To grow and develop as a photographer you got to feed your inspiration, try new things, experiment and keep being curious. Finding your style, can take time: It is made up of your personality, preferences, experience and knowledge.
There are as many different ways to shoot nudity as there are bodies.
What is considered to be sexy with the body varies from person to person, from continent to continent and from time to time. As for the female body a lot of people would say breast and bottoms, followed by legs and the waist, but I have met people that find the neck, feet, diaphragm, ears, the back, sexual organ and shoulders the most attractive part of a female body.
Some like it model thin, some like it curvy, some like it very big, others prefer a strong athletic body. You can find people that gets off on bodies with amputated arms and legs, that want a lot of body hair, that prefer different coloured skins, with or without freckles. The body come in different, shapes sizes and colours…but if you think about it…it doesn’t really change all that much.
It’s funny, dogs for instance that comes in all types of colours, textures, shapes and sizes are often considered nice and cute no matter what. Or take a dolphin with a larger fin, smaller eyes or longer nose, is just as beautiful to us as an “average dolphin”. But when it comes to humans….the slightest variations can be interpreted as very ugly or very beautiful.
It might be good to pause and ask yourself what you would like to create, express, experiment with. Sexy, romantic, bold, graphic, documentary….there are many ways to portray the naked human body.
Get inspired from what some other photographers have done.
Hope you are inspired
Nude naked and undressed
How natural is it to be nude?
This photo tutorial actually came about as a response to all the male amateur photographers that have asked me how start taking nude photos, how to get hold of models. I also saw it as an opportunity to educate and help hinder future model abuse from photographers. I personally know and have met many booth male and female models that have been exposed to various degrees of abuse from photographers.
Before getting in to the hands on practical stuff I would like to get back to the basics and address some primary things that are not talked about at photo school or mentioned in the photo magazines. You need to first understand where you are coming from to be able to identify where you want to go and how to get there.
You have a huge responsibility as photographer, whatever level you are on. There are unfortunately a lot of photographers that inflict suffering and insecurities… and sometimes even sexually abuse their models…without even realizing it
By understanding yourself and your models better, you will be able to establish a relaxed atmosphere and a platform of trust, from where you can be infinitely creative…without hurting anyone.
Even though all of us start our journey here on earth naked, fact is that most people have a charged relationship to nudity. …Booth their own and others. It normally stems from the type of family, society and religion you had in your childhood and what type of experiences you had about nudity. A person that grew up in a nudist family will often have a far more relaxed attitude about nudity than a person that never saw a naked body in their childhood.
Huỳnh Công Út, known professionally as Nick Ut, born 1951 in French Indochina, took this photo of 9-year old Vietnamese girl Phan Thị Kim Phúc who was running toward the camera to flee a South Vietnamese napalm attack on the Trảng Bàng village during the Vietnam War, year 1972 . Despite the conservative times of the early 70-ties especially in the US…. The photo was at first rejected by an editor at AP (Associated Press) because it was showing a naked girl front on…..did not only made the headlines, it turned out to become of the most important photographs in photojournalistic history and has won the Pulizer Prize.
It shows that a great photo, no matter how shocking or provocative it might be, will at some point probably get recognized and accepted….maybe even praised, … if the cause/issue/subject is important enough and stirs enough emotions that is.
(Right after he took the photo he brought the girl to the hospital…she now lives in Canada and they are still in regular contact.)
Nudity can evoke a myriad of different feelings and associations in the observer
From freedom, joy, back to basics, feeling at one with nature to feelings of vulnerability, physical complexes and insecurities, to sexual feelings and fantasies. It can remind you of things forbidden, maybe suppressed feelings and desires or even fear and repulsion, sin and evil.
The sight of a naked female body often arouses sexual feelings in men and both sexes can easily appreciate the beauty of the female curves. As for women, the male body can often be perceive as unattractive, threatening or even funny in photos.
I can easily take flattering photos of any woman, but find it much more challenging to portray the male body in a way that I find attractive. Old fat and hairy is by many considered to be unattractive, but for my dear Brazilian male fiend (which I can mention is commonly regarded as very handsome by booth sexes) these type of men are the sexiest, most attractive and desirable…the bears!
Nudity is a powerful tool to get your message across, it always attracts attention.
Some peoplego about everyday life totally naked…like nudists/naturalists and certain tribes.
ATTITUDE, How do you feel about nudity in general? Are you comfortable being naked at home by yourself? What about being naked with your family, in front of your children or partner? In public change rooms and showers? Have you ever been to a nudist beach?
How would you feel being the only person naked surrounded by dressed people? For some it is a dream… for others a nightmare.
How do you feel when you are dressed in front of a naked person? Uncomfortable, comfortable, aroused, in control, powerful, or wanting to also get your clothes off?
Think about how your upbringing has affected your view on nudity and sincerely ask yourself if you have a healthy and relaxed relationship to nudity. It’s ok if you don’t…most people don’t, but to be aware of it is the first and most important step. Once you know that you have an issue with nudity, you can work on improving it and start from where you are actually at.
INTENTION, Once you have identified how you feel about nudity and your thoughts about and relationship to it, you can then start to ask yourself why you want to take nude photos. Be as honest as possible even though it might be hard to discover that what you really feel and think deep down, doesn’t always correspond to how you want to to be…or the idea that you and others have about who you are.
RESPONSABILITY, Everyone has their story, their background, issues and hang-ups. What you might think is fun and exiting can be uncomfortable to your model. You might get sexually aroused while your model gets scared or disgusted. Be as open and transparent with your model as possible when planning the shoot and always check with him/her that they understand what you want and if he/she is comfortable with it. Show photos for your model during the shoot so that he/she knows what’s going on and can see how it’s turning out. I always try to create as a relaxed and safe environment as possible, keep showing them what the photos look like and making sure that they are comfortable. Many of my models have asked to take their clothes off themselves, without me having asked them, because they feel comfortable, like how the photos turn out and would like to have some nice nude photos of themselves. For most of my nude models it was their first time naked in front of a camera.
I will round it up for this time, hope I got you to reflect a bit…or a lot.
I have found that most skin retouching tutorials on the web are overdoing it. I know that many people like the skin looking totally flawless, plastic and artificial. That look is commonly seen in magazines and adverts now days, but most clients want a result that looks real.
If you, like myself, want a more natural looking result, instead of the totally smooth but obviously fake effect, where you can’t tell if the skin has been retouched…this is for you.
Here’s an easy, visual, Photoshop tutorial that will take you step by step through the process of evening out the colour and texture of the naked skin as well as some slimming and toning….all with a natural looking result, leaving the water drops on the model intact.
If you don’t have photoshop allready or would like to upgrade…visit: www.adobe.com/products/photoshop they have free trial versions as well
www.photoshop.com check out for more tutorials, info and tips
I think the photos are pretty self explanatory, however you are more than welcome to post questions if there’s something unclear.
A drawing tablet (also called a graphics pad ordigitizing tablet) is recommended for precision and ease of work. I use Wacom
Duplicate your background layer
Choose Liquify under the filters menu
I chose the warp tool and started pulling in the belly a bit
Masking the arm before retouching the double chin
I used again warp tool to pull in the duble chin
removed the mask
and started to reduce the underarm fat
then the clone stamp to further slim the waistline
I used the healing brush to fix the foilage in the background, leaving the area closest to the skin untouched. Of course this is much easier if the background is white or in one colour….then it is easier to do it all in liquify
then the dodgetool to brighten up the shadows made by the belly
then picked the brush tool and copied the colour around the areas that I would like to brush in. Keep updating the colour to blend in as much as possible, in every new area that you are woring on
you need to use a soft brush and with low opacity, it’s better to use a low opacity and paint over many times. I was careful to only brush a bit on the areas without water drops
I copied the layer and continued to brush in a more even skintone
be careful not to overdo this part
changed the opacity to se where the water drops had been, then picked the eraser and erased over each drop. Be careful not to erase outside the waterdrop
flattend the imaged, saved it and done!
If you only look at the right photo it looks natural, but if you look at the left you see the difference. Very useful for non commercial portraiture…in particlar for pregnant women that want to look natural with the big belly, but most often prefere not to show their extra chilos on their legs, arms, butt etc.
if you can show that you can do this to your photos to future clients, you might find it easier to find nude models…people in general tend to be vain and want to look as good as possible when they have their photos done
I did a fairly quick job just to show what is possible. It is far from perfectyly done and if I would have done it for a client I would have spent more time making it look perfect….but still natural,
I just recently took some photos of my beautiful Sicilian friend Ida (and proud husband and father Nehnad) just 3 days before she gave birth to a gorgeous little girl.
Check it out!
And then, check out some other beautiful women with big bellies