Recruiting Tip #1
I’m often asked how I’ve convinced so many women to pose nude. The answer is: I don’t. There is no need to. The women I photograph are willing to pose nude before they even know I exist. The first nude shoot I did was a total surprise to me. The model just took her clothes off and stepped in front of my camera, ready to model. She simply assumed I wanted to photograph her nude.
The fact is, plenty of women want to pose nude for photographers, so you don’t have to convince them to. Not only have I photographed plenty of nude models, but they’ve shared with me their reasons for choosing who they pose for.
Some ideas to think about:
- Almost all women who are comfortable with their appearance will enjoy being photographed.
- The vast majority of the above women would be interested in posing nude at least once in their life.
- Almost no woman would pose for something she considered truly embarrassing.
The observations above are based on my experiences and conversations with models. The notion that would surprise most readers is the second one. Among women who are physically fit, highly attractive, and enjoy being photographed, most would be confident enough and interested in posing nude one or more times in their life. The key concept is that they would do it at least once. So what about the rest of their lives? The times that are not one of those times they wanted to pose nude? Consider that women who model are being approached many times to pose nude; they sometimes say yes and other times say no. Although you don’t have to convince someone to pose nude, most models are discriminating about for whom they pose. You have to convince the model that you are worthy of working with.
Many women, many styles of nudes
Another reason a woman won’t pose is if she doesn’t feel attractive. Either she’s never felt confident enough to pose nude or she doesn’t feel attractive because of some temporary reason. Temporary reasons can come and go quickly or they can last a long time. For instance, if a would-be model is experiencing a problem with her complexion, she might avoid posing all together. It’s not that she doesn’t normally feel up to posing; but rather, her resistance is just temporary.
Sometimes external factors, such as what others may think of them, come into play. This could be judgment from religious people or family, or the envy of friends, for example. Worrying about the opinions and judgments of others is based on her self-confidence and feeling attractive. Many models are confident enough not to care that others may be judgmental or envious of them. Sometimes models are relieved to discover that their family or friends are supportive of their aspirations to model nude. Other times, they just choose to follow the beat of their own drum. This transition is usually a one-time event; once a model comes into her own and decides to pose nude, she has come to terms with outside opinions. So finding someone willing to pose nude is easier if you can find a model with nude experience.
Sometimes, a woman doesn’t know she’s ready to pose nude until she sees a fantastic image and is inspired to pose for a similar photo. Sometimes the image she sees is mine; sometimes it may be yours. In that case it’s likely she’ll seek out the specific photographer in hopes of getting the results she wants. Maybe it’s a sexy image or maybe it’s not sexy at all; maybe it’s deeply artistic or maybe it’s downright shocking. Different women don’t always agree on how they want to be photographed. A model’s self-image will not always fit with your assumptions of her, so you need to ask and listen. One woman may say yes to posing for sexy pin-ups and no to posing for more modest, artistic nudes. The point is your model imagines herself in the final image and that’s why she chooses to pose. However, if the model doesn’t think you can create the image or listen closely enough to her to understand her point of view, then she won’t pose for you. Hiring is a two-way street. Both employer and employee must have a common goal.
Having a varied portfolio can really help in this department. Stack the deck in your favor by showing a variety of your favorite nude styles in your portfolio. Remember your portfolio is intended to showcase the kind of images you want to continue to create. This will help recruit models that are amenable to your style and genre.