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Critiquing Your Nude Photography

Refrigerator Blues

One of the most difficult things for a photographer is to self-critique their photos, especially in nude photography.  Not that they physical act of viewing your images is hard to do, but being able to truly recognize what makes your photo good, what makes it bad, and how can it be improved upon is key into improving your photography. This is not only an art, but it’s impossible to do correctly unless you stay true to yourself and are serious about raising the quality of your photography to the next level.

So here are some points that might help you in self-critiquing your images:

Muse Candice Marie Editorial Nude Photo

Candice poses patiently as I do my best to create a strong image.

1. First, you must critique the basics, fundamentals and principals of photography before even looking at anything else in the image, such as, is the photo properly exposed? Are the eyes sharp? Is the composition tight? Is the cropping correct?

Expansion of point one: Exposure is either properly exposed, over-exposed, or under-exposed. Pick one, if it’s not “properly exposed,” then before you toss the image, consider trying to bring it into Adobe® Lightroom® then Nik Software to bring it to life, to make it interesting, to create something artistic. Perhaps something as simple as converting it to a black and white photo could make a horribly exposed image turn into something very appealing—but never make this a crutch. In film, and the same applies for digital, the rule is expose for the highlights (detail in the highlights) and print for the shadows.

Are the eyes sharp? As a photographer of models, both in glamour and editorial nude photography, without sharp eyes you have nothing.  Don’t try and sharpen the eyes in postproduction, get it right in the camera—if the eyes are sharp, it’s usable, otherwise, trash it!

Composition should follow the rule of thirds.  Basically draw three imaginary, equally spaced lines horizontally across and do the same vertically, where the lines intersect is where your main point, normally your subject’s head, should fall within the frame.  Rarely ever place your subject in the center and if your subject is looking in a specific direction, leave room for the subject to look into. Compose with less image area on the side of the frame the subject doesn’t look into. Remember though, once you master the rules, learn how to break them effectively.
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2 Comments

  1. I don’t care for the refrigerator image that much; but the image DESCRIBED (almost empty shelves) interests me!

    I like the idea that one image can lead to another… I often shoot locations without people, so I can remind myself to come back.

    I also appreciate the tip to come back to images that may have been initially rejected. This fits my pack-rat mentality anyway. I had a horrible studio session where many of the lights were on a circuit that kept shutting off (circuit breakers). So many of the images were shot without ideal light because the “meter was running” on the model…. I ended up converting one image to a high-contrast version, which became my logo!

    • I agree, that’s why my target is the future image and the photoblog post was written to describe what I should have done, but didn’t do. Sometimes we get caught up in what we’re doing, that we don’t notice it until we’re in postproduction. So when the model returns to San Antonio, we’re going to reshoot it right. Thanks for your feedback, rg.

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Rolando Gomez Philosophy on Nude Photography
Editorial Nudes is not a website where you’ll find pornography, nor is this a website where models are underage, this is a website that showcases another genre of my art, though I want to clarify, nudity should never be a requirement for photography. Nudity is not for everyone, but for those that can appreciate the beauty of the human form and can handle it with maturity and common sense. I hope you’ll enjoy how I view nudity through my camera lens, often in a more editorial format. Read more about my philosophy on nude photography here.

Photographer Helmut Newton Had It Right On Nude Photography
While many famous photographers are known for other genres of photography, such as fashion, commercial, landscape and photojournalism photography, almost all have shot a nude photograph at some point in their careers. Whether it was fashion nude, editorial nude, Playboy nude, fine-art nude, implied nude, or some form of nude photography, some photographer captured a nude photo somewhere.

Then there were those like Helumut Newton, who were catapult into more fame for their nude photography than their commercial or fashion magazine photography. It’s been said that Simon de Pury, the head of the New York/London auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, while having a discussion with Helmut Newton about the then upcoming inaugural show for his Zurich gallery, asked Newton, “…What else do you have?” Newton replied, “My landscapes, but nobody wants to see those.”

Newton was correct and soon “Sex and Landscapes” was conceived for that inaugural show in 2001. While undoubtedly the late Newton has help put the “PC” in nude photography over the years, it’s not that nude photography is so bad in our private conscious, it’s the difficulty of the use of the word in our vocabulary and the use of nude images in our visual arts—like a fear, our own society is the guilty culprit and it’s time for us to “grow up” and accept the beauty nude photography brings, especially when captured correctly.

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