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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What Can You Learn From A Naked And Annoyed 19-Year-Old?

The story behind this picture can teach you a valuable lesson. Trust me, I was there.

I took this shot many years ago. In fact, it’s from one of the first three or four nude shoots I’d ever done. I wish I could tell you that I was in complete control of the shoot and impressed this model with my expertise. Unfortunately, that’s not how it happened.

Like all new photographers, I was struggling to juggle all the variables that a nude photo shoot requires. However, unlike the models I’d photographed before, Tara was very experienced and had little patience for my frequent confusion regarding what to do next.

During one of the many self-caused delays, I looked over at her and she was staring at me with a look of disdain that 19-year-old girls seem to do so well. Still, I couldn’t help myself. I quickly snapped off this shot.

In spite of the circumstances, I really like this picture. It’s not posed. It’s honest. It’s authentic.

Looking back, I wish I hadn’t added the extra grain and the purple tone; but it was during my early days with Photoshop and I couldn’t help myself. Unfortunately, I’ve since lost the original slide.

So what’s the lesson to be learned from my experience?  Simply this:

If you’re new to shooting glamour or nude images, don’t worry about things going wrong during a shoot. Trust me, things are going to go wrong. Simply accept that fact and move on.

And don’t worry about being nervous before a shoot. There’s nothing wrong with a little nervousness. Nerves are proof that you care (or so I’ve been told).

But here’s the good news: Not only can I guarantee you’ll survive the shoot, I can guarantee you’ll learn a lot in the process.

And before you know it, you’ll be the one with the experience.

 

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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.

 

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How To Take Candid and Playful Nude Photos

What’s your first thought when you see this picture?

For me, it’s the “realness” of it. I’m struck by the authenticity of the shot. I think you’ll agree that a piece of the model’s true personality seems to come through in this image.

Shooting candid shots is certainly not difficult. Walk down any busy street and you can take 50 candid shots within a single block.

However, shooting candid nude shots is a far more difficult task. But on the rare occasion when you’re able to capture a model in a truly unguarded moment, the result is often quite charming.

Taking casual nude images is difficult because a nude photo shoot tends to have a certain structure to it; and a great deal of that structure usually involves some degree of posing by the model.

In other words, whether you’re shooting glamour, nude, or erotic images, most likely you’ll be directing your model into poses of some type.

Since I didn’t take this picture, I have no way of knowing what lead up to this particular image. For all I know, the authenticity I see when I view this shot might all be a ruse. Still, as ruses go, you’ve got to admit this would be a pretty good one.

But in this particular case, I don’t think it’s a ruse. I believe the picture represents an authentic sliver of time that occurred between the photographer and the model.

And though I don’t know the details of this specific shot, I can share with you the circumstances that have enabled me to capture similar shots during my own career.

For myself, shots like these tend to occur soon after finishing a specific set of images. Many of my sets consist of about 150 shots; with each shot featuring a different pose (requiring quite a bit of effort and concentration on the part of the model).

When I eventually tell the model, “Okay, we’re done,” she’ll inevitably fall into a comfortable body position and allow herself to relax, both physically and mentally. At this point, we may talk for a few moments before moving to the next set.

If you’ve developed a good rapport with your model over the course of the shoot, she’ll likely feel comfortable simply being herself while also being completely nude.

It’s during these “in-between” times that casual and candid shots like the one seen here are most likely to be captured.

 

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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.

 

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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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