This article is for photographers who want to get the most out of a photo session with a nude model.
1. Begin with realistic expectations based on your experience, the models available to you, and your equipment. Expect that your work will evolve creatively and improve technically, but at a moderate pace as you learn and grow.
2. Make shooting arrangements with a model. Preferably choose someone who you’ve already met and who has experience modeling nude or at least has experience modeling.
3. Make sure the model understands specifically what you want to accomplish from the shoot. Show her samples of the kinds of images you want to achieve. Images speak volumes more than words can. Preferably these images are from your own work, but if you’re beginning you might want to use examples from magazines, etc. If you plan to publish or distribute the nude images, make sure the model understands and agrees to this.
4. Make your own notes about what poses, props, lighting, backgrounds, etc. you want to use.
5. Agree on a location for the shoot. Make sure to consider privacy for the model, climate control, and availability of electricity, natural light, or any other requirements for making your photographs. Make sure adequate backgrounds will be available at the location.
6. Agree on a time for the shoot. Make sure to consider time for travel, makeup, setup of equipment, or other preparations. Discuss preparation time with the model so she knows to allow enough time to arrive promptly.
7. When you meet the model at the shoot location, greet her and make sure she has everything she needs: a place to put her stuff, a place to check makeup and hair, water or other beverage, etc.
8. When you start shooting, begin with clothed shots to warm up. This is especially important if you’ve not worked with this model before, or if she’s not especially experienced with nude modeling. Progress slowly towards nudity to maintain the model’s comfort. Don’t progress too slowly, as this can be frustrating or seem silly to a model who is ready to pose nude.
9. Direct the model verbally; avoid physical contact and limit your proximity to the model especially when she is nude.
10. If your model is new to nude modeling, make the first nude shots side or back shots until she is comfortable with more revealing shots. There is no necessity to progress to more revealing shots unless both of you want to.
11. Keep shooting as you direct the model, even if the poses are not exactly what you want. This will help keep the model’s confidence up. Continue directing the model verbally and shooting until you see the poses you want.
12. Try a variety of poses. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep in mind that only the best shots need be used later. Refer back to your notes about what poses, backgrounds, light, props, etc. you want to use.
13. When you’re done shooting, have the model sign a release and get a copy of her government issued photo identification (including date of birth) if you plan to publish the images. Some photographers prefer to get the release signed before the shoot.