A couple of articles a ago we spoke about finding a nude model to work with. The only additional advice i can give, is also trying Facebook groups. There are hundreds of photography groups all around the world where models and photographers go looking for either work (models) or looking for models (photographers). Some groups are more active or better run than others. Eventually you will find one that fits your needs.
Once you have found a model to work with, what do you do next? it is very important to have a photo shoot prepared before you start a photo shoot. Possibly even before you book a model. Get an idea of what idea, theme or style you want to photograph. Make a list of props or items needed to achieve the look you are after. Ask the model (if you have one booked) as most good models have a lot of props already. Things like shoes, accessories, lingerie and so on. You will be surprised how well stocked good models are.
Once a model turns up to a photo shoot, sit them down and explain in better details what you wish to achieve. Show examples of photos if you have any. (usually better to send photos to the model before hand to help them prepare). If the photo shoot is nude, make sure the model understands what level of nudity they are expected to do, BEFORE you book the model. Never surprise the model on the day and never book a model who is not prepared to pose to the level of nudity you are after. Doesn’t matter how pretty she is or how much you want to work with THAT particular model, it will end badly trying to get a model to pose nude when she doesn’t want to.
Send examples of the photos you want to do, to the model so they fully understand what you have in mind. Have a look at a models portfolio and see what work they have done in the past. If their portfolio is full of implied nudes, then don’t expect them to do explicit open leg work. it just won’t happen. if you have worked with the model over many months or even years and the model is very comfortable with you and trusts your work, she might agree to go up a level or two. I state MIGHT. There is no guarantee and some models might get offended at the suggestion. it will vary from person to person and what you have in mind. always be clear honest and open about what you do or have in mind in any communication.
Be prepared that some models might not want to work with you. You see a model, they do art nude work, their portfolio is full of art nude work, exactly the style you wish to achieve. You contact the model and she doesn’t reply. Or she replies but says she doesn’t wish to work with you. My advice…move on. Some models are too busy and fully booked, in which case contact them again later, incase they get a lull in their work. Others are called “art nude snobs” and will only shoot with specialist art nude photographers who have a specific reputation in a specific genre. Hey that is life. Instead of getting offended and replying with a nasty letter, just move on. Think on it this way, it shows that they are not the type of person you would have had a good working relationship with anyway. You would not have gotten good result, and they might even cause headaches sometime down the track. Just move on. Plenty other models looking for work.
If a models asks if she can bring a friend or partner along, then let them. I have never had any issues with chaperones, mainly because I have always conducted myself in a professional manner. If you are a professional photographer (or want to be one) chances are you have or will have to work in front of people or groups of people. Whether it be on a set or even photographing an event or a wedding. you will be in the public scrutiny and it is something you will have to get used to. Having a chaperone there is no different. Some partners enjoy seeing their girlfriend being photographed, others are very helpful and will help with applying oil to the models body or holding a reflector.
Yes there are stories that photographer say they had an issue with a partner. Without knowing the full story, there might be a reason why that happened. Maybe the photographer said something inappropriate, or maybe just the partner was a jerk. No one but those present on the day know the actual truth. As i said, in all the years of photographing nudes (and that is all i do now), I have never had any issues with a partner. Well once I did have a partner storm out of the studio when their girlfriend got undressed for the nude part of a portfolio shoot, but it turned out that they have had relationship issues before hand and weeks later she was a single gal.
Yes some partners will give their two cents worth in advice, just listen politely, nod your head in agreement and just do what you were going to do anyway. Sometimes they might just have a great idea, so never dismiss things out of hand or be too proud to listen to someone else. Some really good ideas came from models or their partners.
Always give a model a place they can get changed. Yes a model is going to pose nude, but give them a place to get changed, especially if it is their first time or you have never worked with that model before. I work with many models and some of the models I have been working with for years on a regular basis. Those models have become so comfortable with me, and I with them, that they just turn up, don’t even bother going to a change room, and just get undressed on the spot and throw their clothes on a nearby couch or chair.
Never stand and stare at a model getting undressed. It can be creepy and make the model feel uncomfortable. I usually am doing last minute checks on camera or lighting anyway, and casually chat with the model catching up on the latest gossip since we last met.
It is usually not a good idea to ask a model to get undressed, then start setting up lights or props, leaving the model standing totally nude with nothing to do. It is not professional and the model maybe cold.
If you can afford it, supply a hair/makeup artist for the shoot, to help the model look her best. it gives the model confidence you know what you are doing and will actually help the model look her best, which will make your photos look much better as a result. Some models are very skilled at doing their own, especially experienced models, but don’t rely on that. Most models unfortunately can’t do anywhere near as good a job as a good makeup artist can.
Which leads me to makeup artists. There are good ones, there are average ones and there are terrible ones. Keep trying out several makeup artist, till you find one that is reliable, affordable and does a really professional job. Don’t worry if you don’t know the difference. A model does and she will tell you if she loves the look or hates it. I have two makeup artists who have had 90% of model compliment their work. You can’t make everyone happy.
Also make sure the model turns up to all nude photo shoots, without a bra or underpants on. make sure they wear loose fitting clothing only, to avoid pressure marks or bra marks on their skin. These pressure marks are unsightly, take a lot of time and effort to remove in photo editing software, and are very easy to avoid in the first place. If they did wear underwear to the photo shoot, as them to remove it and put on a robe. It usually takes about an hour for pressure marks to go. That is where a makeup artist is handy. It usually takes about an hour for a good makeup artist to do both makeup and hair. So while the model gets her hair and makeup done, those pressure marks will be all gone by the time she is ready to pose.
Now that you are both ready to begin, the next step is posing a nude model, which we will discuss in the next chapter.