Beyond Boudoir: An Introduction to Nude Photography


An Introduction to Nude Photography

In nude photography the focus is on photographing the human body to create art. This can be in a studio or out in nature. Nude photography can be a touchy subject, which is why I originally chose to make this a newsletter only article. However, I have since changed my mind and decided that it shouldn’t be hidden away as a nude body isn’t something to be afraid or ashamed of.


The Difference Between Boudoir and Nude Photography

While boudoir can be done in the nude, it is not a requirement. In fact many women have boudoir sessions where they never get topless, even for implied shots where nothing will be seen in the final photos.


A secondary difference in boudoir and nude photography is the purpose behind the photos. While boudoir photos are done to help a woman show off her sexy side in an often intimate way and to help build her confidence, nude photography is all about showing off the beauty of the human body and using it to create art.


Nude Does Not Mean Erotic

Something I see often is when photographers and viewers confuse nude with erotic. Since viewers differ on what they consider erotic I focus on the intention behind the photo. If the point of the photo is to arouse the viewer then I consider that erotic photography. I’m not saying erotic photography can’t be artistic. Just that the intentions are different.


Will there be times a shot comes out slightly more erotic than you first thought? Sure and that’s ok. However, if you are serious about getting started with nude photography be sure you can shoot nude photos with out relying on erotic elements.


Focus on Posing, Composition, and Lighting

With nude photography, you won’t generally have an outfit to help draw the eye and add interest to your photo. As such you will need to make sure your posing, composition, and lighting are on point.

  • Posing: The human body is capable of amazing things and nude photographers take advantage of this fact often. Which is why you will see a lot of dancers and yogis as nude models.

  • Composition: Just because you have a nude body to help draw attention to your photo doesn’t mean you can get lazy with your composition.

  • Lighting: Both soft and hard lighting are used in nude photography. In fact bodyscapes are done exclusively using hard light.

Don’t Show Everything

An Introduction to Nude Photography

Just because it's nude photography, doesn’t mean you have to show everything. By keeping breasts and genitals hidden you can draw attention to the rest of the body and the art you are working to create.


Use Props Strategically

In the photo at the top you can see the model isn’t 100% nude. Using props and simple accessories strategically can highlight certain aspects of the photo. A common prop is a large brimmed hat that hangs low to help hide the face.


Keeping it Anonymous

In order to help draw focus to the art and not the model, a lot of nude photography is done with the model’s face hidden. This also helps to insulate the model from any unwanted attention if she isn’t a professional.


Final Thoughts

Nude photography as a genre can be quite rewarding if done right. Remember to keep these things in mind if you decide to try out nude photography yourself.


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