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  • Writer's pictureNelly

Getting Started With Nude Photography In 2022


Nude is not one of the most practiced photographic genres , however, I dare to say that this type of portrait photography is one of the most beautiful. We are human and, as such, we feel tremendously attracted to the human body, for its beauty, for its uniqueness, because just like sunsets, no two bodies are the same.


Before we dive deep into this article. If you would like to see full tutorials on this topic check out our dozens of video courses, which includes over 100 videos to watch direct or download.


NOW LETS GET STARTED.



Today I am going to give you the keys so that you launch yourself to try this art, so that you know where to start or resolve any doubts that may have arisen. And when you try it, you can decide if you like it enough to get off at this station or continue your journey until the next one 😉 Are you staying?




WHY PHOTOGRAPH A NUDE?

Nude photography is a constant challenge, a difficult dance between the beauty of the human body and the taboo it represents in our society. Because let's not fool ourselves, we are tired of seeing almost naked bodies in advertising (and explicitly playing with sex) and when it comes to art it seems that it is seen with different eyes. Because it is not easy not to cross the line that separates it from the most erotic or pornographic photography, because it requires complicity with the model and because it requires more honesty than any other type of photography. For all these reasons, it is a challenge and every challenge is stimulating and pushes us to grow.

I am stimulated to work with the naked body due to the infinite combination of lines present in each movement. Edward Weston

And, in addition, the nude is pure beauty 😉





LIGHT

The type of light to use will depend on the result you are looking for. However, if you will allow me the advice, I would start playing with natural light . We are talking about the artistic nude, not a commercial nude, what more artistic than a nude body bathed in natural light? Don't you think that a flash, in addition to intimidating the model, will reduce the naturalness and beauty of the image? When you have a little more experience you can start playing with artificial lights and even try the different effects that soft and hard lights offer you. Just like you can experiment to achieve high or low key nude photos .

What you must be very clear about is that light will be a very important element in nude photography. The way you light the body will determine the effect it will have on the audience, it is a big part of the message you want to convey.

The beauty of natural light




CLIMATE OF TRUST

It is essential that you somehow connect with the person who is going to be photographed naked by you. She has to feel completely comfortable, safe. Try to create a climate of absolute trust, let her be herself to get more natural photos or explain what you are looking for before starting the session. Give her the opportunity to show you the best of herself, that she undresses not only on the outside, but also on the inside.

Promotes a climate of trust







COLOR OR BLACK AND WHITE

Here speaks a lover of black and white , if you have been reading the blog for a while you probably already know ;). A black and white nude , for me, usually has a strength, an elegance and a natural beauty that I don't see as much in a color nude. Of course, this is perhaps too subjective a vision, since I understand that a pure nude is one that undresses the body, the soul and also the color photo and other distractions 😉 . That doesn't mean you can't achieve spectacular color nudes, you're going to see a few examples in this article. The message you want to convey will require grayscale or color, you decide as an artist 😉

nude in color







DETAILS

Look for the details of your model's body, it is a way of creating mystery, of showing without showing, of awakening sensuality and causing the viewer's mind to build a story from the sample you are offering. Play with them to create compositions or arouse emotions.







EDITION

About the edition there is a great debate in general. There is no need to demonize, editing programs are an excellent and necessary tool that any photographer is currently lucky enough to have. Now when it comes to artistic nude, IMHO, editing should be kept to a minimum. To be as honest as possible with the models, with the public and even with yourself, try to edit the photo just right. Leave the imperfections of your model, they will be part of his personality that has to reach the viewer. Don't modify her body. It improves if you need some parameters, but if you are not a professional who is going to sell a photograph to a firm, but an amateur who is creating art, you do not need to dress fictional reality, nor do a photomontage, you need to show reality with your eyes and with your sensitivity through the camera.







CAUSES A REACTION

The fact of photographing a nude already in itself will cause a reaction in the viewer. It's up to you that it's a strong reaction, not a mere, "uh, another nude." That the impact is real, that the viewer cannot stop looking at the image. It can cause negative or positive feelings, it doesn't matter, what matters is that it stirs it up inside.

As an example I will give you the Japanese photographer Manabu Yamanaka, who made a fabulous series (Gyahtei) of very old women showing their wrinkled, life- size bodies. An extraordinary work that goes beyond sculptural bodies and shows the body as it is in old age.






COMPOSITION

As in any photograph, the composition is as important as the model itself. You can't forget about her. Andreas H. Bitesnich, a wonderful nude photographer, says that the important thing is to find a visual balance, that the nude is about balance and proportion. Probably this author finds it intuitively, if you don't have that gift, don't be scared, it can work 😉 Immerse yourself in the work of the most experienced to develop your photographic eye in nudes.

The composition, key element







PROFESSIONAL MODELS OR NOT?

The models can show you very studied poses and faces, they will give you what they think you expect from them, they will lack the naturalness of any person who has no experience. If you are looking for genuine, authentic nudes that show the soul of the person you are photographing, a professional model is not the best option. On the other hand, a professional model will offer you a security that another inexperienced model will not be able to. When planning the session, be clear about what type of photographs you want, whether more natural or more studied, and look for the right model for that occasion.

Some ideas to keep in mind when looking for models :

  • you can pull family or friends who have a healthy relationship with their body and with nudes for more natural photographs.

  • look for models that need a book and make an exchange.

  • dancers can be a fantastic option, because of the beauty of their body, because of the way they move, because they will probably pose less modestly and because they can help you achieve wonderful compositions.

  • you can work naked of different ages, the more information your body offers you (scars, tattoos, wrinkles...) the more tools you will have to bare your soul 😉

  • another idea is to work with several models at the same time. In this case it is very important that there is full trust between them or that they are professionals. A couple can be a good option 😉










INDOORS OR OUTDOORS?

As we are talking about your first nude photography, my recommendation is that you carry out the first sessions in an environment in which both the person who is going to be photographed and you feel comfortable. Especially if he is a family member or friend, you can work in an environment that is familiar to him. With a professional model you may be able to afford other luxuries, but not with someone as inexperienced as you. Little by little you will be able to search for interesting locations that are part of the creative work.




OBJECTIVES

Although a nude is still a portrait, the ideal is that you start with one of these recommended lenses for portrait photography and if you have a 35 mm , then all the better 😉 . Later, if you continue to be attracted to the subject, you will discover your own needs on your own.





THE THIN LINE

The line between the artistic nude, with sensuality or elegance that it transmits, and other types of more explicit or pornographic photographs may be too fine. Pay close attention and remember that you are creating art, keep in mind what the limit is and what you are looking to awaken in your audience and never lose the elegance or the feeling of art.

You can talk to your model about this before, if you explain well where your limits are and make it clear what you expect from the session, it will help them to relax.




PLAN

In this case, planning is also of vital importance. During the session you will have to worry about maintaining a climate of trust, achieving a good composition, not crossing the delicate line that separates the artistic nude from more vulgar images, maintaining the message you want to send, looking for details or optimizing to the maximum the light to paint the bodies.

Therefore, everything you have planned in advance will make the task easier for you instead of complicating it. Choose the setting, think about what type of photographs you want to achieve, what will be the best light and therefore the best time, what lenses are you going to use, if you will use any accessories (hat, flowers or any other decoration)... everything! Everything that you can foresee or anticipate will help you to obtain better results because you will be able to concentrate more on the moment.




GET INSPIRED

Observing the work of other photography greats is often essential for both finding inspiration and learning. In the case of nudes, I find it even more important, for the ideas and to discover how the human body can be photographed completely naked without losing elegance and transmitting such a brutal beauty that your heart skips a beat and your eyes move to the rhythm of the best blues.

Some nude photographers to inspire you, pioneers and contemporaries, a little bit of everything 😉

Edward Weston

Alfred Stieglitz

Imogene Cunningham

Sally Mann

Mona Kuhn

Regina DeLuise

Ralph Gibson

Andreas H. Bitesnich

Silvie Blum

Nello Johnson

Ernestine Reuben




CONCLUSION

Now all you have to do is jump into the pool. Take a test, or two, or three, as many as you need to know if this type of photography is your thing. Maybe you discover your true vocation and become a reference in the world of nudes! Of course, to achieve it you have to try, it will be useless to have read this far if you do not do even a small test 😉

Before launching, if you liked the article, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, perhaps the next promise of nude photography is among your contacts 😉 Thank you and see you soon!


If you wish to learn more about Nude Photography, check out our dozens of tutorials .




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