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Simple approaches to nude photography are often the most rewarding. This is not unique to this field of work, but it is perhaps more true here than in other areas. Simple lighting, ideas, settings and props can all mean more rather than less in terms of the success of an image.

Nude with glassWe have seen that simple lighting, such as window light, can provide beautifully soft directional illumination for the figure. Even when used in isolation, without secondary sources or reflectors, it can provide everything needed. Alternatively, the soft illumination of the setting sun can be very effective. It bathes a model in warm light and the skin glows, particularly when tanned.

Simple ideas are also powerful. Have a few concepts clear in your mind before the session begins - two or three are generally sufficient. Work on them with the model, changing and developing the original concepts until something worthwhile is achieved. A background shape that mimics the geometry of a model’s pose adds depth and emphasizes the graceful lines of the body. It is worth looking for lines and curves in the environment which suggest positions a model might reasonably adopt.

Settings and backgrounds can be as simple or elaborate as circumstances permit, but should disclose appropriate context for the image. Colour has a significant effect upon atmosphere and can be used to provide contrast or comfort for the naked form. Environmental detail may be necessary to set the mood but too much subordinate information serves only to distract the eye. A bland environment such as a bare wall or unfurnished room immediately focuses attention on the figure. Its stark unwelcoming atmosphere strikes an interesting contrast with human softness and vulnerability. However, a comfortably furnished bedroom suggests a more relaxing and intimate atmosphere.

Context is further implied by judicious choice of props, but the items used should be sympathetic to the feeling of the image. It is worth having a range of things available, but they do not need to be elaborate. The simplest bits and pieces are often the most effective. For example, a personal touch such as a piece of jewellery decreases anonymity and might be used to suggest a pensive or romantic atmosphere. It is also interesting to use the model as the background with focus maintained upon a simple foreground prop.


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