Do’s & Don’ts In Nude Photography: A Field Guide

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Michael Moodie
  By Michael Moodie
Do’s & Don’ts In Nude Photography: A Field Guide

The subject of nude photography has always been something many photographers stray from as there is a slight awkwardness in it. However, having done a few sessions of nude photography myself, I can attest that it probably one of the most beautiful genres of photography next to doing maternity shoots. It comes with a lot of vulnerability and that is shaped in an artistic manner for the viewers to understand and not to view it for its mild sexual nature. In this article, I will be sharing a few things that you should and should not do when conducting a nude photography session. These tips are primarily for beginners but if you are a professional as well, they will come in handy.

1. Make The Model Feel Comfortable

This is one of the most important things that should be done, before, during and after you’ve completed a session of nude photography. Some models are experienced while others are still in the course of learning and trying to become comfortable with themselves as models. To make this easier for them you should always try to communicate and show respect for what it is they’re doing as being photographed nude might look easy but if you’d be surprised how much courage and effort it takes to follow through with it.

In a world where insecurity has become a plague amongst all of us, models sometimes feel as if they lack something. Making the effort to eliminate this discomfort and insecurity will help to make your photography session that much more enjoyable for you and the model.

2. Don’t Ever Touch The Model

This rule is very important and shouldn’t be broken under any circumstance especially if you don’t personally know the model or client. If you need anything to be moved or adjusted, try to communicate this in words as best as possible or have an assistant on set. As the photographer, it is important that you communicate to the model or talent as to what it is you’re looking for without having to touch them.

This rule extends to not even touching as much as their elbow or face. Maintain a strict level of professionalism at all times and if you need assistance, seek to have some help who is of the same gender as your talent or model. At all times have respect for boundaries, consent, and professionalism.

3. No Cell Phones

If you intend to have an assistant or more people on set while doing this nude photography session then I would strongly recommend that each individual except the model or talent is permitted to take their phone to the area where the session is taking place. The day and age we live in, mobile phones are capable of taking high-quality images or videos and can instantly be shared with social media platforms or sent to others. This is not to judge the character of the individuals on set but it is always better to be safe than sorry and the permission of one person to take images of a nude models does not give permission to everyone else as well.

4. Communicate Before The Session

Always be transparent with what you’re looking for and the intention of this session. This transparency with adds an extra layer of comfort to the model knowing exactly what they’re getting into. A lack of communication and transparency can cause discomfort and anxiety on both parts such as the photographer as well as the talent or model themselves.

Have a discussion a few days or a day before the scheduled date to shoot and bounce an idea off each other as well as letting them know who will be present on the day of the shoot and what is their importance of being on the shoot as well. If possible and you don’t need any help or assistance they I would advise keeping the session as intimate as possible in regards to it just being you and the model or talent. This simplifies a lot of things and leaves you with nothing extra to worry about.

5. Use A Long Focal Length

You want to always keep a safe and professional distance away from your talent or model. Take into consideration that your model is already in a vulnerable state and as the photographer, you being too close might just bring about a sense of discomfort. To play is safe and respectful, try to use a lens with a good enough focal length for you to capture what you need while still keeping a safe distance from your subject as well.

6. Use A Private Location

If you don’t have a space of your own then I would advise looking into finding a private area to do nude photography. This should be a given but you should never try to do nude photography in an area accessible to anyone as it opens an opportunity for mistakes and embarrassments. Make sure the location you’re shooting is private so both you and the talent can have peace of mind knowing there won’t be any unexpected visitors during a session.

I hope these tips have been a great help in organizing your next nude session or even preparing for your first ever nude photography session. It’s always a pleasure sharing these tips with you and I appreciate you stopping by.

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Michael Moodie
Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

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