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.
Check out your location in advance.
Not only does this give you a chance to check out the light and plan your shoot but you will be amazed how many kids, picnickers, cyclists and other assorted members of the public appear at your deserted location as soon as the school holidays start. My narrowest escape happened in a very secluded location when an entire troop of Scouts appeared around the corner seconds after the model had put her bikini back on. They nearly fell in the river at the sight of a bikini clad girl so who knows what would have happened had she still been starkers. Fortunately she thought this was hysterically funny so the rest of the shoot progressed as planned. Ideally I like to have an assistant or spotter on a shoot; preferably female so they are looking away from, not at, the model.
I have also turned up at locations to find the beautiful ruin that I was thinking of draping the model over has acquired an impenetrable surround of brambles and nettles or that the health and safety police been round in the night and fenced it off. This is not going to make you popular with a scantily clad model.
I don’t usually like models wearing jeans or tight underwear to a shoot as these can leave marks so hacking through the nettles is usually out of the question. I always ask them to bring trainers to walk in as tramping through the woods in high heels is a pretty good way to break and ankle.
The other big variable on a shoot is the weather. Now bad weather sometimes equals good light and whilst some models love the idea of posing naked in the snow there are others who would be happier on a tropical beach. Whichever they are always ask them to bring something they can slip on quickly to keep warm … or if confronted by a troop of scouts. Again an assistant is useful as they can hold the appropriate garment at the ready. Some models can get a bit teed off that the primary role of an umbrella is to keep the camera equipment dry so take two. Read Model Weather to find out more.
So assuming that you arrive at your beautiful, deserted location with an attractive and unscratched model and a heap of camera equipment there are still a few things that could go wrong. Wildlife buzzes bites and occasionally stings so insect repellent and anti histamine cream might come in useful. There’s no harm in fighting the wildlife off but you should always be careful not to cut, chop or otherwise disturb anything and, as the saying goes, leave only your footprints. Finally if you are out in the midday sun carry water and a mobile phone in case of emergency.
- Studio Nudes
- Model Weather – The Hazards of Location Photography
- Photographing Nudes on Location – Woods
- Photographing Nudes on Location – Deserted Buildings
- One Model – One Light
- Take Better Nude Photographs
- Lighting – Daylight or Artificial?
- What Camera Do I Need When Shooting Creative Nudes?
- The Nude in Photography