The Art of Glamour and Nude Photography

Creating nude portraits has long been an element of art – instead of capturing these portraits with the brush on canvas; today they are captured with the pixel.

Since the invention of photography the naked human body has been a natural subject for photographers and there has always been a large audience there for it.

What is glamour photography? Glamour photography covers a wide range – from the partial nude body, which you may see an a billboard advertising ladies underwear to the erotic images or the full nude body you may see on Page 3 of some papers or adult magazines.

There are no special elements to photographing glamour; all the standard photography techniques remain the same. Care should be taken when photographing models, nude or partially nude because some may find a sexual element attached to it.

Finding a market: Glamour photography remains one of the most lucrative areas of freelance photography. For a student trying to break into the glamour photography market, he would be well advised to use a film camera over digital. Film will give you warmer skin tones and give you a greater chance of being published.

When trying to find suitable markets for your glamour photography, the same principles apply as in any other photography field. You must study “Glamour Photography Publications” to find out what sort of material they use.

Where to shoot: If you don’t have your own studio, don’t worry. Most of the great glamour images are shot on location. Shooting in the natural environment will be rewarding – use the early morning light to give extra warmth to the skin. Try different places – your neighbours hay barn can make an effective setting for a glamour image or if you have an attractive garden – perfect.

Choosing a model: One of the basic elements of glamour photography is a willing model. If you are having trouble finding one try your local art classes. People with an ambition to be a model may let you do test work. But if you are serious about being a glamour photographer you should work with a professional model.

Glamour images don’t always need to be sharp. Many of the great glamour photographers defuse their image with a filter to add mood to their nude portraits. The best way to get good is plenty of practise and sharpen your eye by looking at glamour publications.

There should be greater emphasis on controlling light contrast to ensure that the human body isn’t lost in heavy shadows or bright highlights. Controlling exposure is very important to get the perfect body tones.

While many may find this type of photography offensive, the glamour photographer is an artist and should be respected as one. It’s not for me to comment on whether the use of glamour material is good or bad, but to explain the art of this competitive and lucrative market.

TJ Tierney is an award winning photographer and a freelance writer. To find out more information visit his photography site and his photography forum.

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