Fine Art Nudes – Low-key Body Photography (NSFW)

Low key body photography or bodyscapes has been making waves recently in the world of photography. If you are into fine-art photography, you have to try this if you haven’t done one.  Before clicking on the “Read More” link please note that there are images here not safe for work.

In most Western societies fine-art nudes are generally accepted as an art and part of photography, but in countries like the Philippines majority of the population still looks at nudity in artworks or photography as something unacceptable, to be frown upon or worse taboo. Social media providers like Facebook and Instagram censors nudity and could get your account banned or locked if reported, though Twitter allows breast exposure on tweets. Photography sites like 500px or Viewbug allows posting of such photos but you need to indicate if their is adult content when uploading photos. Fine-art nude photography should not be mistaken with erotic photography or pornography. Pornography conveys a very different message and shouldn’t be compared to fine-art nude photography.

Bodyscapes, a form of fine-art nude photography is for showcasing the shape of the female form, highlighting only certain areas. From the etymology of the word photography comes from the Greek words phōtos (light) and graphé (drawing) so putting the two words together means drawing with light. Bodyscape falls under low-key photography as most of the female form are in the shadows and only certain areas falls under the light. It is like drawing the female form with light but should not be mistaken with light-painting photography since the two have different settings and conditions to arrive at a certain image.

In the shadow

A light modifier is required in order to get the light to fall only on certain area of the model, this could be a shoot-through or reflective umbrella, strip box, a soft box or a snoot. The last three would work better especially with grids than an umbrella, though it is still achievable but you need to close down your aperture more compared with using a strip or a soft box. Digital Photography school has a beginner’s guide to light modifiers, showing the different types, which ones to use and how to use these modifiers. I usually use my Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlite,  a snoot or a small soft box when I do low-key photography. Though there are new flash modifiers out in the market, I haven’t tried them out yet and pretty expensive like the MagMod Flash Diffusers & Light Modifiers for Speedlites that starts at US$90 upwards to US$500.

It is best to shoot against a black background as it absorbs the light coming from the strobe or flash but if you don’t have one, you can use the Inverse Square Law in order to achieve a black background and also adjusting your camera settings to eliminate other lights from coming into your shot. You don’t need to shoot in the dark in order to achieve a low-key photograph. Study the exposure triangle.

Next week I will be starting with my Photography Project 52 and it will be about one of the composition techniques – Rules of Thirds, so visit my website again and also you may subscribe via email for you to be notified when a new article was posted.

 

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