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I am not quite sure how I ended up a nude model.  Some days seems as though I just stopped concentrating for a few months and when I next noticed, I was naked in the rain in a not quite abandoned alley.  I have worked as both model and photographer in Artistic Nudes and have shot a great many first time nude models, so as part of Project Educate Artistic Nudes Segment Week, I have attempted to create a guide for shooting first time nude models.  Here it goes:




As a photographer about to shoot a first time nude model, you are burdened with a massive responsibility.   Naturally, you always have a responsibility to the model when ever you shoot but think of it like this: perhaps you are shooting the next Shy-Too-Shy, but, if that model does not leave your shoot with a positive experience of working with art nude photographers, they may never pose again.  I believe you also have a responsibility to your fellow artists to show just how professional, non-threatening and enjoyable a nude shoot can be.  If they are a first time nude model, you are in the position where you could either introduce a stunning new talent to the AN world or could put them off modeling for life.  You will be their first impression.   

Amber - Perched by silverystars   :thumb86104213:  :thumb83890804:  male athlete by artdibujar  Uncontrollable 16 by amelkovich

Respect, attitude and some basics of human courtesy:

No matter how many nudes you yourself have shot in the past, it is vitally important to remember that getting naked requires a lot of bravery and anyone willing to do so deserves your respect.  It certainly gets easier each time you pose but, no matter how experienced your model is, you must constantly remember that, in getting naked for you, they are placing a massive amount of trust in you.  

Reminding yourself of this at all times will help set the tone for your entire shoot.  

In addition to this, basics such as ensuring that the model will be comfortable help show that you respect them.  As a model, I can not tell you how much it is appreciated if the photographer has given some thought to your comfort.  Photographers have a habit of asking extreme things of nude models.  You have all seen the photos of nudes in icy lakes, lying across water falls or in the mud as storm clouds brew above them.  If this is your style, so be it: the model will know what they are getting in for but try to make them as comfortable as possible.  If you are inside, provide a heater.    If you are outside, bring blankets, a thermos of hot chocolate or anything that acknowledges that you appreciate the discomfort they are putting themselves through for you and your art.  There is nothing worse than seeing a model blue with cold, trying to appear elegant at sunrise on a chilled winter morning while the photographer, rugged up in copious amounts of jumpers, shouts instructions from inside their cocoon of comfort.

A Minute Wtih My Soul by l0zt-S0uL  music2 by Elrisha  Forward to reflection by photograjph

Starting out:

Do not dash towards the nudes!  If at all possible, only shoot nudes after you have worked with the model on previous, clothed shoots.  If you do not produce good art together clothed, it is doubtful that you will be able to produce it nude.

On the day that you plan to shoot nudes, still take your time: work through some clothed sets and, once you get to Nude Time, do not rush straight to your Shot Of The Day.  Perhaps there is a particular pose or image which you wish to capture but it will be undoubtedly be better when both you and the model are relaxed so do not try to capture it first.

(Hint:  I always start with a 'light test'.  I usually don't need it, as I've been shooting them clothed for some time before they undress but it gives them a chance to see that you are working on your side of the camera and are not just along for the ride.  More importantly, it give me a chance to say 'This is just a light test so pull your worst face possible.'  which is always my favourite part of the shoot.)

I usually start with some back shots and let the model decide when they want to turn around and be shot front on.  

Amelies light III by AlexanderB  :thumb63013722:  ,,,,, by TomasRucker  

Give them something to think about!  I cannot stress how much this step has benefited my shoots.  There is nothing harder for a model than just being told to 'look pretty', particularly if they are nervous.  Give them a way to engage their brain so that 'oh heck! I'm naked!' isn't holding a monopoly over their thoughts.  

(Hint:  The best trick I have found is to give them a prop and tell them to experiment with different ways to relate to it.  I recently completed a series on my other account (TeamHyphenPants) where we gave the models a picture frame.  They could peer through it, step through it, frame a part of their body, drape over it and so on and so forth.  The instant someone started to look a bit uncomfortable we would pass them the frame.  It worked a treat.  

Another good object is a piece of material.  If they need to, they can even wrap it around their body and reveal as much or as little as they need to.  Most will slowly let more and more show until they can pose without it.)

roket IV by mehmeturgut  :thumb87432010:  :thumb90796594:   :thumb58744528:


Compliments are a difficult thing, particularly for an inexperienced photographer shooting a nervous nude.  Does it go without saying that it is vitally important to keep compliments clean?  That you never compliment a models breasts?  Keeping compliments above the neck line is usually a good idea.  Hair, eyes and smile are nice, safe things to compliment.  Female photographers shooting female models can usually get away with a 'damn, if I looked like that, I would never put clothes on again' but really, just be careful, respectful and professional.

:thumb80308210:  another moment of boredom by graemo Breathless. by jennipenny  :thumb66384797:


This leads me neatly to the final tip:

At all times BE PROFESSIONAL!

I can not stress this enough.  As I have already stated, with a new model, you have a duty to show them just how professional and positive the world of Art Nudes can be but with any model, photographer, lighting assistant, MUA, stylist or casual observer, you must maintain a professional attitude!  I am going to go out on a limb here (and irritate quite a few prominent photographers on this site) by saying that I consider photographers sleeping with models they have met through photography (as opposed to a partner that models for them) appalling.   As a photographer, particularly shooting a new nude model, you are in a position of power and responsibility.  Act like it.  DO NOT touch a model, even to brush hair from their face without first asking permission.  They are not there to be objects of sexual desire but to help you make art and, if you are looking them at them as a sex object, how on earth are you going to be able to make good art?

Believe it or not, there are photographers out there who 'specialise' in shooting first time/new nude models and sleep with many of them.  

This leads me to have a few words to say to models, wanting to test out the art nude world:

For your first nude shoot, YOU PICK THE PHOTOGRAPHER!  There is time enough later for working with people who have approached you but, for the first shoot, select someone on the basis of their portfolio.  Once you have made contact with them, send them examples (from their own and other's portfolios) of what you want to create. You control the shoot.  You decide how much to take off when.  


So summing up, I hope that helps one or two people!  There are stunning photographers and models out there looking to make amazing nude art.  Take a risk and contact some of them.  Just remember to be respectful, professional and relaxed.  Your work will grow as a result!

Wycked laughs .. by JimYoung  Your smile makes me high by hydlide  Hope Has Come You Are Saved by lepersabstain  


Support Project Educate Artistic Nudes Segment Week!  Go and check out Helewidis journal for more information on how to get involved.


BTS 2 by photograjph  :thumb71425460:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconscrotorr:
Scrotorr Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
Great article Halohid, well done. I organize twice weekly life drawing sessions here in Amherst, MA (a college town). After years and years of scheduling models, I always remind myself that an atmosphere that's very normal for the participating artists is a whole new bag for people posing for the first time, and requires a lot of thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards models/muses. I'm always intrigued to read the ideas/observations of people who've worked on both sides of the easel (or lens in your case), and there's always more to learn!
Thanks again for a good read!
Pax,
Sean
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
Hi Sean and thank you! I'm delighted you liked it!

I modeled for a life drawing class once and to me it felt very different to being a photographic model. It was made easy by just how regular it was for the people involved. In a way, its much easier to model for a group than a single person. The time I went, it happened to be someone's birthday so at the end we all ate cake. They were a beautifully welcoming group. I think provided you pick the right people to model, it can be as simple as creating a happy, non-judgemental atmosphere, providing some heating and just treating it as a very normal event.

I hope the classes continue to go wonderfully! Life drawing is such an outstanding thing.
xHalohid
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:iconmacsimage:
MacsImage Featured By Owner May 8, 2011
As a sport photographer i would like to try some nude work i have done some weddings and racing events , Helpful article
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
Thank you! Glad it helped!
Reply
:iconlethargicpoison:
lethargicpoison Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009
Wonderfully written, and a great help! I just contacted a local artist about some nude photo shoots, so it's great to get this advice before I make a final decision! :)
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:iconmassalo:
massalo Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009   Photographer
articles like this are what makes this place great..thank you :)
Reply
:iconspectralband:
spectralband Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article....wish I'd known about before i started dabbling in nudes...would've saved me some stress.

Still haven't branched out beyond taking figure and landscape nudes of my wife but I hope to soon.

My advice (to save someone the same mistakes I've made) is to 1) work with your wife/girlfriend/partner first, as long as they are willing. The fact that you've seen her without clothes removes some of the tension between the two of you (but not all of it!) so you can concentrate on the shoot. 2) have a CLEAR and focused idea of what you want. After a few hit/miss studio sessions with my wife and trying to do TOO MUCH in each session, I started gathering some figure photos of specific poses and simply worked on that SINGLE pose/lighting until I got it right...and then moved on to the next pose.

We've now left the "safe" studio environment and are trying our hand at some landscape nudes. Again it was a matter of staying focused and not trying to do too much, as if this was our only chance at outdoor nudes.

One mistake I made last time was that I had a particular pose in mind from a photo that I showed my wife before we went out in the wild. When we got there, I remembered the shot one way, she remembered something quite different...and she was correct (as usual) once we got back home to view it again! It was then I learned the lesson...upload some example photos to your iPhone/smartphone so when you're on location, you can just pull up some sample photos and go to work. NEXT TIME I'll try and remember that!

Regards,
Terry
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:icondavidroman:
davidroman Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2009
cool tips! Can't wait to work with the next model!!
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:icontheharlequinsmask:
TheHarlequinsMask Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2009  Professional Photographer
I hadn't seen this before. Well written article! :clap:
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009
Thankyou! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Reply
:iconcobragfx:
CobraGFX Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A lot of this is true even for non-artistic-nude photographers, i'm sure. If somebody is uncomfortable in front of your camera, chances are they won't be back.
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:iconmaelyauna:
MaelYauna Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
Reply
:icont-a-r-a:
t-a-r-a Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2009   Photographer
This news link helped me as well thank you.
Reply
:iconkittythievery:
KittyThievery Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009  Student Digital Artist
This was so helpful. As I was thinking about progressing towards shooting nudes this makes me a little less nervous!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009
Fantastic! I'm glad it helped! They can be intimidating but, at the same time they are a lot of fun, very rewarding and you learn so much. Best of luck!
Reply
:iconkittythievery:
KittyThievery Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009  Student Digital Artist
Thanks so much!
Reply
:iconazevinho:
azevinho Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009   Photographer
What a great read!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009
Thankyou! Hope it helped!
Reply
:iconsynthetamine:
Synthetamine Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
"On the day that you plan to shoot nudes, still take your time: work through some clothed sets first."

I disagree with this. I HATE seeing ' progressively more nude' shoots, even more so when I am sorting through my own images. If you need to get the model more comfortable in this way, set the camera to make shutter click sounds without saving images (no film in cam, not writing to the memory card).
Reply
:icondonotattempt:
DoNotAttempt Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2009  Student General Artist
When I first modelled nude, it was for my classmate in my Black and White I class, for our finals. It was scary, at first, especially because I was modelling with her extremely attractive friend (male). After several minutes, I felt really relaxed and by the end of the shoot, I felt so excited and confident and sexy. It's a really awesome experience. I wouldn't have modelled for a stranger, as that would have been stupid and terrifying. Since our finals, I've been excited for our winter break to be over, to get back to art school and model for more photographers. :D
Reply
:iconjeffmedina43:
jeffmedina43 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008
I agree with everything in this article.When I went to the Brooks Institute,my first model was an LAPD officer that was moonlighting as an art model.I was more nervous than her.Fine art modeling is a fine edge that should be always be approached cautiously,with tact and finesse.Ive shot many after the first one,but new models still make me more nervous if Ive never worked with them.ALWAYS CONDUCT SESSIONS LIKE A PRO!!!!!!! Also,I keep a small video camera running at all sessions to cover my ass.Always make sure that the model is aware of this.It has to be legal. If a model wants an escort,let them have one.If one cant be found,find one yourself.It is a small very important courtesy to give them so the shoot can go smoothly.Just make sure poses are discussed so there are no surprises.Also,explain the model release if they cannot understand it.A professional will answer whatever the model needs to know.
Reply
:iconwanoah:
Wanoah Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008
This was a good read. This is a category of photography that I'd love to have a go at someday - gotta try everything at least once - but I have to admit that the very idea of it terrifies me. Obviously, it's _more_ nervewracking to be getting your kit off, but still, being on the other side of the camera seems like a fairly scary prospect. I just have so much admiration (and a measure of envy) for people that achieve great things in this area.
Reply
:icontishidelishi:
tishidelishi Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2008
This was a good article. Especially about being a first time model and moreso nude model.
Reply
:iconniansa:
Niansa Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2008
i wish one particular tog had read this...he thought it was appropriate to touch my chest! :noes: i was devastated and went straight home and cut all of my hair off :(

bad tog!! :shakefish: listen to missy Halohid!!!
Reply
:iconpoisonedpure:
PoisonedPure Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
you know doll, i really do wish that some art nude photographers out there take the time out of their busy schedules to read this as it is all too true. I am resounding Harmony's comment that it may have saved a hell of a lot of people out there a great deal of grief if only they had this knowledge to fall back on.

Sure you are still going to get burned from time to time in any line of modelling or photography but it really is a hell of a lot of common sense. Be respectful of your model as even with clothes on it can be a harrowing experience doing something for the first time and with someone completely new to you. There is a hell of a lot of trust involved with this industry. Be professional.
Reply
:iconspawncastillo:
SPAWNCASTILLO Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2008
thanks for sharing these advices. I'm really thinking to shoot nudes, and i rind a lot of information here n your guide. Thanx again!
Reply
:iconmarkbraybrook:
markbraybrook Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2008   Photographer
I just finished reading your article, I found it interesting and a good read even though I'm not a nude photographer it was insightful. I like how you emphasize 'If you do not produce good art together clothed, it is doubtful that you will be able to produce it nude.'
I hope you write more related articles like these!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Thankyou very much! I may write another at some point, we'll see!
Reply
:iconshraka:
Shraka Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Good article Fleur! Although I believe I have broken a few of these rules (I think the first time I did a shoot with you, it was a nude shoot).

I'd also suggest small amounts of alcohol is a good way to get your model to loosen up and be comfortable!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Yes, my first shoots as a model were nudes with you so I didn't really follow my own rules. They are the sort of rules you establish in retrospect really. Mind you, for the favourite clothing shoot at *TeamHyphenPants, we were shooting 25 different models, each with a 15 minute time slot so there was certainly no time for working up to nudes. This was when rules like starting with back turned and giving them a prop really, really helped.

Thankyou sir. Would you mind not using my real name in future? I'm trying to keep it to just Halohid for privacy reasons. Thanks, ducky.
Reply
:iconshraka:
Shraka Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2008  Professional Interface Designer
Okay. Doesn't look like I can edit my first post to change that. Doh.
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Haha, that's all good. My name ended up all over this one any way.
Reply
:iconmehmeturgut:
mehmeturgut Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2008
Thanks for the feature . . . :)
Reply
:iconwhistfilledsmiles:
whistfilledsmiles Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2008
Thankyou! :D I wish all photographers were REQUIRED to read that before even THINKING about art nude. :D I would love for you to write one about what to say when saying no to photographers...thats one of the hardest parts about being an art nude model!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2008
Thankyou! I am glad you appreciated it. Unfortunately, I am still trying to work out how to say no to photographers. Charging a lot is a good start. It scares off the Guys With Cameras factor.
Reply
:iconwhistfilledsmiles:
whistfilledsmiles Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2008
haha yea...thats the only one that i have found to work easily...but i dont like doing it...and sometimes people are willing to pay it too...thats a bit scary :P
Reply
:icongaborcinus:
GabOrcinus Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2008  Professional Photographer
Great article Fleur, I kept nodding all through it. Only thing is that I do touch models (with permission) when it's easier to move a head, leg or arm myself than to direct her.

This should help a lot of people who are on the fence about starting out as nude models or photographers.

Grats... G. =)
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Thankyou! I try to avoid touching but provided you have permission, I suppose... *koukei runs classes in how to communicate with models and he does one demonstration where he walks up to the model and puts him arm over her should. Despite having told her that he would do it during the class and despite it being a model he had worked with a lot, you can always see the tension suddenly increase in their body.
For this reason, I tend to not touch them very much but I wrote in this article only to avoid touching them without first asking permission. It all comes back to just being respectful.

Also, would you mind referring to me only as 'Halohid'? I am trying to keep my name off of the internet for privacy reasons.
Reply
:icongaborcinus:
GabOrcinus Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2008  Professional Photographer
Ah, apologies for that. I didn't realize you had taken out your name from your page until now. Halohid it is.

G.
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:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2008
That's all bonny! It will take a while for the habit to catch on. :D
Reply
:iconlauriek:
lauriek Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2008
A well written article.
Good advice in there for both newbs & experienced photogs & models alike.
Reply
:iconphotograjph:
photograjph Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2008
Yay, well done :clap: - I finally got my ass into gear and read every word, and it was well worth it!! Nicely put, covered the issues, great advice!! :hug: :D
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2008
I had been wondering if you had read it. Glad you liked it, sir. Now, join in the note discussion with Morgana as to when we can meet up!
Reply
:iconfotoasylum:
fotoasylum Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008
Great stuff Halohid!!! As a shooter with a few first time nudes under his belt
I cannot agree more with all you had to say. As it appears so does everyone
else.... good for you Miss Halohid.
Reply
:icondeltamoo:
DeltaMoo Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008   Photographer
Couldn't agree more with everything you said, Fleur. Although I haven't had an opportunity to do any artistic nude shoots, everything you outlined felt like good old common sense.

And, unfortunately, common sense isn't always quite that common...

I mean, 'specializing' with new models? Icky. Gross. Eeewww. Can't believe there are folks like that out there.

Anywho, lovely writeup. Keep up the great work!
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2008
Yes, those folks are out there who specialise in them. There are few things which make me angrier.

Would you be able to avoid calling me by me name on DA? I am trying to keep it to just Halohid for purposes of privacy.
Reply
:icondeltamoo:
DeltaMoo Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2008   Photographer
Oh, of course. My bad.
Reply
:iconms-forks:
Ms-Forks Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Great advice. Well written :)
Reply
:icondalaiharma:
DalaiHarma Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008  Professional Photographer
I finally had a chance to sit down and read through this, thankfully because =believe-hope poked me in the cyberribs and reminded me of how slack and absent minded I have been of late :D
My bad :blushes:

I cannot say how absolutely spot on you are with this hun. It's not only well written, it's very clearly thought out, laid out, and easy to follow. Not to mention common sense, but god forbid we assume people have that these days.
I won't go into details but a lot of this rung true, both as a model and as a photographer, and had me quietly kicking myself and thinking back to my experiences both in front of and behind the lens and how much I would change/be more aware of had I known beforehand.

I would happily direct anyone looking at getting into Artistic Nude modelling to this article. I only wish it was around earlier for some of us :aww:

:clap:
Reply
:iconhalohid:
Halohid Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2008
Thankyou lovely Harmony! I am delighted you approve! It took me such a ridiculous amount of time to put together but I'm so happy with how it worked out. Thankyou!
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