Nude photography, also known as form photography, is the act of photographing an unclothed person. This is considered an art form, and should not be mistaken with pornographic photography.
Photographing in the nude is no easy task. There are a number of skills the photographer must possess in order to have a good, relaxed nude photo shoot. The comfort of the subject, good directing technique, lighting and portraiture are all key components of a good nude photo shoot.
Photographers who are shooting a nude photograph actually pay very little attention to the fact that the subject is nude. They look at subjects are more objects of art, of which the photographer must manipulate through lighting and poses. The undraped body is simply an expression of the shape of the human, and capturing it on film is a way of expressing the beauty of the body, as well as the emotional vulnerability that comes from being nude.
Nude photography has undergone a dramatic change in recent years. How a nude photograph comes out is almost completely dependent on the photographers vision, and how he or she views a nude photograph. Nude photography is and was something that was a source of shock for people, yet evoked an admiration from its admirers. Nude photography possessed an element of audacity that people respected. Now, a nude photograph is the chance for the object to embrace their nakedness and let it empower them.
It's extremely important that if you're interested in having your photograph taken in the nude, you check the credentials, references and examples of every photographer you interview. If even one detail does not line up, choose another photographer. Unfortunately, while genuine nude photography is something to be admired and looked at as art, many nude photographs can end up in the wrong hands, and displaying the wrong message. Ask your photographer how long he or she has been shooting, whom did they study under, what their stance on nude photography is, and most of all: who will own the negatives and the copyright of the work? If you don't, you're taking a huge risk.
A model release must be signed before the shoot, and it's important you make sure every detail you want to cover is written in the contract. If you are uncomfortable in a certain pose, make sure it's in the contract. If there is something you're expecting of the photographer, make sure it's in the contract!
Components of Nude Photography
One of the most important components of a good nude photograph is a rapport between photographer and subject. It's a possibility the person, even if compliant, feel uncomfortable about the photo shoot, and a good photographer should know how to make them feel at ease and coax them into comfort without creating an uneasy enviorment.
If the nude photo shoot is to be shot in a public place, it is the photographer's responsibility to find a place private enough to make the subject and/or crew comfortable. One must always remember that there are criminal charges that can be brought up for indecent exposure, even when it is within the realm of artistic expression.
A great way to shoot nude photography is in black and white. This is frequently used because of the vast contrast between light and shadows, and the favorable look it gives the curves of the human body. It's an emotional and artistic way to get to the root of what form photography should be: a celebration of the human form.
Artistic versus Erotic Photography
There is a distinct difference between artistically done nude photography and erotic photography, and this difference should never be underplayed. Nude photography has no sexual connotations, and is generally not shot for the purpose of arousal of any sort. Erotic photography can still be classified as artistic by some, but the sexual nature of the photograph is what makes it different from nude form photography. There is also a difference between erotic photography and pornographic photography: pornographic photography generally features an explicitness that erotic photography does not aim to exploit.