Low light nude photography

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Barry Kidd Photography is a corporate, commercial, and political photography service. My goal is to help you reach more people through powerful photographs. High contrast nude photography, often called bodyscapes can create beautiful photos for both the beginner and experienced photographer alike. This tutorial and tutorial video will hopefully shed some light on the subject and the technique that I use to create these simple but elegant photographs. Last night I was given the opportunity to give an impromptu class on lighting and how to set up the lighting scenario.

This started me thinking that it may be something worth writing about. This same photography technique is also called bodyscapes. They are high contrast. To shoot this technique you need not actually shoot nude. We can also shoot it with clothing but in general, some skin is required. In the end what we are doing is placing the light source at an acute angle to the subject. This creates highlight and shadow detail of the subjects curves and muscle tone.

Nude bodysapes photography is surprisingly simple to accomplish and can produce stunningly beautiful images. Beautiful photos and deceptively easy lighting set up are probably the best reasons for shooting bodyscapes. Just as an example, for the photo of Ashley, below, I used one simple light.

A small strip of light was used to light the subject. The light was placed about 2 feet above and behind her. Just one simple light. Because of the ease and simplicity of the setup, high contrast nude photography is great for beginners or photographers without a lot of experience.

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Setting up effective lighting can boost confidence and prove that anyone can get great. Hell, it need not even be nude but high contrast photography in general. For more advanced photographers? Less can be more as the old saying goes. As photographers, we get the shot in camera the way that we want? Are we spending hours in Photoshop and post-production? If it works for you then it works for you.

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Even if you do good work finding a better technique that reaches the same goal is always beneficial. With that said I have found two main problems people have that severely limit their success. Turn back the power and use a small softbox or striplight. A strip light is great and allows us complete control over the spill of the light. The softbox we choose depends on how much light we want to wrap around our subject.

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I almost always prefer a small softbox or strip light. As stated above you also want to light your model from behind rather than the front. For that reason, you want the light to be low and pointing back at you rather than shining down on the model. Below you will find my video on how to shoot and set up the basic lighting for bodyscapes.

For the most part, we use a simple one light setup with the light behind and slightly above our model. We also use a very light coat of oil to make the shin shine and a touch of water to create be similar to water on a freshly waxed car. This tutorial video shows how to light and shoot bodyscapes. The technique can also work for other types of nude photography or simply high contrast photography in general. One light black and white, nude bodyscape photography of Carly.

From the video above. Only with their help was the making of this video possible. There are all sorts of fancy and expensive background materials on the market. My choice is muslin. The next issue people have with high contrast nude photography is a failure to create a fast fall off of light. To get your head around light fall off you can have to peek at the link. You can so watch this tutorial on YouTube by Petter Hurly. By the way, the inverse square law as it relates to photography and light fall off is the exact same thing.

We want to pretend that it acts differently and use that concept to get our. Every school kid knows that if you shine a flashlight up into the sky the light that comes out of the end will go on forever. Two billion or three billion years from now that light will still be speeding through our universe. As photographers, we are going to pretend that this is not the case and that light will only travel so far. In fact, we are going to set up our lighting so that the light ends when and where we want.

Our light will only travel 2 or 3 feet before we command it to abruptly stop. Controlling our light is the real key to getting the shot in-camera without the need for post-production in Photoshop. This is accomplished with the type of background we use, the way the background is set up, and the intensity of light vs.

First, we are going to talk about bodyscapes where the model, in most cases, is laying down on a flat surface. The surface that the model is on will be too large. If you are using a material that reflects light, even more, something like black paper, then you will get even more reflection and your background will be completely visible in the photo.

Myself, I prefer to use black muslin. I buy it in 10 x foot sections. There are all sorts of fancy and expensive background materials on the market but muslin is cheap, durable, easily replaced, and works well so I go with that.

I know, I know. People are full of shit! The next thing we want to do is raise our model up off the floor and place them on a small surface. This is easily the most important step to get the shot in-camera. A table or even a small folding table will do the trick. Once you have your table sitting on top of your black background just cover it with a black muslin or sheet. This reduces the size of the reflective surface to just slightly larger than the model. A higher surface also raises your model up so you are not only shooting from a more comfortable position.

You can also set your light at an acute angle rather than beaming straight down. For the image below Dani was actually laying on her side on a table and lit by a single small softbox from behind.

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High Contrast Nude Photography, or bodyscape, of Dani. Above is a high contrast nude photography image or bodyscape of Dani. Below you can see a lighting diagram used for this shot. Minus the table, she was laying on. High contrast nude photography lighting setup. You can see my basic high contrast nude photography lighting setup above. I use it for nearly all of the bodyscapes I shoot. For the diagram to be correct the ball should be propped up on a table. Unfortunately, the little lighting diagram builder has no tables, etc.

The table can be seen in the video above. First, however, we need to get the proper exposure. Whether you use a grey card or an exposure meter it all comes out basically the same in the end. When the light is so close to the model her skin will still be properly exposed but the black fabric she is laying will be underexposed. This is a good thing and the exact effect that we want. If your model is standing the same applies. Use the other as a kicker or rim light. A soft little peck is all it takes.

That about wraps up my little tutorial on bodyscapes and high contrast nude photography for now. If you have any questions or input please feel free to drop a comment below and add to the discussion. Unlike most of my bodyscape photography for the shot of Natasha, below, I had the light boomed directly overhead rather than behind but the concept is the same.

The photo of Krista below is a personal favorite of mine. This photograph has been used for everything from record labels to wallpaper to simple avatars and more. I take appropriate action whenever possible. Your photos need not be nude but the technique does require skin.

Low light nude photography

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