One of the reality about photographing women is that it is not as simple as it may seem. I still remember the first time I shoot a model, we were not yet “London Boudoir Photography” at the time, it was Fabiana, my adored muse: I was terrified! For how strange it may seem, having a person in front of you that expect you to know how to make her beautiful is something scary and tough. Removing all the layers of clothes and doing the same is even harder, as you don’t have anything to hide your subject behind.
Making a woman feeling comfortable posing nude is a challenge, but if you tackle it right, it will give her a huge boost to her self esteem! In this post, I would dig a little bit deeper on how we shoot nudity, introducing the second instalment of our Erotica Boudoir video. I will show you how I approach the sensible nature of a shoot where more than something is revealed.
Discuss posing nude before the shoot and reiterate when she relaxes
Before every shoot, it is wise to discuss the level of nudity your customer is interested into. Make it clear from the beginning that the shoot is driven by her comfort level and make sure she understand that the results are her images and that for you nothing changes if she is posing nude or if she is completely dressed. A lot of women will not tell you exactly if they want to go topless or full nude before a shoot because they want to feel the session, feel the fact that they can trust you; however, discussing this in advance will make them think about it.
They will take the final decision when they will be asked the same question during the session. The key is making them understand two things:
- they are the ones in control if posing nude is what they really want or not
- if they are unsure they want some nude images or not if they don’t try, they won’t see any results. On the other hand if they try and they don’t like the results, they won’t be forced to buy those images (at least this is how we work)
Make sure to reiterate the question towards the end of the session, when they are more comfortable and at ease and their answer will be driven by what they really want and not their fears.
The first and most important element while shooting nudes and posing nude is your attitude. It drives the mood, and it set your professionalism with your subjects more than your previous photos do. This means that when you are ready to move your shoot to the part where nudity is involved, you need to do it as you were going for just another outfit change. Be gentle and ask for permission, but be matter-of-factly about it
“Now, if you are still fine with it, we shall move to the part of the shoot with more nudity involved”
That’s it. A statement.
Experience taught us that excessive care of kindness is often misunderstood for indecision and unprofessionalism. If you planned to shoot any nude images, you should have discussed it in advance, so don’t linger on the issue.
“Ok… ehm… now, if that’s fine by you, but only if you really feel ok, we should… ehm… I mean… move to the part where, as we discussed of course, we should show something more. And I mean only if you are ok with it…”
That for me is a NO-GO. Very few people are comfortable with their nudity displayed, and you are giving them an escape route. They want it, but they are most probably afraid: be the professional!
Make Her Comfortable!
Whatever happens while posing nude, your subjects should be comfortable, and this responsibility falls on your shoulders! The fact that they are going to pose nude in front of you does not mean that they won’t appreciate some privacy when they will undress. Make sure they have a space to prepare themselves privately, away from any eye, and when they are ready, look at them in the eyes. Don’t divert your sight to the ground or to any specific body part, as that would be weird.
Of course, when you will start posing them, making sure that they look good in your image, then you must look at them. You should make sure that everything looks good as this is your job to do it. Your professionalism should be exercised both when you are behind your camera and when you interact with your subjects.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t touch a nude subject.
Your Subject is a Statue
One of the questions Fabiana often get is if she is not jealous that I shoot women with few or nothing on them. Her answer is simple: she knows that when I photograph I have a subject in front of me. Her curves, her bodies are like a piece of marble for a sculptor. My job is to pose them, to make them feel at ease and capture them beautifully with my camera.
Your subject should be the same, your subject should be your statue and you their Michelangelo.