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  • 07 Oct 2011
    At Photographer & Model we love good images of beautiful women. Unfortunately just because she’s beautiful doesn’t mean the images are good. New glamour photographers - and even experienced ones when not thinking - make some common mistakes. Knowledge makes for better pictures. It makes a bigger difference than gear, location, and subject.Here they are in no particular order. Objects coming out of a model’s head. Check your background. Get to where you notice distracting things, including that tree appearing out of her head.Auto-focusing on the breasts, not the eyes. Even in glamour photography, eyes must be in focus. Most cameras auto focus will focus on the thing closest to the camera. On most glamour models, eyes are not what is closest to the camera. Set your auto-focus point to be specific and focus on the eyes first. Not moving lights when you move the model. It’s common to start shooting a model standing up, but later to want her to sit or lay on the floor. Often new photographers forget to lower the lights, which leads to underexposed images because the light shoots over her heads. Not changing exposure settings when the light changes. When working outside clouds can come in and change the light by sometimes two stops in a few seconds. Remember to change your exposure when the light changes. Leaving bad images in your portfolio because you want quantity. You’ve got three images from a recent workshop that are great, but your online portfolio holds 20, so you leave in an image with a trees coming out of the model’s head. You want quality, not quantity. One sentence emails to models asking for a shoot. “Do you want to shoot?” “You’re hot, wanna shoot sometime?” Models get these emails and messages all the time, and they ignore them. Tell them what you want to do and why it would be great for them. Not having a plan when you get to a shoot. “We’ll figure it out when we get there,” does not inspire models, or lead to good images. Not giving models what you promise them. I don’t know how many models I’ve had tell me they never got their CD from a photographer. And they were always pissed. Invading the model’s space or touching her with out asking. Never touch a model without asking first. And I’d recommend standing at least arms length away when talking to her. Spray and Pray - Shooting a lot of images fast. Shooting a lot and hoping you get something good doesn’t work in a gun fight and it doesn’t work in photography. So don’t do it. When you press the shutter release you should have an idea what is going to be stored to your card. You should have thought about it. Don’t do it just because the lights have cycled. Letting the camera control exposure. I almost never set my camera on auto anymore. A camera wants everything to average out to an even shade. This is almost always flat and boring.
    742 Posted by Demetrios Photo
  • 19 Sep 2013
    10 Traits You Should Possess if You Want to be a Good Photographer     Copyright Scott Bourne 2009 - All Rights Reserved     What makes a good photographer? See how many of these traits you possess. 1. You need passion. You need to be obsessed with getting the shot. Not just any shot – THE shot. In other words – you need to think about, dream about, talk about and live photography. 2. You need to be dedicated to the craft of photography. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert. It means you need to be dedicated to BECOMING an expert. No matter how long it takes. 3. You need to be a story teller. Story telling is at the heart of good photography, accordingly, good photographers need to be able to tell stories with their cameras. 4. You need to care about your subject. You need to be a subject-matter expert, wether it’s birds or people or cars or waterfalls. Good photographers learn all there is to know about their subjects BEFORE they pick up a camera. Always photograph your subject as if it is the only way it will be remembered throughout all time. 5. You need patience and lots of it. You need to be willing to practice and study often. You need to be willing to search out or wait out the light. You need to be able to sit in a blind waiting for that next bird or sit on the corner waiting for that next perfect subject. And you need to be willing to invest hours, not minutes in those pursuits. 6. You need a sense of wonder and imagination. You need to be curious about everything you photograph and then you need to be able to play with that curiosity to see what you can come up with. 7. You need to share. You need to be willing to pass on what you learn willingly to others. You need to show your photos to everyone. You need to protect and preserve for others all your important photographic memories. 8. You need to be the kind of photographer who makes OTHER people want to become a photographer. 9. You need to try a little bit harder than the next guy. The good photographers wait an extra 15 minutes for that perfect sunset color. They study their manual at night even when they are tired. They spend money they don’t have to attend workshops and buy books on photography. They go the extra mile…and then they do it again. 10. You need to develop a recognizable style – even if that style is – no style! Wow! What a list. Re-reading this it looks like it’s hard to be a good photographer. Guess what – it is. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would be a good photographer. _______________This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store
    430 Posted by Demetrios Photo
Fine Art Nude 28,801 views Aug 04, 2012
Fine art nude photography: tips and techniques from lighting to


A beginner’s guide to the art of nude photography. Tips, techniques, lighting advice, help for sourcing nude models and more – it’s your complete guide to taking fine art nudes.


Nude photography has been a popular subject since the very beginnings of the medium, and even before the invention of the camera, the nude has played a significant role in all the visual arts. There’s nothing ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ about this: it’s a celebration of human form, a study of the body’s landscape in all its beauty. Here, we focus on the naked female form, and give you all the expert tips and techniques you need to get started in fine art nudes – plus a free downloadable guide to posing nude models.


Getting started: finding a nude photography model


Finding a willing model to pose for your fine art nude photography is perhaps one of the biggest challenges you’ll have. If you’re lucky you’ll have a willing partner to assume the role, but this rarely seems to be the case.


The best place to find local models is online at sites such as  These sites are a meeting point for photographers and models. You’ll usually be able to find a local nude model who’s willing to work in exchange for prints or a disc of the images.


If you go down this route, it’s good to be absolutely clear on what’s expected from both parties, especially if there’s no financial exchange. Experienced models will most likely charge for their time, but if you want to boost your portfolio, working with an experienced model could be a worthwhile investment. It’s not just about finding someone who’s happy to be photographed nude, it’s also important to find the right type of figure for an art nude – so look at the model’s portfolio before you start. There’s a marked difference between an art-nude model and a glamour model. We used Ella Rose for our shoot. Her classic looks made her perfect for the genre, and she was keen to collaborate with us to get the sophisticated shots we wanted.



Do you need to hire studio for nude photography?


You don’t need a big fancy studio to create successful fine art nude shots, but you do need enough space to set up a couple of lights and a backdrop and be able to get far enough back to shoot a full-length image without a super wide-angle zoom. Your average sized living room should just about do it. We rented Paul’s Studio in Reading, who were on hand all day. There are plenty of studios dotted around the UK that offer similar services and many also offer nude photography courses, day events and will also arrange the model hire for you. Rates and terms vary, but you can expect to pay around £50 per hour for a studio and a model, but there’s no reason you can’t share this cost with a friend if you’re on a budget.


Once you’ve found your space you’ll need to create a good environment to work in to increase your chances of success. Your model won’t be wearing any clothes, so ensure the space is warm and comfortable. This situation has the potential to be awkward to start with so break the ice with a cuppa, and discuss ideas for the shoot before starting. Music is great for creating an ambience – choose sounds that complement the style of photography you’re hoping to achieve.



Nude photography lighting


Studio lighting can seem daunting to the uninitiated, but it needn’t be, especially these days when it’s easy to see the effects of the lights on your DSLR’s LCD. The lighting guide on below is an excellent starting point, providing three setups to get you going. If you’re new to studio lighting start with the more basic setup – you’ll be surprised at how creative you can be with one light and a reflector. Once you’re confident move onto some of the more complex high-key and low-key setups.


If you don’t have any studio lights of your own, there are places such as the that hire them out. You can get a two-head kit such as the Elinchrom 300RX  for as little as £14 (plus insurance and VAT) for a weekend.


However, you don’t have to use studio lighting. Daylight from a window – ideally, north-facing – can create beautiful effects. Even using your regular flashgun off camera can be an effective alternative.


By far the best approach is to know your limitations and keep the lighting as simple as possible. The last thing you want is to ruin the momentum of a shoot while you’re fiddling with the lights. If you can try your lighting ideas out on a (clothed) helper before the model arrives and have your first lighting set up in place, you’ll be off to a confident start. Don’t be too ambitious. Even if you’re a little anxious you want to appear that you’re in control. Keeping it simple is the best way to achieve this.



Lighting diagram: basic setup for nudes


This basic setup is a good start for a fine-art nude shoot. Place two studio lights at a 45-degree angle to the model at a distance of about 4 to 6 feet. Set one light as the main light by positioning it a little higher (about 6 feet high) and increasing the intensity of the flash using the dial. Locate the other light a little lower than the main light and reduce the intensity of the flash. If you only have one studio light a simple reflector makes a good alternative to the second light.



Lighting diagram: high key setup for nudes


To create a soft even light, position one light with a softbox attached in front of the model on the floor pointing upwards. Position a second softbox above the first at about 7 feet pointing slightly downwards. Use a further two lights with umbrellas to light the background so it’s a clean white. To separate the model from the background, position two large black ‘flats’ each side of the model (two large pieces of black card will do). This will create a lovely black rim around her.



Lighting diagram: low key setup for nudes


Art-nude lighting is all about showing off the lines, curves and shapes of your subject. To create more depth and a sculptural feeling, set the position of the softboxes so they’re slightly behind the model pointing back towards the camera. Experiment with the intensity of each light using the dials on the flash heads. You might need to use a lens hood to avoid any unwanted flare ruining your shot. Just using one light can also work very well with this technique, especially for more abstract images.


Essential studio kit


There are plenty of starter kits to ease you into studio lighting, such as the excellent Pro Line Apollo 300 ( They usually contain these… <!-- STEP -->


<!--IMAGE --> image <!-- END IMAGE -->

<!-- TITLE OF STEP --> Flash lights

Studio flash lights have dials on the back that control the flash output and  a constant modelling light so you can see the effect of the light while you’re posing your model. <!-- END COPY FOR STEP -->




<!--IMAGE --> image <!-- END IMAGE -->

<!-- TITLE OF STEP --> Umbrella

An umbrella is standard issue with most studio kits. They usually come in white, silver or gold and are used to reflect light onto the subject. They are easily attached to the flash. <!-- END COPY FOR STEP -->




<!--IMAGE --> image <!-- END IMAGE -->

<!-- TITLE OF STEP --> Softbox

A softbox fits onto a flash unit and diffuses light onto the subject. They come in different shapes and sizes and produce a softer, more even effect than an umbrella. <!-- END COPY FOR STEP -->




<!--IMAGE --> image <!-- END IMAGE -->

<!-- TITLE OF STEP --> Lighting stands

Lighting stands are vital for positioning flash units. The flash units attach to the top of the stands, making them top heavy, so secure them with a counterweight to increase their stability. <!-- END COPY FOR STEP -->




<!--IMAGE --> image <!-- END IMAGE -->

<!-- TITLE OF STEP --> Backgrounds

Art-nude shoots are best shot in monochrome, so keep your backgrounds simple and stick to black, white or grey paper rolls. Black velvet is even better for rich black backgrounds. <!-- END COPY FOR STEP -->




Camera equipment and settings


For this shoot, we used three lenses on a full-frame Nikon D700 DSLR – the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4 G, and the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. The wide end of the 24-120 zoom was perfect for full body shots, while the macro was great for close-ups. But our favourite was the 85mm f/1.4. Its superb optical quality makes it perfect for half-body shots.


When you’re working in the controlled environment of a studio, your lighting is fixed, so there’s no point using the full or semi-automatic DSLR modes such as aperture priority. It’s best to switch to manual (M on the top dial), so the ambient light doesn’t mess with your exposure.



For most of these photos, we used an aperture of f/8 at 1/200 sec, as lenses tend to perform best around this aperture. Obviously, the exposure is created primarily by the aperture and the intensity of the flash, but you also want to ensure the shutter speed is fast enough to hand-hold your SLR – usually around 1/100 sec with a standard zoom lens. You also need to ensure you don’t go faster than the sync speed – this is the fastest speed you can use flash with.


In most photographic genres, a tripod is essential. However, in this situation, ditch it. You’ll be working with fast shutter speeds (1/200 sec ) with studio lights, so it’s unlikely that you’ll accidently create any camera shake by hand holding your DSLR. You’ll be able to move around the model freely, and you’ll quickly start producing more interesting shots.





Your first nude photography shoot


The studio’s lit, the model’s ready – now it’s time to get creative…


If you’re renting a studio and paying a model by the hour, you don’t want to waste time working out what to do next. Apart from stifling the creative process, it will make you look unprofessional. So have a plan. It doesn’t matter if you deviate from it, but have it in place before you start. Devise a workflow that, true to the description, flows. For example, if you plan to do three setups against a black background and two against a white, you only need to change the background once.


There’s nothing worse than having to spend hours in the digital darkroom removing unwanted marks. Perhaps the worst offenders are the marks imprinted on skin from elasticated underwear. They can take a while to disappear, so it’s best if your model arrives without wearing anything with tight elastic. An experienced model should know this. Make sure there’s a private area for your model to change and also that there’s a dressing gown so they feel comfortable between shots.



Composition tips


As with all types of photography, composition is the most important element for a successful fine art nude image. The same general rules of composition such as the rule of thirds can be applied to an art-nude shoot. It’s all about creating a sense of visual harmony in the frame. Look at the shapes that are being made by the light and the body. However, don’t be afraid to deviate from some of these rules too – it’s possible to create good images that don’t necessarily adhere to them.


The most important thing is to look through your camera’s viewfinder, scan the edges of the frame and really look at the shapes being made. The slightest change of angle can make a huge difference to the composition. Don’t be afraid to take plenty of photos and move around a little, varying the composition and angle of view in each one. Memory cards are relatively cheap these days.



Nude photography poses


Download our free nude photography posing guide – it has some great suggestions for getting started with key poses. But to get the best out of these, it’s good to understand a bit more about the theory of posing your model.


A good place to start is with the concept of ‘contrapposto’ posing. This term, borrowed from the art world, refers to the way the human body looks when the subject is standing with most of their weight on one foot – so their shoulders and arms  appear to ‘twist’ from the hips and legs.


Contrapposto crops up all the time; check out the pages of today’s fashion magazines or Michelangelo’s celebrated sculpture of David. Understanding the concept of contrapposto is key to creating pleasing poses; even if your image is going to be composed from the waist up, it’s still vitally important to pay attention to how your model’s feet are positioned. It can also be helpful to have your model wear heels because these will also force the upper body into a more curvaceous posture.


Conventions suggest that direct eye contact should be avoided when posing for an art-nude shoot. A direct gaze is often associated with racier glamour shots. However, rules are there to broken, and sometimes the direct gaze can work well.



Black and white nude photography


Mono is often used for fine art nude photography because the colour information can easily detract from the beauty in the lines, shapes, and textures of the subject. To help you visualise how your end images will look, switch the LCD on your DSLR to monochrome. This will enable you to see the images in black and white, which in turn will make it easier to see how the final images will look. It also makes it much easier to see what’s happening with your lighting.


As long as you shoot in RAW your original file will be unaffected by the mono setting because the image on the LCD is essentially a JPEG of your RAW file. This means that when you download your photos you’ll see the original colour versions. So should you have a change of heart you’ll still be able to make colour images. You also may be able to use this colour information when processing the files.



Abstracts and details


The art nude is a celebration of the shape and form of the human figure. Look for architectural shapes made by limbs and body curves. Focus in on specific parts of the body so you’re creating a near abstraction. Use one hard light to create strong shadows for more distinct abstract shapes in the curves and folds of the body. For our nude abstract above, we used a 60mm macro lens on our full-frame DSLR, which enabled us to get in nice and close to focus on details. Don’t be afraid to make radical crops in-camera such as totally cropping out the model’s head. Abstract photography is about shape, form and texture so it doesn’t matter if you can’t instantly recognise what the subject is.



Try high key nudes


There’s more to creating a good high key photo than just overexposing your shots. You need to artfully hang on to details in the highlight areas while pushing the tones as far as possible to the lighter end of the scale. Your histogram is the ideal tool to help you achieve this because you can see the tones on the graph. Ideally, you’ll need to expose as far to the right as you can without clipping. Your DSLR’s highlight-alert feature is perfect for giving you immediate feedback on clipped highlights. Turn it on.


To create the high key lighting effect, we used two large softboxes to light our model from above and below and a bright white backdrop lit with two additional lights. The risk of high key lighting is that the light tones of the model’s skin will blend with the light tones of the background. To separate the model from the background use black ‘flats’ (a large piece of something black – black card will do). Position them as close to the model as you can without getting them in the shot. The black will reflect on to the model creating a wonderful dark rim. In addition to separating the model from the background, this will also create a sculptural effect on body shapes.



Lovely Low key


Dark and moody low key lighting is synonymous with art-nude photography. The human form looks great set against a mysterious and rich dark background, while strong side lighting can add to the effect with beautiful shadows accentuating the curves and shapes of the body.


For strong shadows, set the lights slightly behind the model, pointing back towards the camera, it seems counterintuitive, but the results can be spectacular. Use your DSLR’s LCD to adjust the lights to suit the pose. You’ll notice instantly that the effect is more sculptural. As the lights are pointing in the direction of the camera there’s a risk of lens flare so attach a lens hood to help prevent it.


To create a rich black background a large piece of black velvet is ideal. The velvet absorbs light unlike other materials. If you don’t have access to a large velvet cloth, a roll of black background paper will work too – just check that it’s not reflecting any light and showing up as a washed-out black in your image.



Make the most of the power of suggestion


The art of nude photography is subtle, and often requires the photographer to suggest nudity rather than explicitly reveal it. It’s this that in part differentiates art nudes from glamour photography. The implied nude is mysterious and suggestive. Turning the model’s head so she’s looking away or into the distance is a great way to add a sense of mystery, or in the case of the low key photo below, crop it from the frame altogether. Use the model’s limbs to hide parts of the body.


Be inspired


Don’t shy away from looking at the masters of art-nude photography. Some seminal figures in the historyof photography include the likes of Edward Weston, Bill Brandt and Man Ray. Some more contemporary photographers such as John Swannell and Robert Mapplethorpe can also be inspirational. Don’t limit yourself to photography either. The nude has featured in art throughout history – a trip to an art gallery can spark off loads of ideas for both posing and lighting your model.



Nude photography model release


Finally, it’s really important that you are clear about what you intend to use the images for to avoid any misunderstanding. It’s good practice to get your model to fill in and sign a model-release form. It’s also a good idea to ask the model to bring proof of ID so you can verify their age. While the copyright of the images remains with you as the photographer, be clear about what the model can use them for too. If you’re working in exchange for services, it’s only reasonable to expect them to want to use the shots in their portfolios, and this usually means online galleries too. This is absolutely fair enough, but make sure you get a picture credit and if possible a link back to your site. It’s all about working together with your model to achieve the best results…





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