A Warrior Model
While the other models were bold, A is fearless. The words “fear” or “timidity” do not exist in her vocabulary. A is what I imagine when I think “Amazon” or “gladiator.” Yet, as these images prove, she has a soft, beautiful feminine side that complements her tomboy, kick-your-ass exterior.
A told me after the shoot, she found the experience “exhilarating.” The only time she had been photographed nude was at Burning Man but, as she said, “Everyone’s nude there!” When she told me about getting branded at BM with a branding iron and blow torch, my mind screamed, “TILT!” She also told me that, since she was hitchhiking to BM, she walked the last 20 miles pushing a cart filled with all the supplies she would need for the duration. A is one tough chick!
A was the last model I worked with so I was tired and mentally worn out by then. I made a number of dumb mistakes that caused my keeper rate to plummet. Plus, my brain was having difficulty keeping up with A’s ideas. She wanted to stand on her head and do splits. My mind, once again, cried, “TILT!” I couldn’t begin to comprehend how to frame that shot. At the same time, her enthusiasm and energy was infectious. She is the epitome of a free spirit.
Again, the first three are my favorites. The first is one of A’s contemplative moments. Since the shoot, I’ve learned that A is quite insightful and intelligent. She’s not the “crazy wild hippie” that she portrayed in the studio. The second shows her toned body and fearless pose. In the third, I carefully thought about the crop. I don’t generally focus on a model’s “lady bits” but, in this case, I felt the artistic merits outweighed potential for prurient interests.
The last two are different orientations of the same pose, one is portrait mode and the other is landscape. In all the photos, I tried to emphasize A’s lean, toned muscles while also focusing on bodyscapes. I hope we can work together again in the future when I’m sharper and not so tired and error prone.
An Irrepressible Soul
When Z was first proposed as a model, I was asked if an “older” model would be of interest. My first question was, “Is she photogenic?” followed by, “How old is old?” When I saw Z’s photos, I immediately knew she was perfect for the shoot. I won’t divulge her age but let’s just say she’s closer to me in age than she is to the other 20-something models but Z proves that age is just a number and her attitude is that of a young woman, ready to try anything.
If anything, I had to work to tone down Z’s big, wide grin as she wholeheartedly tried anything I proposed. I haven’t had that much fun working with a model in ages. Z is an irrepressible free spirit who knows who she is and doesn’t try to pretend otherwise.
The first three are my favorites. In the first, the viewer needs to look carefully to tell if Z is facing left or right. The second and third are classic.
The fourth and last two are examples of Z’s constant grin. I often say of an experience, “It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” In this case, Z was having a lot of fun with her clothes off! I appreciated how she completely trusted me and, without hesitation, threw herself into every idea I presented.
Other than a few age spots, I didn’t edit Z’s photos in any way except what I would have done in a chemical dark room. I Cropped, adjusted Levels & Contrast, softened focus, and sharpened selective areas. I could tell Z was comfortable in her skin and wouldn’t want me to make her look like a 20-something with Barbie skin.
I hope I captured the true essence of “an older model” whose mind, attitude and outlook are as young as any 20 year old. I’m looking forward for the opportunity to work with Z again in the future.
A Wonderful New Model
In an earlier post, I embedded photos of M, a young lady with a great talent for modeling. I finally finished post-processing her photos and ended up with 13 final images. That’s 28% of the 46 photos I made during our shoot, much more than I generally get from new models. In fact, most of the culls were due to errors on my part. I should have used a second light on her beautiful hair and, possibly, even a third light for her deep, expressive eyes. I hesitate to label her an amateur and hope I can shoot with her again in the future to rectify some of my mistakes. BTW, I have permission to use her name but I avoid doing so with new models until she’s sure she wants to be known as a nude model. That’s why I only use initial.
The first three are my favorites. I love the way her hand languidly caresses her hip. The second is a classic study in lines, curves, angles, light, shadows and textures. In the third one, I really thought hard about clipping her elbow. In the end, I decided I wanted that stark separation between the left and right sides.
Number 6 is the only one I retouched in Photoshop. I forgot to ask her to pull back her shoulders and lift her chin to tighten her tummy. So, a little bit of Liquify magic and M has her taut tummy restored.
Numbers 5 & 7 are where I should have used a kicker for better catchlights. The only excuse I have is that I was entranced, mesmerized and flustered at the opportunity to photograph such a beautiful model.
Number 11 is an example of where I should have used a hair light to add a glow to her beautiful hair.
Over the next few weeks I’ll post finals for models A and Z. All comments, both pro and con, are always appreciated.
Professional Art Nude Model
I had the opportunity to work with Cayleigh in Sedona two weeks ago. She was the only professional art nude model among the five models. Don’t get me wrong, the others were wonderfully fearless, enthusiastic and fun but it often takes more time with new models. New models can be hesitant (although these women were bold) and need more direction to find their best angles and poses. Cayleigh’s experience shined through because her keeper rate was about 100% greater than the others. Generally, I hope for 40% to 50% final images. With Cayleigh, I estimate I’ll get about 45% as finals, a pretty good result. With the others, I’m estimating 20%-25% finished, usable images. Of course, to be perfectly honest, I contribute to the cull rate when I make mistakes.
These aren’t in any particular order. I have my favorites but I’m hoping my readers will tell me which ones they like.
I hope to have all the photos from the session finished in two weeks including some color images to show how different the same photo can appear in color versus B&W.
N.B. If these B&W images seem dark, you probably need to calibrate your monitor. Lacking a calibration tool, you can turn up the brightness on your monitor.
A Different Kind of Nude Shoot
In December 2015, I was in Sedona to make a presentation to the Sedona Camera Club (SCC.) At the meeting, I met Bonnie Miller, a local wedding photographer and irrepressible soul. During our conversation, the topic of art nudes came up and Bonnie was all over it. She and a few other members had been trying to organize such a shoot. I offered to help if she found a studio and other interested parties.
After a few false starts, we pulled together a shoot at the Sedona Art Center Art Barn, a large meeting room behind the main Art Center this past Friday, 1/22. I didn’t know what to expect since this was the first time the other six photographers had participated in a nude shoot and four of the five models were new to nude modeling. My fears were unfounded as everyone (5 models, 7 photographers and 1 cat herder) got into the spirit and created some amazing art.
I haven’t yet processed all my images but here are a few to give you an idea of what I captured. All photos were made with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 24-105/4L IS lens. Postprocessing was in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6. Initial starting point was LR B&W Filter Presets, Red Hi-Contrast Filter. For lighting, I used my new BFF, two Yongnuo YN-685C in an Impact Luxbanx 12″x36″ Strip Box. My only boo-boo was failing to set up a hairlight for M’s beautiful hair.
None of these three models have ever modeled nude before. Yet, they were all so enthusiastic and fearless that I would never have known that. The top two are M, a young lady of Mexican heritage with an Egyptian name (I didn’t ask how that happened.) It wasn’t until later that I noticed her long, gorgeous legs. I plan to engage her for a future shoot where I can feature and emphasize her legs.
The next two are Z, a bubbly, fun woman of indeterminate age (she has grown children) who, after seeing my BW bodyscapes, rushed up to me and exclaimed, “I love your work!” Z is of Czech ethnicity and she lives in the moment. A published author and belly dancer, Z wants to participate in a future project I’m designing about women of different ages.
The last two are A, a strong, fearless young woman of Asian descent who has hitchhiked across the country by herself and sports a Burning Man “brand.” Thinking the tattoo-like brand on her hip was simply a henna or ink creation, I asked, “Is that temporary? She casually replied, “No, they used a blow torch and branding iron.” I nearly dropped my camera in shock. I have more of A and I hope to work again with her in the future.
Stay tuned for more photos from the shoot. There are also photos of Cayleigh, the only professional model of the bunch. Cayleigh was terrific, not only as a model but also, as a mentor to the other models. She offered them tips and helped them express themselves. The last model was K who was still a bit shy and wasn’t sure she wanted her photos posted online. We agreed we could work together in the future when she’s more comfortable.