Let Instinct Guide You: Nude and Portrait Photography
Author: Lou Lynch
Different imagery appeals to different photographers. From landscape photographers to artistic nude photographers and everyone in between, the photography world is a cornucopia of different styles, processes, and techniques.
For amateur photographers, it is hard to know what you will eventually want to shoot as you’ve yet to experience the many different paths one can take, so amateurs are usually generalists – they’ll shoot anything and everything. As you progress through your budding career, you’ll quickly learn what you love to shoot and what you hate to shoot and you’ll develop your very own style.
Here is a summary of two different types of popular photography today:
Very rewarding and artistic, capturing the nude has fascinated artists from all walks of life. Photographers can capture such glorious images that play with light and shadow, and that push the boundaries of everyday living. The limitless potential and taboo aura makes artistic nude photography a favourite among professional and amateur photographers alike. Yet, it takes great skill to create a beautiful nude portrait, and the technique cannot easily be taught. Instinct must guide the photographer beyond the basic principles of composition into a realm where there are no rules.
Nude photography has many cousins in the erotic photography sphere; boudoir photography is one of them. Boudoir photography pushes our limits and incorporates much fantasy and eroticism into a photograph.
One of the main jobs of an artistic nude photographer is to control lighting contrast and ensure that subtle transitions in tone guide our perception of the human form. There are great masters of this art form in all cities of the world, but many settle in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Paris. Toronto photographers, for instance, may have a different style than Los Angeles photographers because of the different climate – this plays a role in where the setting for a nude photograph will take place.
Photographing people is entrenched in the very fabric of our humanity. Since the invention of the camera, we have been fascinated by seeing ourselves outside ourselves, so to speak. Amateur photographers the world over snap images all the time, but it is the professional photographer that truly understands when you photograph a fellow human being, you must capture their spirit.
The purpose of portrait photography is to reveal in the inner humanness of your subject. What is it that makes them special, unique and interesting? The most poised and accomplished portrait photographers know that revealing this is the secret for the success of any image. You want to look at a portrait and ask “What are they telling me?” and you should be able to draw clues from the subtleties of the photograph’s composition. This is what makes a portrait stand out from a snap shot. The portrait attempts to reveal the inner character of the person in front of the camera. Many photographers spend their entire lives trying to capture the truth in their images. Travel to any major city and you’ll find some of the best portrait photographers around. Toronto photographers and New York photographers and Paris Photographers all try to reveal the secret their sitter is hiding behind the veil.
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