Some Tips to Photograph Great Nude Portraits
Nudes are an important part of content creators' activities. Photographing a good nude portrait is an artistic process and it should be treated like that.
We are going to give you some tips. If you are a good photographer in general terms, then you will be doing better by following some simple suggestions. Here we go!
Learn How to Use Your Current Gear
As we stated in another article, you shouldn't buy a new camera. The tricky part here is knowing what you have and how to use it.
Nowadays, even cell phones can take pretty good portraits. Again, the key is knowing your gear. Let's start by knowing the technical specifications of your current year. If you own a camera, this is pretty easy, regardless of the type of camera the lens has some inscriptions with that information; for mobile phones, this is more difficult, we suggest you go to https://www.gsmarena.com/ and look for the specs.
After you get the specs, let's review some:
If your camera has a wide aperture (f/1.x, most mobiles have f/1.7) you will be able to take photos where the first plane could be very sharp and the background out of focus. If you hold a bridge camera (the ones that have the lens attached) you won't be able to do too much with it. If you have a mirrorless or DSLR camera (you can change the lens) you will be able to do pretty great stuff. Since the wider the aperture, the more expensive the lens is, we do recommend you to find a prime lens with an f/1.8 aperture. For example, the 40mm f/2.8 or 50mm f/1.8 lenses are pretty affordable and very useful.
So the rule of thumb, the wider the aperture, the more blurry the background. There are other effects you can do with a big aperture, such as the boken effect, we will discuss that in another publication as this could be a more of a advanced subject.
If you are not into photography, the focal length is also called zoom. It is not a zoom, but people confuse it. Technically speaking, the focal length is the distance between your lens internal mark and the capturing sensor of your camera. The focal length plays a very important role when doing photos.
A short focal length will allow you to take photos covering a great area, a long focal length allows you to take photos of very far subjects.
So, this may drive you to the following question: What focal length should I use? There is no direct answer, but let's try to answer.
- For one-person portraits, many photographers like to use 50mm or 85mm lenses. So, if your nude portrait involves one person only, maybe it is a good idea to use one of these two focal lengths.
- For outdoor photography where you want not only to show people but the background, many photographers like to use 24mm or 40mm lenses. If you are doing nude photography, let's say in a waterfall (where it is important to show where you are), take one of these focal lengths.
If you only have a cellphone, you can not change the focal length. You may use the digital zoom of your camera (remember a digital zoom trend to pixelated the image) or you just move closer or away from your model.
Know your Light
Right lighting could make the difference between an 8-grader photo and a professional one. So, let's work with what we have: natural light, a bulb and maybe a camera flash.
Lights are classified as strong and soft. The big difference between a strong and soft light is the kind of shadow they produce. If there is a strong shadow edge line that makes a difference where it starts, then we say it is a strong light; if the shadow edge is not sharp, then we say the light is soft.
Unless you do a hard light on purpose, your default for good nude photography will be a soft light. You can generate soft lights by putting a curtain on the window or a cover on the light bulb.
Again, let's work with what we have. This is a very advanced subject, so we will try to simplify it here. Play with your light, usually, a 45-degree angle will give you very good lightning. However, it really depends on what you want.
Corners are very useful, especially white corners, they help to bounce back the light and soft some undesirable shadows. We show you some basic one-light setups.
Make a Plan
This could be seen as a little one, but the truth is it is a big deal. Lookup some poses you would like to do before you start shooting your nudes. Some poses won't be possible to shoot by yourself, you will need someone to take them. Pinterest is a good source to find inspiration:
You do not need to be explicit when shooting nudes, sometimes letting the imagination do its work is better.
You can also use props. Big stuffed bears, not fully wearing a shirt, a towel. Use your imagination.
If you do not feel comfortable showing your face, you can use your hair to cover it, a prop such as mask or move your face to the side. It is better than chopping the photo.
Black or White?
Photos in full colour are not always the best option for nudes. It really depends on what you are doing. Artistic nudes are really nice in white and black photography. If you want to play it sure, shoot in full colour, later with your favourite image editing software you can change it.
We look forward to seeing what you do with our tips!