Learn to light the body led lights

Con­sider how light­ing will af­fect your nude im­agery for the best re­sults

Digital Photograper - - Artistic Nudes -

Af­ter per­fect­ing the pose, the next most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is light­ing. “Light­ing is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for artis­tic nude pho­tog­ra­phy. Light sets the mood, di­rects at­ten­tion to de­sired ar­eas and re­veals form in a flat­ter­ing way while hid­ing un­flat­ter­ing ar­eas. I have used many light­ing kits over the years, start­ing with an in­ex­pen­sive soft­box strobe kit, up to a four-light Pro­foto kit with tons of light mod­i­fiers. My cur­rent kit is four Hensel mono­light strobes with var­i­ous size soft­boxes, um­brel­las, grids, a beauty dish and a snoot. I also use a small con­stant light kit for shoots with a fast-mov­ing sub­ject,” ex­plains Parker.

You must think about light­ing your model not just in terms of il­lu­mi­nat­ing cer­tain parts of the body, but you need to be aware of the shad­ows too. Where the shad­ows fall is al­most more im­por­tant than where the light falls. You should be mould­ing the light and shad­ows around your model’s body, not mould­ing the model around the light.

“The light setup will dras­ti­cally change the at­mos­phere and the mood. Shadow can par­tially hide, or al­ter­na­tively light can ex­pose the model. It all de­pends on the mood and style that you want. Play­ing with light and shadow is what pho­tog­ra­phy ul­ti­mately re­ally is,” ex­plains Sch­mitz.

For nude pho­tog­ra­phy we’d al­ways rec­om­mend that you avoid shoot­ing with the light di­rectly in front of your model. This will fill in too many of the shad­ows and hide any in­ter­est­ing tex­ture and mus­cle def­i­ni­tion. Try to stick with side light­ing and back light­ing as these will al­ways give you more con­trol over the shad­ows and where they fall. Rim light­ing can be very ef­fec­tive as it will il­lu­mi­nate the edges and curves of the body, pro­vid­ing a glow­ing out­line.

Your aim should be to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing and flat­ter­ing shad­ows and not just to fill ev­ery­thing with light. Of­ten the parts of the body that are left in shadow cre­ate the most in­trigu­ing and sen­sual parts of the fi­nal im­age. There’s no need to show off ev­ery part of the body in ev­ery shot – you can leave some­thing to the imag­i­na­tion.

It’s not al­ways the case, but if your aim is to high­light the curves and smooth lines of a fe­male body, nat­u­ral win­dow light can be the most de­sir­able op­tion. It can be far less harsh than hard stu­dio light­ing, and when com­bined with some­thing like a sheer white cur­tain, it can be beau­ti­fully dif­fused and del­i­cate. Util­is­ing nat­u­ral light­ing can help with em­pha­sis­ing the raw na­ture of the nude hu­man body.

In con­trast to this, if your aim is to high­light mus­cle tone and struc­ture of a male body, you will prob­a­bly want to use a hard-light stu­dio setup in or­der to ef­fec­tively sculpt the shad­ows around the harsh lines and an­gu­lar shapes of the body.

Add creative shad­ows to your shots – the most com­mon way of do­ing this is to use a win­dow blind to cre­ate lines across the body, or to use a gobo with a stu­dio light to mimic this ef­fect. It is a great way of giv­ing the im­age a bit of an edge and also to cre­ate new lines and con­tours to lead the eye over the body.

“Most of my work is made us­ing only one light source,” says pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher Peter Nielsen (peter-nielsen. squares­pace. com). “As large a light source as pos­si­ble, placed close to the model. Most of the time dur­ing shoots is spent try­ing out dif­fer­ent poses and work­ing on light­ing po­si­tions. Some shoots take place in the homes of the mod­els, so I travel light, and of­ten use only speed­lights with a mod­i­fier. For me, the most im­por­tant aim is to get the light as soft and pleas­ing, while still keep­ing high con­trast and most el­e­ments hid­den in the shad­ows.”

“Light di­rects at­ten­tion to de­sired ar­eas

and re­veals form in a flat­ter­ing way”

Us­ing a con­tin­u­ous stu­dio light or LED is a great as­set for a nude shoot – it gives you com­plete con­trol of the light­ing. This

is be­cause you will be able to see ex­actly where the shad­ows will fall on your model be­fore you take the shot, which means you’ll be able to move the light and model to ex­actly where you want

them to be.

Use a gobo

You can use a gobo to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing shad­ows and high­light the con­tours of the model’s body

Stu­dio light­ing

Use harder light to em­pha­sise the lines and an­gles on the

male body

Above mid­dle

Pat­terns

this im­age by John gasca cre­atively uses a pro­jected lace pat­tern that ap­pears like tat­toos on the

model’s skin

Above Mould the

shad­ows

Utilise nat­u­ral win­dow light and shad­ows and use it to mould and high­light your model’s body

Right Back light­ing

nat­u­ral win­dow light

is a great way to softly light your nude model. the sheer cur­tain helps to dif­fuse the light

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