The Case For Tightly Cropped Images

 

This shot is a good example of eliminating extraneous subject matter from an image, leaving only what is absolutely necessary to make the picture work.

I imagine that many viewers of this shot would consider the extremely tight crop to be a bit “claustrophobic.” However, it’s obvious that the photographers main desire was to emphasize the model’s face and breasts as much as possible. Using that standard, the tight crop serves the image well.

A case could certainly be made for showing a bit more of the model; and I have no doubt that the set of images that this picture came from included shots that did just that. However, there’s nothing wrong with reducing an image down to it’s most important parts.

Another aspect of the shot to take note of is the tack-sharpness of the model’s left eye (the eye closest to the camera). The focus on the model’s left eye causes the shot to “read” as sharply focused, in spite of the fact that the rest of the image is noticeably “soft.”

Unless you’re intentionally putting the focus somewhere else for creative reasons, it’s nearly always a good idea to make sure that the eye of your model that is closest to the camera is the most sharply focused area of the composition.

 

 
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 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

 

Stunning Nude Photographs: Using “The Magic Hours”

This is an exquisite picture of a young model. Even if there was nothing else in the shot to make it special, the simple gesture of her grasping her wet hair makes for an interesting image.

However, what really makes this particular image stand out is the lighting. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to figure out how the lighting was achieved. In addition, it’s relatively simple for anyone to get similar results.

The most important thing is shooting at just the right time of day. However, it’s also important to know that this window of time is very brief.

From the trees in the background, it’s obvious that the picture was taken outside. From the golden glow of the light, you can be certain it was either taken very soon after sunrise or just before sunset (when the sun was low in the sky).

These two times of day are often referred to as The Magic Hours.

However, to get a picture like this, you won’t have an hour. In reality, you might have just a few minutes.

From the highlights on her hair and the rim of light on her body (most visible in the bottom right corner of the image), you can be certain that she had her back to the setting (or rising) sun.

To fill in any shadows on her face and the front of her body, a gold reflector was used to bounce light from the sun back onto her (further enhancing the golden glow).

 

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 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

 

Top Glamour Photographers: Ellen Von Unwerth

 

This is the first post in a series that will highlight some of the world’s top photographers.

As a 10-year-old, I spent most of my free time trying to emulate Walt Frazier of the New York Knicks (though I had the Puma Clydes, I couldn’t quite keep up with the Rolls Royce, fur coats, and basketball talent).

Fifteen years later, I found myself spending hours upon hours studying the images of photographers such as Gilles Bensimon and Peter Lindbergh.

Those are two examples of how to dramatically improve at anything you have a passion for: Identifying the artists of work that excites you and then putting in the time to figure what makes them so special.

Guitar players study Jimmy Page, architects study I.M. Pei, and photographers study Ansel Adams.

However, when it comes to Ansel Adams, if your desire is to improve your glamour photography, studying his groundbreaking nature images might not be all that helpful (and learning the opening riff to “Whole Lotta Love” might help even less).

Fortunately, there are many excellent photographers whose work you can learn from.

Not all the photographers that I’ll highlight in this ongoing series will be known primarily as “Glamour Photographers”. However, each photographer I feature will have a style that incorporates a sense of glamour and sensuality in his or her work.

As an example, top fashion photographers are known for shooting very glamorous images. However, at the end of the day, their primary job requirement is to make the clothes look good.

Still, fashion shooters are some of the most talented photographers in the world.

And without question, one of the very best is Ellen Von Unwerth.

Strictly speaking, the German-born Von Unwerth, would be defined as a “fashion photographer.” However, her work transcends the typical definition of that specific style.

And best of all for us, photographers of any experience level can benefit from studying the techniques and shooting methods used by Von Unwerth.

To give you a bit of background, Von Unwerth made her living in front of the camera starting at the age of 20. She worked as a leading fashion model for ten years. However, the gift of a camera from a boyfriend dramatically changed the direction of her life and career.

Simply for fun, she took the camera to a modeling job in Africa and simply snapped pictures of the local people and environment. However, upon her return to Europe, her pictures were promptly purchased and published in a magazine called Jill.

And just like that, without a shred of formal training, a new career was born.

Today, Von Unwerth is one of the most sought-after photographers in the world. She shoots fashion and editorial spreads for leading fashion magazines, celebrity portraits, and some of the worlds biggest ad campaigns. Without question, Von Unwerth is firmly entrenched at the top of her field.

And she deserves to be.

But here’s the important question for you and me: What’s in it for us? What can we learn from the work of Von Unwerth?

Fortunately, quite a bit.

Of course, the point of studying the work of other photographers is not to steal their styles. Rather, it’s to study the details and characteristics of high quality work and take note of what makes certain pictures and certain photographers so special.

In the case of Von Unwerth, what stands out most is the vibrant sense of sexual spontaneity that appears in her work.

The models in her photographs convey a sense of movement and freedom that sets her work apart from the majority of other leading fashion photographers.

Von Unwerth’s style didn’t come about by accident. And it didn’t come from a conscious decision to set herself apart from her peers.

The truth is that her style came from her time spent modeling. As a model, she didn’t like the static nature of traditional fashion photography. Holding poses for long lengths of time and having photographers make tiny changes to these poses was the way fashion photography had always been done.

When she embarked on her own photographic career, she rebelled against that style.

She’s known for creating interesting environments and then inserting the models into them. Once there, the models are encouraged to enjoy and interact with the environment in a playful, curious, and natural way.

Without using explicit direction, Von Unwerth is there to capture the results in an equally spontaneous manner.

She allows her models to simply be themselves during shoots. This is a drastic departure from the way most fashion work is shot.

She has an uncanny ability to put both models and celebrities at ease. She is more interested in giving her subjects the freedom to express their emotions than she is in capturing technically spot-on images.

Whether shooting in black & white or color, her signature style revolves around the idea of women embracing their sexuality and their femininity at the same time.

Her fashion and editorial work manages to incorporate a stunning sense of eroticism, role-playing, and even sadomasochism. Obviously, quite different from typical fashion photography.

But whatever the subject, Von Unwerth encourages her models to freely express themselves in any way they like. Most likely, this is the reason that no matter how exposed her model’s bodies may be, they never appear objectified in any way. Von Unwerth allows her models to show their true personalities as well as their nude bodies.

You might want to try this way of shooting. I think it would be a worthwhile exercise for any photographer (especially for those who like to keep tight control over their shoots and their model’s poses).

My advice:

Give it a try, you have nothing to lose. I think you’ll be quite surprised by the results.

 

 

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 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

 

Glamour Photography: The Importance Of Wardrobe

Whoever it was who came up with the slogan, “No Shirt, No Service!” never ran into the woman in this picture. I strongly believe if the two of them had ever crossed paths, the model seen here would have undoubtedly received excellent service.

In truth, this image is a great example of how a model wearing clothing can often result in a sexier and more striking image than a model who is entirely – or nearly – nude.

Admittedly, this isn’t your average picture of a clothed model. While it’s technically true she’s wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans, she definitely has her own take on how to wear them.

Often, styling a model’s clothing in a unique way – such as seen in this picture – can be the key to creating compelling images.

Once you get your styling ideas just right, you can turn to the other variables that can help make an image truly stand out. As an example, something that makes the shot seen here so special is the relatively hard lighting that comes from left of the camera

The placement of the lighting is what causes the glistening curves and crevices of the model’s nearly nude body to be accentuated.

In addition, this lighting placement is what enables the droplets of water on her skin to be far more visible than they would have been if a softer and less directional lighting setup had been used.

 

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 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography