Photo modelling guide

Photography Modelling Guide

Glamour Photography, How to Photograph Nudes, Modelling

Part 1 Pre-Shoot Communication For models (and photographers)

Working with experienced and inexperienced models is fun but there are a lot of pitfalls. Here’s how to avoid them. The key to a successful shoot is communication. So what do we photographers say? What do models want to know?

Firstly, what is the aim of the shoot? Even as an amateur photographer you should have some creative ideas you want to explore. Professionals will have a more, well professional, approach. They may well have specific markets or publications in mind. In pre shoot communication never assume that the model (or photographer) knows what you are talking about. Explain terminology. I want to shoot a few ‘glamour’ shots could mean tasteful lingerie to one model and full frontal, legs apart, raunchy mens’ mag style to another.

So What Are These Photography Modelling Levels I Keep Hearing About?

  • Lingerie: which is fairly self explanatory but remember a lot of lingerie is see through
  • Topless: also self explanatory
  • Figure Nude: generally taken to mean non explicit nude and often considered to be quite ‘arty’. Can also include Implied Nude which generally means nude but not showing anything – check your models definition.
  • UK top shelf magazine: legs apart letting it all hang out.
  • Continental or US magazine: Often stronger than UK magazine and may include use of toys etc.


Topless scrap yard glamour calendar photo


Fine art black and white nude photo

Figure Nude

I always like to work with models one level lower than they are comfortable with. So I’ll use a figure model for topless and lingerie. We can always go up a level if the shoot develops that way and I don’t have to worry that everything is continuously hidden.

Free downloadable Photography Modelling Guide PDFs

Modelling Advice and Pre-shoot and Posing Guide

I always advise models, ‘Work to a level that you are comfortable with but remember, these pictures are going to end up on the internet and they are going to be there for a very long time.’

What makes a good model?

  • Reliability – if you are not there you cannot photograph you
  • Acting Ability – The ability to strike a good pose is useful but if you look like you had a row with your partner last night it’s going to ruin the photo.
  • Attention to detail – Everything from making sure underwear matches to remembering shoes and skin care.

Model Releases

What is a model release?

A document you sign that allows the photographer or his agents to publish, distribute, sell, give away or do anything they like with the pictures anywhere and anytime.

Legally in the UK a model release is only required if the photos are published in an advertising context so any photos of you could pop up in magazines or on websites unless you have a written privacy agreement. Note: All my portrait customers are covered by a privacy agreement that forbids publication or distribution by the photographer.

Still keen? Models wanted in East Anglia

Abstract nude woman in landscape

Leagally, in the UK, a model release is only required if photographs are published in an advert. Many publishers will still ask for one plus proof that a model is over 18. I generally take a photo of the model holding the signed release and ID plus scans of both.

See more of my Published Work

View Portfolios

Scrap yard glamour calendar photos
Erotic and fetish book cover photography
Folio of glamour photography
Slightly strange artistic nude photos of women
Nude women in their personal space
Nude in a landscape photo portfolio

Latest Updates, Free Stuff & Discounts
Subscribe to my Newsletter and receive a free copy of Using Window Light to Photograph Nudes plus exclusive updates, free critiques and a discount on prints and books.

Creative Nude Photography shows you how to go beyond the norms of conventional glamour. The book contains sections on the concept, but is it art plus practical advice on finding models and camera techniques. The final section shows examples of creative nude projects

Want a hard copy to read? Printed edition available here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *