Photographing Nude Models : 201

We have all heard the stories and warnings about creepy photographers. Guys With Cameras (GWC), perverts, abusers and manipulators. I have seen public posts, forums, Facebook pages dedicated to model safety, and even parodies on TikTok. Good. We have some sick puppies out there and in a community with no specific regulations, working with freelance models, clients and amateur models, there will be individuals who take advantage of the lack of consequence.

There are photographers who just want to take photos of pretty people. Those who enjoy the company of young pretty people as well as the photographic task. Those who worked out they can hire women who will remove their clothes and have pictures taken of them. Those who enjoy photography as a hobby and prefer to work with women, preferably nude.

Then there is a bit of a trap for photographers. Let’s say I am taking good photos and have worked with nudes. I would like to earn some money from my time consuming ‘hobby’. The best way to earn money is to sell your images or become a shooter for hire. The best selling images on the pay-sites or image selling sites seem to be erotic or porn. So, as a photographer wanting to make money, I veer towards this genre more. The more erotic or vivid, the higher the sales. Now what do I want to shoot?

These are things I have heard about as a photographer.

  • Take shots in between poses to get great candids (and to catch more of the model as they shift position)

  • Having a second camera as a spare (which is video recording the shoot unknowingly)

  • Turning off the beeps on their camera settings allows shots as the camera is by their side.

  • Take advantage of the power balance. I’m paying so I have the power.

  • Slowly push the limits as the shoot continues. Build rapport then push the boundary by asking for provocative poses.

  • Explain their images won’t be posted anywhere, they’re just personal practice.

  • Some photographers will sell sets privately and not have them posted anywhere.

  • I want it to look erotic but I will use shadow so you can’t see anything” Unless that shadow exists to your limits, be careful what will be added in editing.

Things to remember as a photographer working with talent (models, subjects, amateurs).

  • Full time models need photographers. You hire them and you are their customer. Remember we all have work personalities that are customer focused and service orientated. Don’t misread this as personal. If they do like you, you will know.

  • Don’t ask them to do something you won’t do in front of a camera. Seriously. Having this mindset creates a respectful boundary.

  • You hire a certain model because you can see them in your work and something about them is attractive. They will turn up, do their session and leave. You may have built up a great connection but leave it at the shoot. Same with all your subjects unless they’re friends obviously.

  • Don’t expect reciprocal support. You want to post your work and gain followers, support or clients. A model will only post images that support their portfolio or public image. Just because you worked together doesn’t mean they now need to promote you. That’s business.

  • Our brains are being bombarded by signals that biologically are signs of attraction. Smiles, nudity, provocative posing and cooperation can fool our brains. If you have a hard time controlling this, then this is not the hobby or profession for you.

  • Great photos capture a connection but don’t mistake that connection.

  • We can all judge inappropriate behavior after the fact and support models when they post about model safety but, we need to put the focus on teaching people how to act professionally.

  • I cannot stress this enough: What is your hobby is their job. This is your spare time, this is their workday as a professional model. For those less experienced subjects, this is an experience for them and they’re feeling very under pressure.

  • Watch your language. Don’t use terms that carry sexual connotations and use terms you may use when talking with your grandma. Legs, knees, hips, chest, shoulders, butt etc.

  • Occasionally a model, professional or not, will sign your release and do a shoot with agreed boundaries. The model may now change their mind about making the images public. If it was a paid shoot, a refund or buy-back could be the option but ultimately it’s on you and your conscience. Will this one shoot alter your goals as a a photographer?

  • Some personalities may feel a bit used. Professional models can be expensive and you are really just another shoot for them. They may not post your work together or like it as much as you do. If you feel this way, examine why you’re doing this.

  • Being published doesn’t matter anymore. Every model and photographer has heard people explain how they capture emotion or the ‘real you’. Every boudoir photographer is empowering women or just capturing the beauty of the feminine. Everyone is an artist and produces art. All of these are to some extent; true. However, examine your intent honestly. Try to avoid cliches in your bios. I am guilty of this.

  • I have tried to avoid gender here and inappropriate behavior can happen to anyone. I have heard of models using photographers for money or gifts. People using others happens on all levels and in all parts of life. It’s all down to consent but ask yourself whether this is attraction or is it compatibility? Truthfully, what are the odds you’re going to start hanging out together?

I know I’ve forgotten something and I haven’t covered “Working with Models” 101. Don’t touch, don’t leer, don’t touch, don’t be sexual, don’t touch. That’s basic etiquette.

If you want to add something, please do in the comments. Everyone reading can read your comments too!

When you have a relaxed professional model, they can give you a lot of themselves. It’s always up to them - how much they give you.

Cheers and I am rebuilding my Patreon with unseen edits, photographs and sets along with “How I Got The Shot” and an emphasis on image quality, content and exclusivity to that platform.