Build a human body inspired landscape
PHOTOGRAPHING THE human body in a unique way may seem like a tall order when it’s been so meticulously documented over the course of history. However, nudes with a twist are within easy reach, simply by experimenting with the art of the human landscape.
At its core, this technique is all about using your creative eye to craft a killer composition. You’ll need to direct your model into poses that simulate a rolling landscape, so you can frame up a shot that’s reminiscent of a scenic vista. You’ll want your image to retain just enough context so that the viewer has to take a second look.
Book a model
Finding a suitable model for this technique is essential. They will need to be perfectly comfortable with nudity, so the first thing on your agenda must be explaining exactly what it entails and what your vision for the shoot is. It might be helpful to have some example images that you can show them, so they can see exactly what it is you’re after. To find your model, search online at websites like purpleport.co.uk or modelmayhem.co.uk These websites are both free to access, but for full functionality they require a monthly subscription. However, we definitely wouldn’t recommend paying for the full service unless you’re planning on using it regularly.
If you’re feeling super experimental you might want to book an extra model as well. Two bodies will provide twice the amount of rolling hills and valleys, adding an extra surreal layer to your shot. However, if this is your first time shooting a bodyscape, it’s probably best to go for a simpler composition for now.
When directing your model ensure that you’re respectful at all times. You should never touch them to move them around, unless they’ve clearly given you permission to do so at the start of the shoot. In fact, it’s worth discussing what the model is or isn’t comfortable with before you even meet, as this will ensure that you’re both on exactly the same page.
Set up your lighting
You have two choices regarding lighting, and they really depend on your shooting setup. If you’re lucky enough to be working in a studio setting, then flash light is best. This is because continuous lights will struggle to give you the same brightness as flash. However, if you’re working in a less formal setting, you can still create a dramatic bodyscape using the light from a desk lamp.
Your two biggest problems will be the lamp’s colour temperature and brightness. There isn’t really a reliable way to attach gels to desk lamps, but changing your camera’s white balance to tungsten will adjust the temperature of your image, by casting a blue hue over your photo and returning the warm orange glow of the light bulb to a neutral daylight tone. To deal with the low light conditions of your desk lamp, you’ll need to push your ISO up. However, try not to exceed 1600 if you can.
Obsess over the details
As with many genres of photography, attention to detail is key when shooting bodyscapes. The most successful images will be those that don’t include any telltale body parts, such as hands, feet or facial features. You really want your viewer to second-guess what they’re looking at when they see your bodyscape image for the first time. The areas of the body you may choose to focus on instead include the shoulder blades, elbows, ribs and hips. These are all ambiguous body parts that your audience will have to re-examine in order to be able to understand what they’re actually viewing.
“SHOOT A NUDE WITH A TWIST BY EXPERIMENTING WITH A HUMAN LANDSCAPE...”