77 Photo Tips From The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Part 2 of 5)

 

Hey!

I assume you’ve already read my semi-rant that kicked off this series. Now it’s time to take a look at some images from the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and figure out what makes these pictures special.

Do you have a fresh copy of the 2012 issue in front of you?

If so, cool.

If not, less cool. But not the end of the world.

 

__________________

 

QUICK NOTE:

The first question many photographers have when looking at an image taken by someone else is, “What size lens was used?” This question is a good one and a fair one. The truth is that focal length does indeed play a significant role in the look of a picture.

I can assure you that the great majority of photos in this issue were taken with moderate telephoto to full telephoto lenses (from 125mm to 500mm). Many consider 125mm to be a very reliable focal length for portraits (especially portraits that include only the head and shoulders of the subject). 

When shooting models full-length, longer lenses provide a flatter and less distorted picture. Longer focal lengths also give the photographer the ability to easily blur the background to varying degrees. This is often desired when shooting models because the blurred background brings added emphasis to the sharply focused subject.

Altering the aperture setting on the lens is the standard way to do this (a more open aperture produces a more blurred  background). Additionally, longer lenses produce this effect more naturally than shorter lenses.

If you’re interested in learning more about this technique, and how to put it into practice, you might want to check out my book, SKIN: The Complete Guide to Glamour and Nude Photography (formerly titled Money Shots).

In the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, there are a few shots when the photographer chose to use a moderate wide-angle lens to obtain a specific effect. As we go through the issue, I’ll point out the shots in which anything but a telephoto lens was used.

 

__________________

 

Let’s get started:

 

Page 6

It’s doubtful that you or I are going to find ourselves in a location like the one seen here anytime soon. Obviously, a great deal of the drama that this shot contains is due to the waterfall setting.

However, there’s still a valuable lesson we can take from this shot: When the vast majority of an image contains relatively similar colors, all it takes is a splash of a very different color to steal the show.

In this shot, the color of the model’s skin and swimsuit naturally draw the viewer’s eyes. In spite of how small she is in relation to the entire frame, there’s no doubt that she’s the prime subject of the shot.

In contrast, if the model had been forced to compete against a very colorful background, she would have had a much more difficult time establishing her role as the main subject of the shot.

It’s also important to note how the model’s pose delivers a sense of drama and brings the viewer’s eyes toward her. The extremely arched back, along with the position of her hands behind her head, create a silhouette that is hard to ignore. In other words, it’s a much more effective pose than would have been obtained if the photographer had simply directed the model to, “go stand over there in the water.”

It’s important to know that this technique of drawing a viewer’s eyes to the main subject by using contrasting colors or textures is equally effective in all styles of photography (whether the picture includes people or not).

 

Page 11

This shot is a good example of the importance of shooting outdoor glamour images primarily very early or very late in the day.

Among photographers, there is a term for these times of day: “The Magic Hours”. One Magic Hour occurs near sunrise, the other one occurs around sunset.

At these two times of day, the sun is very low in the sky and delivers an even and soft light that is ideal for photographing people.

However, don’t be fooled by the word “hour” in Magic Hour. In reality, you’ll often only have a shooting window of a few minutes when the light is ideal.

At these times of day the sun produces an extremely warm, slightly orange light. This color adds a healthy glow to a model’s skin. Because of this, it’s a great time for shooting pictures that feature a lot of skin, such as swimsuit or nude images.

Since you’ll often only have a few minutes when the sun is producing the exact light you desire, shooting during The Magic Hours requires concentration and preparation.

Because of this, every aspect of the shot – from the camera position to the model’s position, and everything in between – must be set up and ready to go in order to take full advantage when the light is just right.

You can be sure that this shot was taken very close to sunrise or sunset due to the catchlights in the model’s eyes that reflect a low sun position, the long shadows being cast, and the golden glow of her skin.

There’s another thing to learn from this picture. Take a look at the model’s smile. Do you see the space between her top teeth and her bottom lip? In the “real world”,  people rarely smile in this way. It just isn’t natural. However, in photographs of smiling models, the space between the top teeth and the lower lip add a great deal of energy and make the the shot far more dynamic.

It may seem strange, but it’s true. Trust me. It can make a huge difference in the energy that comes across in a shot.

Before the shoot, it’s a good idea to explain to your model what you want to accomplish. When the time comes for this kind of look, simply use a phrase such as, “Big smile, without the teeth touching” to remind her of what you’re going for.

 

Page 37

The shot seen here is a good counter-argument to the type of lighting we discussed with the previous image (page 11).

This picture proves that there are exceptions to every rule and guideline. Specifically, this shot demonstrates that it’s also possible to get great outdoor glamour shots during the middle of the day (not just during “The Magic Hours”).

However, it’ll often require an overcast day such as the one seen here. Overcast days can deliver very soft and flattering light (it’s as if the sky becomes a giant soft-box).

Make sure you don’t underestimate the value of the sky being overcast. It’s still true that shooting at midday in bright sunlight will usually produce very unflattering shadows on the model.

Though these unwanted shadows can often be dealt with by the proper use of various lighting accessories, it’s much simpler to shoot very early in the day, very late in the day, on overcast days, or in the shade.

In this particular picture, the softness of her pose (legs tucked underneath, relaxed hands), coupled with her gentle expression and her soft and sheer top perfectly complement the feel of the lighting and the picture’s composition. Taken together, these factors create a very gentle and attractive image.

 

Page 38

I can’t say for sure, but I would bet that every Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (since the first one in 1964) has had at least one picture featuring sand sticking to a model’s skin.

Sand on skin is a definite cliche when it comes to shooting at the beach. However, just because it’s a cliche, doesn’t mean it should be avoided. Some cliches are cliches for good reason. This is one of them.

The rough texture of the sand against the smooth skin of the model provides an interesting photographic contrast.

How the sand looks on skin will depend on a few variables: Is the sand wet or dry? Is the model wet or dry? Is the sand light and fluffy or a bit clumpy?

Thus, you’ll have to do a bit of experimentation to get the look you want.

As far as the lighting in this shot, it’s a very good example of manipulating light for specific purposes.

The very hard and contrasty shadows that appear on the model’s body are good evidence that the shot was taken in midday. This picture is a also a good example of how hard shadows can often be used for dramatic effect.

In this case, the hard shadows that appear on the body of the model serve to accentuate her curves and give the photograph a very dramatic overall vibe.

However, a closer examination reveals that these hard shadows don’t appear on her face (for example, there’s no shadow under her nose). This was accomplished by using some sort of light manipulation device in order to keep the harsh sun off her face but allow it to hit her body.

The reason for this is simple: Faces tend to not look so good when engulfed in harsh shadows.

Of course, when I say this, I’m referring to the faces of young swimsuit models that are supposed to be as “pretty” as possible. In contrast, deep and hard shadows might be exactly what’s needed is you’re attempting to convey a “tough-guy” look (think Robert De Niro).

 

Page 44

This shot is a virtual treasure chest of techniques you should be familiar with:

-Even though the model is lying down, the photographer shot the picture eye-to-eye by getting down to her level. This simple move gives an interesting and personal perspective to the shot. Photographers often get a bit lazy and don’t give enough thought to their shooting angles and how these angles can have a dramatic effect on how an image turns out.

-A wide aperture setting on the lens was used. This enables the model’s face (especially her eyes) to be in sharp focus while the remainder of the shot’s focus drops of quickly. By using selective focus in this way, you can easily put added emphasis on a specific area of a photo. In this particular case, the emphasis is on the face and eyes of the model.

-The model’s upper arms are “pulled in” close together to accentuate and emphasize the breasts.

-The slight tilt of the model’s head (down and to her right) gives her face an attractive angle. This slight tilt also adds a bit of mystery to the shot that wouldn’t have been present had her face been straight on to the camera.

-It’s often difficult for models to attain attractive and graceful hand positions. The shot seen here is a good example of a very good hand position. Additionally, using her left hand to gently tug at a piece of hair adds a softness to the shot (note the subtle curve of the fingers on her left hand).

-Even though her body is in soft focus and not the main subject of the shot; her feet are still extended and her toes are pointed. This foot position is nearly always the most attractive way to photograph women’s feet (no matter what style of photography is being done).

 

Page 50

Rule Number 1:  

You can’t go wrong with a cheetah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated


Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

77 Photo Tips From The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (Part 1 of 5)

 

As you probably already know, the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue recently hit the shelves.

And I have a confession to make: I don’t get the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

I understand it. I just don’t get it.

I don’t get it’s continued popularity. I don’t get the anticipation that builds around it each year. I don’t get how it’s manages to sustain it’s position as a cultural phenomenon in today’s society.

There was a time, not that long ago, when I did get it. I could easily understand all the hoopla that surrounded the issue (did I really just use the word “hoopla”?).

In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, if someone wanted to see pictures of nude (or nearly nude) women, they bought a magazine like Playboy. But even Playboy, which was (and still is) relatively tame had a negative stigma attached to it. In other words, it wasn’t “coffee table safe”.

During those years, it’s not hard to understand the fascination with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

After all, it featured models in bikinis frolicking on exotic beaches – and even more importantly – it was delivered under the guise of a sports magazine.

It was a marketing effort from Sports Illustrated that bordered on genius.

Not only did the issue feature beautiful models wearing very skimpy (for the time) swimsuits, it also arrived in the dead of winter during an annual lull in the world of sports that continues to this day: The Super Bowl is over, the NBA is in the midst of a relatively uneventful regular season, and pro baseball and The Masters are still months away.

Thus, the SI Swimsuit Issue was the perfect antidote to the sport’s world blahs.

But that was then.

I got it then.

I don’t get it now.

Because these days, seeing nude or nearly nude models is as simple as turning on your computer (or your TV).

Even a simple trip to your grocery store’s magazine section will reveal women’s fitness magazines featuring covers (and content) that makes the images within the SI Swimsuit Issue seem modest by comparison.

In spite of all this, the issue continues to thrive.

Have I mentioned that I just don’t get it?

Fortunately, for the purposes of the remainder of this article, it doesn’t matter whether I get it or not.

The important thing is the issue continues to feature excellent images shot by great photographers featuring beautiful models and beautiful locations.

The issue is a virtual cornucopia of valuable photography techniques that will benefit photographers of all levels. 

This post is merely Part 1 of a 5 Part series of posts dedicated to this year’s issue. In Parts 2 through 5 (coming very soon), we’ll take a look at a wide variety of images from the issue and specifically study the techniques and ideas that were used to create them.

If you desire is to improve your glamour, swimsuit, nude, or erotic photography abilities, there’s a lot to be learned within the pages of this issue.

And in my following four posts, I guarantee you’ll learn a lot.

So if you don’t yet have a copy of the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, be sure to get one before Part 2.

Yes, get your hands on the the actual, old-fashioned, paper-and-staples issue.

This way, you’ll be able to view the pictures we’re discussing clearly and at actual size.

Trust me, it won’t be difficult to find a copy. Just look for the huge displays devoted entirely to the issue in every grocery store and 7-11 from here to Funkytown.


All photos courtesy of Sports Illustrated

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

Shooting Nude & Glamour Close-up Images

No matter what style of photography you’re interested in, there will be times when you’ll want to experiment with shooting close-ups (it’s up to you to define how close is close).

When you hear the word, “Close-up,” it’s quite possible your first thought is a close-up of a face (since that’s how it’s usually used in the film industry). However, with nude photography, the overwhelming majority of close-ups are of specific areas of the body.

Whether you’re shooting glamour, nude, or erotic images, close-ups play a significant role in these styles of photography.

If you’re interested in profiting from your work in the field of “adult-oriented” photography, it’s important to know that you will have to take a variety of genitalia close-ups (or, as their known in the industry, “Spread shots”).

However, if you’re not shooting for commercial purposes, your close-ups don’t have to be explicit or graphic in any way. The image that appears here is a great example of a creative and well executed close-up. It features an interesting and unique point-of-view; one that many photographers wouldn’t have noticed.

You’ll quickly discover that finding new and interesting ways to shoot close-ups of women’s bodies is not an easy task. However, as jobs or hobbies go, it’s not a bad way to pass the time.

I suggest you use the image seen here as both inspiration and as an example of what can be created with some thought and imagination.

 

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report “7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography



Glamour Photography Secrets: The Art of Shallow Focus

This is a classic glamour shot. In fact, it doesn’t get any more “Classic Glamour” than this: A blonde woman with red lipstick and black lingerie lying on a bed while seductively eyeing the camera.

To many, this shot would be close to the very definition of “Glamour photography”.

However, what I want to do is take a look at a specific aspect of this particular shot that will greatly help you in all your glamour, nude, and erotic photography (whether there’s red lipstick involved or not).

What I’m referring to is the concept of “depth of focus.” You’ll notice that in this shot there is a very shallow depth of focus. By this, I mean that the model’s face is in sharp focus, but nearly everything else in the image is soft (or “blurred”).

This technique can be used to add emphasis to certain areas of an image. When a viewer looks at a picture, the viewer’s eyes are drawn to the sharpest areas of the image. In most cases, you’ll want your model’s eyes to be the sharpest part of the image.

Using the technique of selective depth of focus will often result in much more interesting images. In today’s computer age, it’s possible to add “softness” to certain areas of images in post-production.

However, if you’re going to be a “true” photographer, I think it’s critical to know how to create selective focus in-camera at the time a photograph is taken (call me old-fashioned).

To put it as simply as possible, your camera’s aperture setting will determine the depth of focus. More specifically, the wider the aperture, the more narrow the depth of focus; the smaller the aperture, the less narrow the depth of focus.

And it never hurts to have a blonde model with red lipstick and black lingerie lying seductively on a bed nearby.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

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.

 

 
Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report, “7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.
 

 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).

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 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.

 

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 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.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

 

 

Are There Limits in Glamour and Nude Photography?

 

By almost any standard of glamour photography, this image is definitely unique. In contrast to the usual intent to portray models as attractively as possible, this particular shot presents a model in apparent anguish.

I find pictures like this one to be very interesting. It’s as if the picture is part of a story that the viewer knows nothing about. And since the viewer has no idea what’s going on, he gets to make up his own narrative regarding the shot.

But instead of trying to come up with our own explanation of the picture, let’s examine some of the techniques that went into making it such an effective image.

First, the mere fact that it’s in black & white adds a “documentary” style vibe to the shot.

Second, the contorted body position is also very different then what is typically seen in glamour work. The expression on the women’s face accurately conveys a true sense of despair (not an easy thing for a model to do).

However, what I like most about this picture is the unusual perspective of the model’s hand reaching toward the camera (with her arm creating an interesting diagonal to the composition). To get this perspective, use a low shooting angle and a wide-angle lens.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

How to Choose The Perfect Nude Model For The Job

This image is from one of my favorite nude shoots ever. Though the paint makes things appear a bit messy, it was actually a very simple shoot to execute. The model, Jubilee, is one of the most free-spirited and experimental nude young models I’ve ever worked with.

The scene was very simply lit. I simply used four flash heads bounced into four umbrellas to light the set very evenly. This was done so Jubilee could freely move around a fairly large area and still be well lit.

Apart from the lighting, all that was required was putting up some seamless white paper and making a quick trip to the art supply store to pick up some inexpensive paints.

I gave Jubilee the paints, a few foam brushes, placed her in the middle of the large white “canvas” and gave her the instruction, “Do whatever you want.”

From that point on, all I had to do was photographically document the proceedings.

With this type of shoot (one in which the model will be setting the pace), the most important thing you can do is find the right model. Preferably, one who is fearless in front of the camera, likes to experiment, has few inhibitions, and is willing to do just about anything it takes to get great pictures.

Since I had worked with Jubilee many times before, I knew she would be the perfect girl for the job.

From a purely business standpoint, this set of pictures has been one of my most profitable ever.

Not only did I sell the pictures from the set you see here many times over, I also sold images that I took immediately after the shoot featuring Jubilee in the shower and bath washing the paint off her body.

The most important lesson to be learned from this shot is that sometimes the most important talent a nude photographer can possess is the ability to choose the right nude model for the job.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography

 

 

 

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

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

Glamour Photography: The Art Of Naked Deception


This is a deceptive photograph (even more deceptive than most glamour photographs – and that’s saying a lot).

At first glance, it has a very casual feel to it. It succeeds in giving the impression that the shot was made in a very spontaneous manner. A nude woman simply lying amongst the sheets of a bed.

However, getting shots like this is not as simple as this picture makes it appear.

In other words, you probably won’t have much success if you stake out the bed of your wife or girlfriend, wait for her to open her eyes, and start snapping away.

Closer inspection of this picture shows that it wasn’t taken quite as spontaneously as it seems. For one, the white background provides a great contrast to the model’s skin. Also, there’s no clutter in the shot: no drapes, no clock radio, not a single distraction to be found. Not many actual bedrooms would provide such a clean “canvas.”

Add the beautifully soft and even lighting, the perfect manicure, the professionally applied makeup, the tousled hair that probably took an hour to get just right, and suddenly you have a glamour photograph that isn’t so casual after all.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

The Importance Of Sexy and Unique Shooting Angles

I’m a big fan of searching for unique and interesting shooting angles when I shoot glamour and nude images. Though I believe it’s a simple thing to do if you’re aware of it, I think this valuable compositional aspect of photography is one that most photographers overlook.

In fact, I believe that an interesting shooting angle may be the simplest way for you to turn an average picture into a very good one, and a very good one into a great one.

If this is the case, why do so many photographers overlook this factor? In my opinion, there are two reasons. The first one is that photographers simply don’t realize the transformative qualities that unique shooting angles can have on glamour and nude photographs.

The second reason is that shooting in this way is far more physically demanding on the photographer.

To shoot from unusual angles, photographers have to be in constant motion and always looking for new perspectives. Sometimes these shots require quite a bit of movement by the photographer (climbing ladders, lying down on floors, etc.). However, in my opinion, the added physical exertion is well worth it.

I shot this photo while the model, Breanna, was standing on a ledge in my home. This allowed me to shoot from a very low angle and produce a very unique image.

Another important thing to note about this shot is the position of Breanna’s feet (up on her toes, feet pointed). If she and I had been less aware of the importance of the position of her feet, this picture would not have the same impact and allure.

In addition, the simple blue walls contrast nicely with the tone of her skin. Remember, you don’t need a lot of props (or any at all) to create striking nude images.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

Tips For Photographing Very Young Models

This image includes two factors you’ll want to know about if you’re going to shoot glamour and nude  photographs of young women.

I took this shot as part of a set for a magazine that features younger woman (primarily 18 and 19-year-olds).

When shooting nude images of models this age it’s important not to style the shoot in a way that makes them  look even younger than they actually are.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t long ago that publications featuring young models had them posing with teddy  bears and lollipops. Fortunately, that style is very rarely seen these days.

However, you’ll still want your pictures to portray young models as having a sense of youthful innocence. To  help do this, I instructed this model to apply minimal makeup. I also supplied her with accessories that  convey a relatively youthful style (pink hairband and bracelets).

Along with the youthful styling, there is a second important factor in this image that is often overlooked by  many photographers.

At first glance, it appears that the model is resting her head on her left hand. However, in reality, she’s holding her head up so it barely touches her hand. The reason for this is that if she were to actually rest her head on her hand, the left side of her face would – for lack of a better word – have a “squished” look to it.

This potential problem is something you’ll have to keep an eye on no matter what style of photography you’re doing or what age model you’re shooting.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography


 

Tears & Fishnets: Documentary-Style Glamour Pictures

 

I like the feel of this picture. It’s a documentary style photo that will definitely leave an impression on any viewer. Those who view this shot will inevitably come up with their own scenario for what may be occurring.

For example, my personal narrative involves a young French girl from the country who ran away to Paris, got caught up in prostitution, and is now having a breakdown in an extremely brightly lit alcove on the Champs-Élysées. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you any further details.

In spite of the tears and overall negative vibe of this image, it’s still a sexy and glamorous shot in it’s own way (torn fishnet stockings have a way of doing that). Certainly, the picture is staged (the reflection of the light on the wall gives the reality away fairly quickly).

However, I find images like this to be interesting. More than anything else, they remind me of still pictures taken during the process of making of a film.

If this style of photography appeals to you, an important thing to remember is to resist the urge to overly direct your model. Instead, encourage her to get lost in a role; in much the same way you would direct an actress.

There are two additional things to learn from this picture. First, be careful not to reveal your lighting setup. Second, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with a combination of fishnet stockings and smeared mascara.

 

Sign up for the free Inside Glamour Photography newsletter and instantly receive your free report 7 Killer Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting Nude Models!” You’ll find a quick and easy sign-up box at the top right of each page.

 Tips, Techniques, and Ideas for Glamour and Nude Photography