From lady to land­scape

Learn how to po­si­tion your lights and set up your cam­era for artis­tic nude pho­tog­ra­phy

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Plan the poses

Pos­ing plays a huge part here, per­haps more so than for any other type of por­trait. It helps to go into any por­trait shoot with a plan, and a few poses in mind, es­pe­cially when you have a nude sub­ject. Go through your ideas with the model be­fore­hand. They will usu­ally have some use­ful ideas too.

02 Po­si­tion your lights

Po­si­tion­ing the lights above, to ei­ther side, and just be­hind the model will light the edges of the fig­ure and plunge the front into dark­ness. Dis­tance has an af­fect on the hard­ness of a light, as fur­ther away its size is smaller in re­la­tion to the sub­ject, so the light be­comes harder.

03 Set the flash power

We used Pro­foto power packs for our lights. To hit on the cor­rect flash power, you could ei­ther use a light me­ter or just take test shots and ad­just the out­put un­til things look right. For even il­lu­mi­na­tion, set both of your lights to the same power, and have them the same dis­tance away.

04 Set the ex­po­sure

A good start­ing point for ex­po­sure is to set Man­ual mode with a shut­ter speed of 1/200 sec and an aper­ture of f/11 at ISO100, then take a test shot. If it’s too bright, close down the aper­ture or change the out­put of the flash. If it’s too dark, do the op­po­site – open up the aper­ture or in­crease the power.

05 Work the pose

Spend time work­ing the poses, making fine ad­just­ments to the limbs. The per­fect com­bi­na­tion of pose and light rarely hap­pens by accident. More of­ten than not it in­volves a good deal of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and plenty of test shots. Once you set­tle on a pose, work at it to per­fect the light­ing.

06 Con­vert to mono

Skin colours are of­ten lit­tle more than a dis­trac­tion with a fine art nude, so fin­ish off with a punchy black-and-white con­ver­sion us­ing Light­room or your pre­ferred post­pro­cess­ing soft­ware. Strip­ping out the colour helps to em­pha­sise the play of light across the form of the body.

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