For my first Nude Shoot, I prepared my home studio and like a good girl scout read a ‘Do’s and Don’ts of nude photography.
A lot of the Do’s and Don’ts online seem to be instructing male photographers, and assume the model would be female, of course for my first shoot my model was female, and controversially therefore would I be a more compassionate and considerate photographer? Did I need guidance? Is there any Female Photographer Nude Shoot Do’s and Don’ts out there? Do male photographers shooting nudes really need this level of guidance? Stuff for Example:make sure she has a warm separate space to change, tips on the art of conversation etiquette not to ask ‘can I help you with those love’. Maybe i’m thinking too simply wouldn’t you do this anyway?
So I decided to put together a little list from my experience, for a good Nude Shoot:
1) know your model a little before you shoot (this helped my thought process how best to shoot them, and what positions would work for them).
2) give a bit of time to explain what it is you want from the shoot (so they get the general feel of what you are asking the model to do. I sent my models a mood board before the day which was appreciated).
3) ensure that the heating is on (unless of course it is a baking hot summers day, or an old victorian terrace like mine!).
4) it is always good to have some appropriate music on, anything calming/easy listening is good (playing music is always a good ice breaker, however its always wise to choose something appropriate, having Sting’s ‘Roxanne’ coming over the speakers although hilarious to both my first model and me, may not be everyone’s cup of tea! Again on the second nude shoot my models chose their own music and the Pointer Sisters ‘Pinball number count’ kept us chipper!).
5) always have a small selection of accessories, but as with the music choose wisely for the feel of the shoot you are going for (feather boas are good if you want a soft focus 1980’s feel, also sometimes for a nude shoot less is definitely more).
6) models may be more relaxed in their own home, so shoot there if you can (The second shoot I undertook was for couple Tom and Becky. I wanted to try a totally different approach for this shoot, going to their home and taking the photos within their home setting, i.e. without the use of a Black or White Colorama. I also am familiar with their home (as they are friends of mine) therefore could vision how the shots could work with their furniture). There was great chemistry between them both, which again made for a really relaxed shoot.
7) always be mindful of how the model is feeling (make sure they have rest times, to keep warm, and chill out a bit more).
8) as with number 7, always ensure you are mindful of how you would feel if you were in front of the lens. Even if I know the model really well I’m always professional, constantly being mindful of how the model/person I am shooting is feeling.
9) A sense of humour is a must! -this will keep you going in all situations.
10) And enjoy yourself, to quote Robbie Williams’ Candy ‘if it don’t feel good what are you doing it for!’
My shoots were influenced by Moriyama, whose Exhibition I saw at the Tate Modern last year, just love his film photography, Arbus, Hopper, Sherman, Dijkstra and May Ray. I’m really looking forward to Man Ray Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery this Spring!
I think Nude Photography is like going back to the basics, revisiting yourself before a new beginning, a new idea, really being and understanding YOU for a while. Julia explained that being from the Massage and Beauty industry, she sees her clients in various states of undress, although this does not phase her, looking at herself in this way was still a profound and wonderful experience.
It was great to shoot Tom and Becky individually and together as a couple, and to see the tenderness between them. It was heartwarming to receive feedback from Tom that he thoroughly enjoyed the shoot and that was down to him feeling relaxed and comfortable with me as the photographer.
Both shoots featured people at a particular point in their life, allowing them to be expressive without the barriers of clothing. It is also important for me to capture those individuals who may not normally model, i.e. not doing it as profession and who may not ‘fit’ into the norms of current stereotypes of models in the media. I love the thought from some that being nude is ‘returning to nature’ and having ‘notable improvements in peoples general health’.
I feel a lot happier for undertaking these shoots, happiest in front of the camera, my models enjoying the experience, therefore I would agree!
Till next time.
Much Love X