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Nudes - What lurks in the shadows? - part 2 of 1 2 3 4

by Andy Cubin Published 01/02/2014

Figure 2

I give my model a spot over which to fix themselves and ask them simply to turn their body through 30° every time they hear the shutter, whilst asking them to turn their face towards the light and a gentle modification of arms when I feel the need. I have found that this results in two good things:

1. It's a brilliant way to learn about lighting and
2. If it's the client's first go at posing nude, the resulting strong images don't show too much detail and so puts them at ease

Additionally, as the photographer, we can change the amount of shadow by moving the model towards or away from the camera - towards the camera giving more and deeper shadows. When using a single light set-up, in order to hide areas of the body, they need to be turned away from the light as in Figure 2.

If you don't have access to a strip-box, simple black paper taped over your normal soft-box to create a strip down the middle works just fine. It is of huge benefit to the photographer in studying very closely the effect of shadow placement from a single light. Putting the camera down and looking closely without the pressure of taking pictures is a very good idea - I cannot stress this highly enough and it features prominently in my nude workshops.

Figure 3

With a seated pose, arms and legs can be placed in a variety of ways with impunity - the photographer just needs to be mindful of the way the shadows fall, and again careful study in advance of the photography gets the results. Figure 3 shows this, in that, without the shadow, the pose would be very 'open' indeed.

Adding a second light and using it to carve offers us, as photographers, more dramatic imagery. Carving light is used to emphasise shape, so, used correctly, it should not impinge on our overall light/shadow combination, merely add to it - and in a good way.

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1st Published 01/02/2014
last update 12/11/2019 13:27:13

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