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Friday, 10 February 2012

Tips on How to Choose the Right Background for Your Photo Shoot - Noise and Conflicting Messages


Many photographers spend a lot of time in selecting the right model, discuss her wardrobe, hairstyle, makeup and what have you. Yet, they tend to overlook a very important aspect; the background. This is a vital part of any photographic set up and needs the proper attention. It can make or break the composition, feel and dynamics of a photograph. Are you still not sure about the importance in choosing the right background? In following article, I want to bring to your attention two important factors that we tend to fail to notice when choosing a background. These can apply for both outdoor and indoor photo shoots, though since most of my work is done outdoors, I will focus mainly on outdoor situations.

Excessive Background Noise

From my experience, I have learned that the simpler a photograph is the better. By this I mean, when shooting a model you aim to have a background that compliments your model not compete with it. Let us consider a scenario in which you are to shoot a model in a cowboy costume. To complement the model you decide to shoot the session on a farm. You are faced up with two choices. In your first option, the model poses inside an old barn, with bails of straw and a couple of tools in the background. As a second choice, the model sits on a tractor with horses grazing in the backdrop.

You can realize that in the second instance there are too many things going on. The massiveness of the tractor and the moving horses are likely to overpower your model. On the contrary, inside the barn the background is not stealing the viewer's attention but rather it directs it towards the model.

Always keep in mind that your choice of background never overshadows your main subject; your model.

Conflicting Messages

Have you ever tried to convey a message through your photos but the results said otherwise? One evening I received a call from a friend telling me that he had some great pictures that wanted to share with me. He said he had found this 'great' shooting location.

Upon seeing the photos I was terrified. The location looked more like a damping site than the country side he was trying to portrait. To be fair there was a beautiful pond surrounded by fantastic weeping willow trees, but the copious amount of damp scattered all over the area was a shame.

Do you sincerely thing that a glamorous shoot can be done in such a location? Such a situation could be termed as juxtaposition, meaning that the message conveyed would say that the model and the whole set is purely rubbish.

This kind of situation is observed in my magazines and newspapers, sometimes intentionally other times out of neglect or lack of knowledge. Keep your eyes wide open for these kinds of circumstances.


As you can see, in choosing the right background there is more than just colours, shapes and shades. It is a complex scenario in which conflicting details and complementary elements all play a part in your final product.

An easy to follow, step by step course in mastering the art of digital photography is Learn Digital Photography Now.  If you would like to further your knowledge in digital photography, I strongly recommend that you aquire this digital book.

Author: Michael Abela

Monday, 6 February 2012

Implied Nudity - A Way to Create Tasteful Nude-Like Photos


Another way to shoot nudity without actually a model having to pose nude, is termed as implied nudity. This is a very popular way of shooting nude-like photos without the model actually posing nude. The photo would imply that the model is nude yet not showing any private parts. This can also be a stepping stone for both photographers and models, who are interested to test the waters before plunging in nude photography.

As a photographer it is another way in which you can experiment and come up with some really interesting ideas. It is a means by which you can expand your portfolio. If you have never given it a thought, I encourage you to take in the following tips and put them in practice.

What to Wear Underneath?

The first question that most of you will ask is; what should the model put on for this type of photo shoot? In tackling this problem you want to see it from two different perspectives. You got to satisfy both the photographer's and model's needs.

The model should feel comfortable with what she is wearing, not too revealing yet giving enough space for the photographer to be able to work. Having said that, a model can always opt to work nude in which case the issue of what to wear underneath would be averted.

From a photographer's point of view, the smaller the clothing items the better. This will make it easier for you since it will not limit your creativity. Later on you will come to appreciate this more, since you will spend less time behind your computer, as less editing would be required. While shooting it is important to make sure, that at no point in time should the slightest clothing item be visible.

Ideal Clothing Items

Again it is up to one's choice, still there are certain clothing items that I feel are better than others.

As for the top part body I suggest that the model wears a small skin coloured boob tube. Since it does not have any straps you can incorporate the model's shoulders in your artistic photos with ease. Also you do not have to worry about skin marks normally associated with bra straps.

A skin coloured g-string is the best choice when it comes in choosing a bottom. It is very practical.

Props for Implied Nudity

If you are still not sure how you should go about it, I suggest you start by using some very basic, yet effective props.

A Hat

It is very effective when held against the breast.

A Towel

This can be used in various ways especially if it is a big towel.

A Bed Sheet

Again, the set ups are unlimited, particularly if the photo shoot is done in a bedroom.

An Umbrella

It can cover a large area and be used in various interesting scenarios.

One can easily say that the sky is the limit. If you have never tried out this type of photography I invite you to give it a second thought. You will be amazed by various themes and ideas you can come up with. Thinking outside the box is a sure way to fire up you imagination and go beyond the limit. Only by doing so you are guaranteed to produce original and impressive work.

Needless to say, being familiar with how to pose your models is a necessity for implied nude photography. You must be confident in knowing how to direct and manage your models so as to get the best results.

Posing Secrets - The Photographer's Essential Guide Vol.1  by Malcolm Boone is a unique and practical tool which will guide you step by step, in mastering the art of posing a model.  I strongly suggest that you give it a thorough look.  It is definitely worth the money!

Author: Michael Abela
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