the best at something can always get better at it. All you have to do is acquire more knowledge, practice, and maybe have a bit of inspiration.
1.2 trillion photographs are taken worldwide per year (statista.com). Before the introduction of mobile phone cameras ninety five percent of these billions of photographs where taken in horizontal format; compact cameras are ergonomically designed to be held that way. Now that eighty five percent of the population uses a smart phone to take photographs ninety five percent are vertical because that’s the way they hold it.
Out of 1.2 trillion how many created rather than taken? How many are composed, and I don’t mean just with the subject fitted in to the frame? Let’s guess at 10% good composition is subjective anyway. So out of that billion or so how many are well composed? Think about your composition
The nude female form elicits a number of, sometimes conflicting, potential responses from the viewer of an artwork. It can be seen as the depiction of a human being as a sex object, an anonymous manifestation of beauty or the nudity can be used to foreground aspects or themes within the picture. The most common criticism levelled at photography is that it simply imitates another art form.
Daylight or Artificial Light
Nature has given us a large, bright light source complete with some very handy diffusers (clouds) which is wonderful for lighting nude photographs. Unfortunately we have no control over when these diffusers appear and, although the sun is always shinning it reaches us with varying intensity.
What lens have you got on that?
I hate talking about gear when I am using it. As a long suffering wedding photographer I used to dread the approach of the serious looking old gentleman, scuffed brown leather cased, 50’s vintage, camera round his neck. Usually he had just been fiddling with for at least ten minutes to take one photograph of his rather overweight, and definitely bored, wife in her best hat. I knew the inevitable question was coming.
‘What sort of lens have you got on that?’
‘That’ was usually a 6×4.5 Bronica film camera. We used to use medium format cameras because no one believed you were a pro with a 35mm SLR
My reply was often a completely genuine, ‘I don’t know.’
I could see him debating as to whether to rush off and exclaim to the bride that she had booked a complete idiot to take her wedding pictures, or whether to tell me not to be such a sarcastic bugger.
Nude Photography with one light (and one model)
Keep it simple stupid is often pretty good advice. These photographs were taken in my studio with one light and one model. OK sometimes I used a reflector to lighten the shadows because the cameras dynamic range doesn’t match the human eye. What’s dynamic range? Free downloadable PDF on Exposure.
If you go down to the woods today.
Shooting location photography, especially nudes is always challenging (and fun) but does need a certain amount of planning. Ideally you will be working with a model that you are familiar with and in a location that you have visited regularly. That way you’ll be prepared for the idiosyncrasies of both. Some models that I work with are downright blasé about public nudity and would happily walk naked through the centre of town. I am continually looking over my shoulder for the blue flashing lights. Others can be embarrassed by a bloke and his dog appearing when they are fully dressed, but both need to feel relaxed.
Nudes on Location – Deserted Buildings
The walls seem to hold echoes of the past. It is easy to visualise the ghosts of previous occupants wandering through their empty rooms. Maybe it takes a creative leap to see them as attractive naked women but when photographing nudes on location you can capture whatever you want. This is about interpreting an idea to create an interesting image
A Quick Guide to Shooting Studio Nudes
Producing studio nudes gives you a choice. Use a plain background, strip away the real world, and produce an image that depicts the human body only. Alternatively add props or build a setting to create an illusion. These tactics along with extensive make up are used to produce glamour images but can also be used to produce pictures that depict the models personality.
Having finally taken the plunge and given up my studio, there seemed no other way to get me out of its cozy confines I booked Meg for a location shoot.