Nude Photography: how to handle yourself

Nude photography is a very delicate area of photography. We have always been saying that the rapport with your subject is fundamental for the outcome of a photo session. For nude photography, this is even more important than for boudoir or portraits. A woman posing naked for a nude photography session is exposed, not just in her body. The psychology of shooting an undressed person is all the more important than the nakedness itself.
Truth is that professionalism goes a long way for nude photography, but there are fine details that will be a significant contribution. The most important thing to keep into account is what you can handle yourself, inside out. It is not how much professional you are, but how much you look you are.

in Nude Photography, Don’t Be A Creep!

If you are doing a nude photography session, the first rule is Don’t be a creep. It may sound quite obvious, but it is a detail that should never be given for granted. Your professionalism is paramount during nude photography, if you don’t want to be perceived as a creep, just don’t be one. Plain and simple.

The difference between Nude Photography and Photography

Is there one? The only difference between a nude photography session and a portrait photography session is the number of clothes involved. As a photographer you should focus on lines, expression, the moment. When we photograph a bare breast during a nude photography session, we focus on its shape, on how the light falls on it, certainly not the fact that it is a bare breast. You should ensure that a body shot during a nude photography session looks at its best.

Look at your subject for what it is

Nude photography or not, you should just focus on your subject. That’s it. Don’t stare or drool at a nude body, that’s something a creep does. Your subject is nude, and you have the goal to photograph it, plain and simple. Is your nude photography style elegant, where the lower nudity is only implied, or are you more open to show details? Either way it is fine as long as your subject understands you nude photography style and is fine with it.

Be direct and don’t beat around the bush

One of the most important elements in nude photography is your behaviour. Don’t try to be overly polite, don’t beat around the bush: Your subjects expect you to be comfortable with a nude body in front of you, so you have to be it. In the beginning you may be intimidated by photographing a woman completely naked, but you can “fake it til you make it”, just remember to be directive.
Is it time to drop the robe?

  • Wrong Can you please, if you don’t mind… I mean… Yes, the robe… erm… I mean, can you remove it… I am not going to watch…
  • Right Fabulous, we are ready. If you could please remove your robe, we will start with your session.

Do you need to change the pose in order for some areas to look better?

  • Wrong Ok, now, can you please move the… hem… leg. That one, sorry I was not watching. Yes, thanks. And if you don’t mind, with that arm can you show a little bit the… I mean having the… hem… boob. Sorry I meant breast, well more… exposed. I hope that’s ok…
  • Right Ok, would you mind moving your leg a little bit more this way? And I would like the breast to be a little bit more visible, so if you can lower your arm a little bit. Yes, great.

What you just have to remember is that your subject knows (or she should) what you are going to photograph. Nude photography is nothing to be ashamed of. So go on with it. Be the professional. Be polite, but don’t be embarrassed by your subject nudity or her intimate parts.

DON’T TOUCH

It is not important if you are a man or a woman. It does not matter if your subject is a man or a woman. The number one rule of nude photography is DON’T TOUCH your subject. That’s a NO-NO. It can be viewed as unprofessional and break the rapport with your subject (not mentioning that can be seen as sexual harassment!).
There is only one exception to this rule: If the subject asks you to help with the posing by placing her in the right one and if you are ok with it. This may happen from time to time, but as long as the subject don’t expressly and unforcedly asks you so, don’t touch her, not even her hair. Her private space is her security, and knowing you won’t touch her will make her at ease.

Be kind with terminology

You know the subject you are photographing. Is she worried and concerned, or is she comfortable in her own skin? You should know it, and you should use the correct terminology to speak to your subject. We are always careful with the terms we use, preferring breast to boobs for example, but our terminology depends on the woman in front of us. If she is relaxed and in a funny mood, you can be more relaxed, but one thing you should always remember is Respect. Words can cut deep into people’s soul, so respect your subject by using the correct, non sexual, terminology.

A Note on Nude Photography and Sexuality

One of the common misunderstandings in our society, is that nudity is associated with sexuality. This is plain wrong! Nude photography can be about sexuality, but not all nude photographs are sexual. It is about your take on it. Our approach is that nudity is a natural state, that a breast is… just a breast, nothing more and nothing less.

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