Build a hu­man body in­spired land­scape

Practical Photography (UK) - - The Human Body -

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 pur­ple­ or mod­el­may­ 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.


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