Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Lighting the Nude

One of the styles of photography that I eventually want to get into is artistic nudes. No, not that skanky Hustler look or that overly lit Playboy style. Something moody, with depth and creativity. This is sort of a lead up into my big goal of doing edgy and risqué stuff ... fetish photography and the like.

I've been taking baby steps leading up to this. Mostly it's been learning to light and better understand the light. Then it was beginning to deal with models and getting comfortable with them AND working with the equipment at the same time. I'm still getting used to that. It's somewhat disconcerting: like juggling flaming pitch, a porcupine, and a running sawzall. Your hands are going everywhere, you're moving this way and that, you're jumping forward to adjust something, you're falling back to do something else. Lots of things to pay attention to.

Well, the next step in this for me is to learn more about the lighting nudes (in general). So, with that idea in mind, I was browsing the bookstore and came across two books on nude photography. The first one didn't impress me much. I don't even remember the name at this point. But, the second one, Lighting the Nude, caught my eye. It's filled with resulting pictures, the lighting diagrams behind the images, and a description of how the shot was taken. This stuff is right up my alley. I can pick apart many photos now, so it's interesting to see how some of these photos are built up.

The book is 448 pages, and is a collection of about 200 different images from various top photographers. Each chapter covers a different aspect of this style of photography, from props and posing to romantic and fetish. Each photo contains a breakdown of the lighting, positions of modifiers in reference to the model, the camera exposure and film type, as well as a short but concise write up by the photographer. Another thing it has going for it is that every photo I've seen in the book is done in a very tasteful way and I've gotten quite a few ideas for photographs I'd like to create.

Overall, very well done and recommended (if you can find a copy).

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