Shooting Nudes…Yikes!


Photo by gré – Kelly Segré

Believe it or not, there are many photographers out there who are even more afraid of shooting nudes than their clients!  There is a certain comfort zone needed when photographing nudes.  There are two points of view to be considered, that of the client and that of the photographer.   From the client’s point of view, you (the photographer) are the expert and are going to guide them with posing, make them look great with lighting and your photography skills.  They put their trust in you and therefore you must know how to deliver.

From the photographer’s point of view this can be nerve-racking!  Or you could just be completely relaxed, but either way you must show confidence to your client.  If you act like its no big deal, they may feel more nervous and actually become more tense.  This is a field of photography where practice makes perfect definitely comes into play!  If you have never photographed nudes before, or if you feel like you need more experience, you should look into hiring a professional model first.  A good model will be fully comfortable in the nude and can pose for you in several different ways, which can really help you understand how you would like to photograph the human body.  But don’t let the model do all the work!  Have some poses in mind before your session even starts, write down a shot list if you have to.  This way you can see if your own ideas actually work!

Once you are comfortable with photographing nudes you are then ready to try with your (willing) clients!  You must remember that your client is probably not a model and they will probably be self conscience about certain parts of their body.  This is where the questionnaire comes in handy!  If you know ahead of time about the parts of their body they like and do not like it makes it much easier to pose them, set up the lighting correctly and to give them a great experience.   If you see them looking a little worried don’t be afraid to reassure them, let them know you read their questionnaire and you are fully aware of what they don’t like about themselves.  You do not have to tip toe around this subject, they told you about it, letting them know that you are going to make them look amazing will only boost their confidence and keep them in an upbeat mood!

There are several different factors in creating a safe, fun environment in your shooting space.  The first step is you.  You must be comfortable, confident and encouraging to your client.  And remember, a smile can always relax someone who is feeling a little vulnerable in front of your lens!

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