THE KEYS THAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR FIRST ARTISTIC NUDE

The nude is not one of the most practiced photographic genres, however, I dare to say that this type of portrait photography is one of the most beautiful. We are human and, as such, we feel tremendously attracted to the human body, for its beauty, for its uniqueness, because just like sunsets, no two bodies are the same.

Today I am going to give you the keys so that you launch yourself to try this art, so that you know where to start or resolve any doubts that may have arisen. And when you try it, you can decide if you like it enough to get off at this station or continue your journey until the next one. Are you staying?

WHY PHOTOGRAPH A NUDE?

Nude photography is a constant challenge, a difficult dance between the beauty of the human body and the taboo it represents in our society. Because let’s not fool ourselves, we are tired of seeing almost naked bodies in advertising (and explicitly playing with sex) and when it comes to art it seems that it is seen with different eyes. Because it is not easy not to cross the line that separates it from the most erotic or pornographic photography, because it requires complicity with the model and because it requires more honesty than any other type of photography. For all these reasons, it is a challenge and every challenge is stimulating and pushes us to grow.

LIGHT

The type of light to use will depend on the result you are looking for. However, if you will give me the advice, I would start playing with natural light. We are talking about the artistic nude, not a commercial nude, what more artistic than a nude body bathed in natural light? Don’t you think that a flash, in addition to intimidating the model, will reduce the naturalness and beauty of the image? When you have a little more experience you can start playing with artificial lights and even try the different effects that soft and hard lights offer you. Just like you can experiment to achieve high or low key nude photos.

What you must be very clear about is that light will be a very important element in nude photography. The way you light the body will determine the effect it will have on the audience, it is a big part of the message you want to convey.

CLIMATE OF TRUST

It is essential that you somehow connect with the person who is going to be photographed naked by you. She has to feel completely comfortable, safe. Try to create a climate of absolute trust, let her be herself to get more natural photos or explain what you are looking for before starting the session. Give her the opportunity to show you the best of herself, that she undresses not only on the outside, but also on the inside.

COLOR OR BLACK AND WHITE

A nude in black and white, for me, usually has a strength, an elegance and a natural beauty that I don’t see as much in a color nude. Of course, this is perhaps too subjective a vision, since I understand that a pure nude is one that undresses the body, the soul and also the color photo and other distractions 😉 . That doesn’t mean you can’t achieve spectacular color nudes. The message that you want to convey will require grayscale or color, you decide as an artist

DETAILS

Look for the details of your model’s body, it is a way of creating mystery, of showing without showing, of awakening sensuality and causing the viewer’s mind to build a story from the sample you are offering. Play with them to create compositions or arouse emotions.

EDITION

About the edition there is a great debate in general. There is no need to demonize, editing programs are an excellent and necessary tool that any photographer is currently lucky enough to have. Now when it comes to artistic nude, IMHO, editing should be kept to a minimum. To be as honest as possible with the models, with the public and even with yourself, try to edit the photo just right. Leave the imperfections of your model, they will be part of his personality that has to reach the viewer. Do not modify her body. It improves if you need some parameters, but if you are not a professional who is going to sell a photograph to a firm, but an amateur who is creating art, you do not need to dress fictional reality, nor do a photomontage, you need to show reality with your eyes and with your sensitivity through the camera. Leave the computer as parked as possible

PROVOKE A REACTION

The fact of photographing a nude in itself will cause a reaction in the viewer. It’s up to you that it’s a strong reaction, not a mere, “uh, another nude.” That the impact is real, that the viewer cannot stop looking at the image. It can provoke negative or positive feelings, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that it stirs it up inside.

As an example I will give you the Japanese photographer Manabu Yamanaka, who made a fabulous series (Gyatei) of very old women who showed their bodies full of wrinkles and in real size. An extraordinary work that goes beyond sculptural bodies and shows the body as it is in old age.

COMPOSITION

As in any photograph, the composition is as important as the model itself. You can’t forget about her. Andreas H. Bitesnich, a wonderful nude photographer, says that the important thing is to find a visual balance, that the nude is about balance and proportion. Probably this author finds it intuitively, if you don’t have that gift, don’t be scared, it can work 😉 Immerse yourself in the work of the most experienced to develop your photographic eye in nudes.

PROFESSIONAL MODELS OR NOT?

The models can show you very studied poses and faces, they will give you what they think you expect from them, they will lack the naturalness of any person who has no experience. If you are looking for genuine, authentic nudes that show the soul of the person you are portraying, a professional model is not the best option. On the other hand, a professional model will offer you a security that another inexperienced model will not be able to. When planning the session, be clear about what type of photographs you want, whether more natural or more studied, and look for the right model for that occasion.

Some ideas to keep in mind when looking for models:

you can pull family or friends who have a healthy relationship with their body and with nudes for more natural photographs.

look for models that need a book and make an exchange.

dancers can be a fantastic option, because of the beauty of their body, because of the way they move, because they will probably pose less modestly and because they can help you achieve wonderful compositions.

you can work naked of different ages, the more information your body offers you (scars, tattoos, wrinkles…) the more tools you will have to bare your soul.

Another idea is to work with several models at the same time. In this case it is very important that there is full trust between them or that they are professionals. A couple can be a good option

INDOOR OR OUTDOOR?

As we are talking about your first nude photography, my recommendation is that you carry out the first sessions in an environment in which both the person who is going to be photographed and you feel comfortable. Especially if he is a family member or friend, you can work in an environment that is familiar to him. With a professional model you may be able to afford other luxuries, but not with someone as inexperienced as you. Little by little you will be able to search for interesting locations that are part of the creative work.

OBJECTIVES

Although a nude is still a portrait, the ideal is that you start with one of these recommended lenses for portrait photography and if you have a 35 mm, then all the better 😉 . Later, if you continue to be attracted to the subject, you will discover your own needs on your own.

THE FINAL LINE

The line between the artistic nude, with the sensuality or elegance that it conveys, and other types of more explicit or pornographic photographs can be too fine. Pay close attention and remember that you are creating art, keep in mind what the limit is and what you are looking to awaken in your audience and never lose the elegance or the feeling of art.

You can talk to your model about this before, if you explain well where your limits are and make it clear what you expect from the session, it will help them to relax.

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