I was at a portfolio session several years ago and the speaker went around the room asking what genres that the participants shot. I mentioned genres such as fashion.. portraits.. and occasionally artistic nudes. He comments was quite direct in that I had to be careful not to be considered a creeper!
Many of the elements that I have mentioned in prior posts apply directly to shooting nude images. Specifically working well with models, having a mood board, communication, and careful planning.
New photographers should almost always start by photographing clothed models. This allows the photographer to gain confidence in his or her skills with lighting, camera operation, and not the least of all communication with the model. If the photographer is not confident, it will make the session even more awkward for everyone and potentially set a bad reputation for the photographer.
Commercial group nude workshops can be a good jumping point once the photographer has the basics down. Although these can be somewhat expensive, these workshops are often organized by experienced photographers and attended by professional nude models. These events often allow models and photographers to meet and greet before or after the sessions and allows a chance for everyone at least a chance to get to know each other.
Many models may check references before agreeing to model nude in front of a photographer that they have never worked with in the past. Having a list of models that are willing to vouch for the photographer is almost a must when venturing into this genre. Provide names of models that you have worked with 1:1 in the past. If you have not worked with any models 1:1, now is the time to start.
When contacting and working with a nude model,
Remember, most states only allow someone 18 years or older to pose nude. Ask for identification and make sure that her actual age is listed on any model release. There may be legal penalties for the photographer for not obtaining this information. Nude art has been around for centuries, and some fantastic images can be made with professionals work well together!
Bob Barford is an award willing published photographer based in Pennsylvania.