My First Photo Shoot with a Nude Model

note: This is a blog post about fine art nude photography.  While there is no pornography or erotic image on this page, you may not want to load it up at work.  Also, to see all my work with this model on flickr, you’ll have to sign in so they can verify that you’re old enough to see the photographs

Ballet

I’d been wanting to photograph a model for a long time.  I’d read that photographers often get together and rent out studio space to do so, but I didn’t know how to find it.  I did a few google searches in 2006 and couldn’t find anything so I gave up.  I’d also wanted to do nude photography since that time.  I even bought a book about techniques.  It all floundered for five years.  Then I heard on This Week in Photo about meetup.com.  There I found a group doing Boudoir Photography.  I joined them.  They were going to do a workshop at The Carriage House in DC.  So I joined that group.  And The Carriage House arranged for professional model Devonny Sandrick to be available.  At $125 for time with a professional doing fine art nude and getting a liberal model release in return, it was a great deal I couldn’t pass up.

Vulnerable

But once I’d put the deposit to reserve my space, I remembered that I’d never worked with a professional model before, much less a nude one.  How would I direct her?  What poses would I choose and what props could I use?  I got nervous about it.  So I did what I always do in such a situation, I made a list.  That would keep me from blanking out and forgetting what I wanted to do.  So I came up with some ideas and scoured flickr for inspiration.  In the end I figured I could always use my inexperience as an excuse.

Serpent

It turned out that my fears were unfounded. First of all, Devonny was a treat to work with.  She put me at ease and, like any good model (I’d watched others direct models before) she brought something to the table as well.  A good modeling session is a delicate dance between what the photographer thought he (or she) wants and what the model demonstrates she can do with the photographer’s idea.  It also helped that we each picked a different set design for our time with Devonny, which in turn further inspired us in different ways.  And, in the end, I had quite a few things on my list that I didn’t get to.  Time just went by too quickly.

Tension

Another interesting thing I noticed is that Devonny in front of the lens became an abstract representation of femininity that was mine to pose and shape.  In other words, I was afraid I would be distracted by the fact that there was a nude member of the opposite sex before me.  But it didn’t occur even for a second.  When I wasn’t photographing, I was admiring the forms and geometric shapes she was forming with her flexibility.  When I was photographing, I was examining how what she was doing meshed with what I was trying to accomplish for the pose and how to best communicate the image I wanted to capture on the camera’s sensor.  It probably helped that we were doing fine art nude photography – in other words using the cameras to accomplish the same goal as the Ancient Greek sculptors rather than erotic photography – which is meant to stir other types of emotions entirely.

Pouty

I went into the process not knowing if I’d enjoy it.  I came out definitely hungering for a chance to try it again.  I look forward to the next time I get to work with a model to further explore the female form and all the beauty God has endowed upon the fairer sex.

Triangle

Author: Eric Mesa

To find out a little more about me, see About Me

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