When it comes to shooting implied nudes, it is not as easy as simply stripping down as one might think. Soft posing, flattering light, and the trust from client to photographer is essential to capture that perfect look. Having a solid portfolio of this genre is essential to bring in new potential clients who can form a bond with your work. So how does one start out shooting implied looks if you do not already have a portfolio to show potential clients?
Eric Snyder, owner and photographer of EAS Photography, located in Hampton, NH, had an interest in photography when he was attending highschool. Shortly after, he enlisted in the US navy and served for eight years. His camera was always in hand while traveling the world, capturing all that he could. In 2007, he decided this was his time to start his professional career into photography. When working towards boudoir, he writes that starting off on that first implied nude portfolio comes from trusting friends and models.
When I first started out working with female clients, it wasn't easy because I didn't have work in my portfolio to show my new clients. I'm fortunate to have some very beautiful friends that are models who helped me get my boudoir photography of the ground.
When starting a boudoir company, routinely ask trusted friends to sit in for posing. Many times using bodyscapes or anonymous looks would even bring the model releases from many who perhaps could not sign a full release due to their employment. Looking to your trusted circle of friends or even fellow photographers to pose will be a great start to help build the boudoir portfolio you have been work on.
Fast forward to today where his prospective cliental sees the work he does ahead of time, they form a trust already with the quality of work behind his images. Snyder also writes that he has a very outgoing personality and loves to make people laugh. "If I can accomplish that, it makes my clients feel more comfortable." While professional models may be able to come into a shoot and pose naturally, a average everyday client will be nervous, anxious, or even lack the confidence it takes to shoot this type of photography. Being in an environment that is fun, light, and relaxed will go further than a rigid straight forward approach as Snyder has clearly shown.
While working in the studio, he maintains a very professional relationship with all clients and models. There is always a female hair and makeup artist on set that helps ease the potential nerves of the clients. He also is very adamant about not pushing any client into a pose or concept that they may not be comfortable with. In a genre that tries to push boundaries, Snyder relaxed approach makes the process comfortable for the client, and in return many decide to shoot the implied nude looks.
When it comes to his implied nude shots, Snyder prefers using natural light. He feels it produces a moodier image, especially if environmental factors are involved such as the lines across her body from the windows. His studio is located in an old renovated New England brick mill building. There are large windows and exposed brick walls that provide the flow of light and backdrop needed for his imagery. Just as in any natural light situation, time of day or creative ways to combat the natural light will be employed to further the flow of the full shooting session.
Working with posing can be challenging when there is little to nothing covering the client or model. Details in checking that everything is covered for those pesky social media police but still maintaining the sultry look of the image is a fine tuned process. When working with wardrobe or lingerie, it is easy to correct for tan lines, or other issues on the skin. Shooting implied nudes poses the problems of either cleverly hiding with sheets or post production work to give a smooth color balance over the entire body. Snyder works with pro agency models all the way to first time clients.
Most of my clients wont post the more "provocative" images on social media. I would not post anything they are not comfortable with. Respect and trust are the two most important things.
In the session that he works with agency pro models, there will be times he will shoot the implied and anonymous looks to show for potential clients that there are ways to maintain their identify without losing the impact of the image itself.
Snyder utilizes air mattresses for space savers in the studio. Angling shots and using simple sheets will take any air mattress and turn it into a proper bed without anyone knowing the difference. Having the ability to easily move the makeshift bed around, or even remove it completely for a few shots helps for a more fluid flow of shooting. The lightweight of the air mattress also provides Snyder access to move it easily when he needs to adjust the look for the moving natural light. When there is too much light flowing into the studio, he will use black out curtains to contain the light spilling onto his set.
Shooting with the Nikon D4, his preferred lens choices for boudoir are either the 85mm 1.4 Sigma Art lens, or 70-200mm Nikon VRII. He tethers to his MacBook Pro using Capture One Pro. This is preferable for him since it is fast and has features that allow for editing if needed on the spot. There is little Photoshop during the editing process as he feels his clients should be natural and maintain skin texture alongside of natural tones.
The respect and trust that Snyder gives to his clients in return brings trust in his work. Maintaining a healthy, fun relationship while still keeping the professionalism intact allows his clients to be at ease when posing for these implied looks. The style that he brings to his sets are classy and timeless such as a Sunday afternoon in bed. The posing is fluid and simplistic that any client could execute.
All images are courtesy and used with permission of Eric Snyder.