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.
Why One Light?
Using a lot of lights is not only complicated but takes a lot of time. Even if you have set them up and balanced them before the model arrives there can still be a lot of fine tuning (otherwise known as fiddling around) which wastes valuable shooting time.
Two models means you have to watch for two sets of blinks and check the posing of twice as many arms and legs. Unless you have two experienced models who are used to working together you never get one photo where they both look good.
The favourite of many studios – two lights with diffusers produces a soft even light. This makes it easy to pose the model as, wherever she is, there are no shadows. But unless you are shooting for a men’s magazine where everything is on display the lighting is flat and boring.
I often use a single light. When photographing nudes. I usually add a diffuser to soften the shadows on the body a little. Barn doors or gobos keep the light off the background and concentrate on the subject.
The shadow will add shape and form to models body. Be careful as the lighting will also highlight and blemishes but these can often be hidden in the shadow. A single light is easy to move around to create different effects.
Using a reflector
Sometimes our cameras cannot record detail in the shadow and the highlights at the same time. The solution is to reduce the dynamic range. (What’s dynamic range? Free downloadable PDF on Exposure). The easiest way to do this is by using a white or silver reflector to bounce a little of the main light back into the shadows.
Nude photography with one light frees up the photographer and the model to concentrate on producing creative images. The model can get into the flow of the session and doesn’t have to keep waiting whilst the photographer fiddles with the lights. The session flows and the results are often great.
The photos of Faye shown her are from two different sessions both using one light.
For more on photographing nudes
- What Camera Do I Need When Shooting Creative Nudes?
- One Model – One Light
- Photographing Nudes on Location – Woods
- Photographing Nudes on Location – Deserted Buildings
- Studio Nudes
- Model Weather – The Hazards of Location Photography
And thinking about it.