Welcome to this Artistic Light Podcast. Podcasts dedicated to creators of artistic nude photography. I am your host, Andrew Anderson.
Photography is my passion, especially the artistic nude.
In this episode, I’m going to discuss working with nude models and specifically what happens during the photoshoot.
My Milanote Example: https://app.milanote.com/1N6HJf1J7hClas?p=F3ipcNSEJYL
The Artistic Light Podcast is created by Andrew Anderson www.artisticlight.com
The Artistic Light Podcast is created by Andrew Anderson www.artisticlight.com
Welcome to the Artistic Light Podcast podcasts dedicated to creators of artistic nude photography. I'm your host, Andrew Anderson, and photography is my passion. In this episode, I'm going to discuss working with nude models during a photo shoot. Of course, most of these tips are equally useful for non nude photo shoots, but there are some specifics to a nude photo shoot that will be covered in the prior episode. I discussed what happens before the photo shoot. You might want to give a listen to it if you haven't done so already. Now you have the photo shoot coming. Here's some things you want to do. Make sure your studio, your team, and your model are ready. Contact everyone involved an hour or two before the shoot to confirm that everything is on track. Remind the model to wear loose fitting clothing. You don't want lines from belts, jeans, brass, et cetera.
I can't emphasize this enough and you need to emphasize it with your model. If they wear normal clothing, a bra, underwire bra, especially belt jeans, those leave marks on the body and they take hours for them to dissipate. And if they're on the model, she hasn't obeyed the instructions. You're going to spend a lot of time retouching those out. They're always going to be giving you a problem, and that's work you don't need and it can potentially lower the quality of the image. So make sure you remind your model to wear loose fitting clothing and tell her why it's important. Make sure your studio's warm. The last thing you want is a cold, noon model at least. Usually that's not a comfortable situation. Make sure the location's private, these people are going to feel nervous and insecure, and if people are walking around, they're visible from windows and it appears that there's no privacy, the model is not going to be comfortable.
Make sure you have lights and gear that you need. Your batteries are charged. Print the model release for the signature if needed. If you're not doing it electronically on a tablet or something like that, print the concept aboard if needed. Again, maybe you present that on a tablet or your computer, but you want to review that concept board with a model. So have it ready possible items to have available during the shoot and before the shoot here. Beverages, carrot sticks, vegetables model, something for the model to nibble on, but they're usually not wanting to get fat or nervous about their weight and everything, especially in nude photo shoots. So if you do have food, I'd recommend something healthy. That would be the definite trend. If there's even in nude photo shoots, you may be using certain pieces of clothing, lingerie, different scarves, things like that, and those don't always fit the way you want, especially for the photo.
So have available bobby pins, closed pins, safety pins, these kinds of things. Paper towels, tissues, tweezers, fingernail glue, clean, warm, comfortable robe for the model. Don't keep the robe in the refrigerator, make sure it's out and warm. Something to play. Music, Bluetooth speaker on your phone, Alexa device, whatever you need to do there. And so be ready. Have these things ready ahead of time. Organizing it when the model arrives, shows you're unprofessional. So just have these things ready and be prepared when the model arrives, greet the model. Try to be warm. Make any introductions if needed. If you're going to have a makeup artist or an assistant of some kind, make those introductions. Ask the model what music she likes and put it on and ask the model if she would like a drink, water, coke, et cetera. Then the first thing I usually do is sit down and complete the model release.
This is the most important thing. One, it's easy to forget, and two, why take a single photograph? If there's going to be an issue, you should have presented to her ahead of time so she reviewed it. You should have had discussions about what you're up to. But if you are paying for the photo shoot and these photos are yours and you want to use them in any capacity where they could be published, I'm going to really emphasize to have that model release and complete it first. If there's any questions the model has or she's not sure, now is the time to resolve that if not before, because you don't want to take photos, invest more time and energy and then have her be nervous and say, oh, she doesn't want to sign it. Make sure you get that done first. Pay the model. What I usually do, some people pay afterwards.
I pay the model right then and there after she's signed the release, I pay the model. So she's not worried. Not all photographers are ethical and sometimes they may not pay the model or at least the rate that they promised that they would. And so I like to pay the model right upfront after they've signed the model release to get rid of the business aspect of this deal. And the model then has confidence that she's going to be compensated and she's going to hopefully do her work, have the model change into a row at this point, the loose fitting clothing, again, whatever she's worn to the photo shoot, you want to have her in robes that the lines on the body disappear and you want her comfortable. It can be a big, nice fluffy robe, but have her change into that to make sure that she doesn't have any clothing that's constraining her body and creating marks on it.
Then sit down and review the concept board with a model and potentially your team if you have lighting assistance, makeup, et cetera. Review the concept of what you're about to do. What's the goal? What's the vision that you have here? Encourage other ideas with the model's participation, and you'll do this more even during the photo shoot, but a model. And you as the photographer are what really make the photograph. You have a vision, but that doesn't mean the model can't contribute to your creativity. She may bring ideas that you haven't thought of and that may happen during the photo shoot. Be open to it and accept it and welcome ideas and participation. It is a collaboration in many ways. Answer any questions the model has and communicate the sequence of wardrobe or location changes that might be going on. Turn the model over to the makeup artist or hairstylist if appropriate at this time, and put the model in a position for the first photo.
And here I usually, I just have 'em stand. I get the lights are hopefully set up the way I want and everything, but I have the model stand and I just take a picture to get the exposure. Correct. If you are working with paper signed releases, model releases, maybe you have her hold that in that first photo as making sure your contract is even more secure, that here's the model. She's holding the contract. There's no ambiguity. But what I want is to look at the lighting. I want to make sure, okay, usually I have a mannequin or something else or a friend stand in place and I get the lighting set up before that first photo for the first concept that I have. And that should get it out of the way. But the real model in position with the makeup and the hair, you want to check it, get it, and you want to show it to the model to say, okay, here's what we're going on. Here's the lighting, and hopefully it's nice and impressive and she likes it.
Then what you want to do is look at the model. If she's disrobing, if it's going to be a nude shoot here, the robe comes off at this point and you want to look for anything that may have been missed. Watches, for example, jewelry, necklaces, a lot of models right now, like these string bracelet kinds of things, all those are going to date it and take it. And unless that's part of your concept, you don't want any of that there because it's going to distract from the lines that you are trying to create and potentially, particularly watches and things like that. It's going to set a time for a fashion. And so 10 years, 20 years from now, you're going to look at that and say, oh, that's from then. And in my opinion, for most ideas in nude photo shoots, you are looking for classic figures.
You want to create an image that's timeless and you don't want things distracting and pushing a time onto the image if it's not part of your concept. Again, now that she's disrobed, you've checked everything hair is in place, take another photo, test the lighting, and then commence your photo shoot. And here you want to again, have music that's on. You want the model comfortable. You want to instill confidence in them and let them know that they are safe. You want to praise the model. I frequently will take photographs and when I see one I really like, I show it to them to try to get them to see what's happening, the vision that you're having and how it's transpiring to the camera. And you want them to relax and feel, oh, he's doing a good job. Or they start to gain confidence in you as a photographer.
And then they become more relaxed, things flow easier, and they start to contribute because they can see your vision and they see what's happening and they can bring then additional aspects to the photo shoot. So I take the photos, I encourage and praise the model all the time to let them know that they're looking good and doing a good job. If I need something to improve or change expression, do it in a constructive and positive manner. Now is not the time to be critical, cold and harsh with a model. It is not the right time. You want them to relax and to give you their best. Also, at the end of the photo shoot, I thank them. And how do you know it's the end? Well, do you have all your concepts in place or do you have your vision? And how is the model doing?
I have found that models fade after a period of time. If your photo shoot is more than an hour, be careful. Watch for the model. You'll start to see them tire, and that will translate in the images usually. So you want all the photos that are part of your vision, but you don't want to push it and have it go to an unproductive place when you have what you need. There's been some photo shoots. I've had what I need within the first 15 minutes. I may shoot a couple minutes more, but if I've got what I need, it's a waste of my time and the models to continue on. That's your choice. But depending on what your vision is and how you achieve it, it's not an issue of time. It's an issue of have you completed your vision? Again, praise the model when you're finished. Thank them. Give them the robe, let them go change. Answer any questions they have and end it with grace and professionalism. This person just presented themselves to you in a very vulnerable form. Thank them for that and respect and honor what they've done for you. And after that, you've got some photos to retouch, but that's another episode. I hope you have great success with your photo shoot, and I wish you the best.