Implied nude lighting tests

I  haven’t done much shooting lately, the last one was a gift, my husband was shooting a model that he wanted to paint silver.   I assisted in helping her apply it to her body.  It was an interesting shoot and she seemed to be relaxed enough with her body to do her first nude session.  Both Jene and I do have the ability to make people feel comfortable.  First it starts with respecting the models comfort level and even her nervousness.   While he set up a second scenario, I clicked off a few images.


The mood is set by lighting and it becomes your most prized possession in getting that wow factor.  Lighting for implied or nude is something I like because its all about the light and shadows that play upon the body.   But I’m not a lighting expert, have limited equipment and no test model so I am challenged.

Jene offered to be my lighting test model on Sunday but we found ourselves pruning our willow tree, then I made a late dinner and both were so ready to call it a night.

What to do and how to light her.  Hmmmmmm.  As a pre-test, I set up the lights, set the camera on timer and jump into various positions.  Made adjustments and notes after I was sort of satisfied with where the shadows fell across my skin.  I wish I had a fully posable blow up doll or mannequin as my test dummy.  It would make my life a little easier (I think).

I do keep in mind what my Emmy award winning lighting designer / photographer husband, Jene Youtt always says:  KISS (keep it simple sweetheart/stupid).  So with just a couple of hot lights, 1 soft box and a speedlight I have come up with few different scenarios.  For the most part I am shooting with the speedlight bouncing off the ceiling or wall for a softer look.  I can always resort to my old standard of utilizing a single light source and bounce card which is pretty much tried and true but experimenting is a learning experience and I love stepping out of my comfort zone.

I shot a woman last week.  She’s a sweet gal, and I photographed her 2 years ago,  she is not a professional model just someone who wants some  professional photography for her personal use.  No money exchanged hands…  What do I get out of all my efforts, hopefully something to add to my portfolio.  She likes my artsy concepts and was willing to do nudes and implied nudes.   But like most of my paying clients, I do not post nudes of them unless I have their written approval or their faces are hidden.  I respect their privacy and concerns.

I started the images that night and finished them a few days later.  Whittling down is just part of the process, then comes the little post work.  I’m not adept in photoshop so most of what you see is what I shot.  I do all generalized overall moves, a color balance, clean up stray hair that wisps across her face, convert some to B&W, simple stuff, nothing that requires mask layers.  Jene has tried to show me but when I watch him move his fingers across the keyboard I pretty much start to glaze over.  What I need is for him to go step by step with me at the helm.  Unfortunately I still can’t remember how to do any of it.  And believe me I tried today.  I even used the magnetic wand to isolate a masked layer of the whites of her eyes that needed to be a little whiter.  Oh well – the outcome – couldn’t do it.  I need hours of one on one instruction and then hours upon hours of practice but that never seems to happen.  Oh well.

I emailed her a few of my favs and she really liked them, her boyfriend loved them so it’s a win/win/win.

One of my favorites is this one.  Something she can share with family/ friends and hang a print on her wall.


 One hot light with diffusion and 1 softbox on her right (KISS)


Just 2 hot lights, one bounced off wall on right


We had fun and she found her comfort zone.   Can’t wait to shoot with her again.  I will definitely be adding some to my website portfolio.

Have a good day.

Mary Durante Youtt



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Filed under camera equipment, fine art nudes, lights, photography

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