How to Use Only One Light For Dramatic Nude Pictures

I’ve always been very fond of this particular image.

Not only because it’s a very sculptural photograph of a nude female torso; but also because it’s a shot of my girlfriend, Penny.

This image was taken using a single tungsten hot light. My goal was to accentuate Penny’s muscularity and body definition as much as possible while using only a single light source.

When your goal is to emphasize detailed body definition, it’s a good idea to use hot lights. Hot lights are commonly used when shooting bodybuilders and fitness models.

The benefit of using hot lights when shooting this type of image is that the light stays on constantly (in contrast to flash lighting). This constant light enables you to easily move the light equipment around the subject and observe how different positions effect how the light falls upon your subject.

Side-lighting (or a position very close to side-lighting) will further serve to bring out details of your model’s body.

In this shot, I love the look of the deep crevice in Penny’s back. I was able to accent this area by positioning the light into a location that I felt was ideal.

As you can probably imagine, this would have been a drastically different – and far less dramatic – picture if the light had been positioned directly in front of her.

To further enhance musculature and body definition, a light layer of body oil was applied just before we began shooting.

Finally, a dappled dark grey muslin backdrop was used to give the background a bit of texture and to contrast sharply with her naked body. I remember this shoot like it was yesterday.

Thanks, Penny. Q


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