Fine Art Nude Photography

Lesson 1/15 - Class Introduction


Fine Art Nude Photography


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

(audience clapping) Hi everybody, welcome to Creative Live. I'm Lindsay Adler and today, the subject I will be sharing with you is Fine Art Nude Photography. I've actually wanted to do this class now for a couple of years and we're trying to figure out the logistics of doing such a class live. So just so you know, for anyone that's tuning in, the images that I'll be showing in my presentation are nude images, disclaimer is there, okay everyone knows. But in our live presentation, my subjects for their safety, for their comfort as well as for the purposes of being live, they will be covered for the live portion. So there will be pasties and underwear and things like that. However, I've already done part of this class as a pre-filmed day. So during my pre-filmed day, I did posing and I did lighting and I did a bunch of really creative shots which I will actually show you in my presentation so you'll be able to see what I did. Anyway that, everybody's completely nude so you'll be able t...

o see kind of really how the lighting and posing is working on the nude form. So that's kind of an overview of what's been done already but I'm going to today in this beginning part jump into a little bit of the history of fine art nude photography and if you are not someone who wants to shoot nude, why should you learn about nude photography and there's actually really great reasons to. So I'm going to jump in to that right now because I've got a lot to cover and today this film segment is in fact, only a half day. But I did another full day of filming that was pre-filmed. Just so you know the type of content we have. Alright so one of the reasons I love fine art nude photography, if anyone knows me, you know my work, I'm a fashion photographer and so as a fashion photographer a lot of times I feel like everyone else gets to be the boss, like there's an art director and then there's hair and make up, and then there's wardrobe and then there's a client or the magazine and like you know, sure I'm the boss but there's a lot of other people that I've gotta pay attention to. And in fine art nudes, it's whatever I wanna do. Like it's all of my idea and it ends up being the most incredible canvas for photography because when you have the nude as a canvas, it literally strips everything down to the core elements of photography. If you don't understand posing, shot's not going to look good. But when you understand how to pose a nude, you know how to pose everyone, like you're really seeing what your posing is doing. There's no clothing there to hide it. It's incredible, it's taught me so much. Same thing with lighting. I don't know, I never really though about lighting how it affected anything other than the face. Like originally, I just pay attention, okay light on the face, here's how it sculpts. I never actually paid attention to what light does to the form until I shot fine art nude photography and now I can really utilize it to flatter different body types, sculpt the form, flatter different types of clothing. Yeah, it started wit the nude but it's actually useful in every single thing that I do. So that's kind of why I love the nude as a canvas and so I don't want you to think that there's any one right or wrong way to shoot fine art nude photography. For me, I've done things that are paint with light, or projections on the body and you wanna know why? Because I wanted to. Like it's just, it's so freeing and it's a great place to challenge yourself as a photographer to do something different. You can make things that are ethereal and soft and elegant or you can do things that are a little sexier something. That's a little racier, I'm not making a judgment on that. However, today I will be focusing specifically on fine art nudes and I'll show you what I mean by that. And then another thing that I've enjoyed is you can take whatever type of photography you do and take elements of that and infuse it into fine art nudes and experiment. Like you guys know me, I shoot clean, bold graphic, I love the color red. And so you'd thing, oh okay, well that's for fashion but it can work for nudes as well. So I find that as I experiment, you've just have a nude form so you really gotta push yourself and really gotta ask what's my concept? What am I trying to do here? And I think it makes you, not rely on crutches like what they're wearing or what their hair and makeup looks like, you really gotta think through, what is this image about. So I like that challenging aspect of it as well. The reason that many of you out there who are perhaps not planning to do fine art nude photography, one of the reasons you wanna watch is see anything really similar? Like it's all basically the same pose. When you learn how to pose a nude, you learn how to pose everyone and everything better. 'cause I can actually see what the raising of the leg does for the curve in the lower part of the body and the curve in the lower back and what hand placement really does, it's so different 'cause there's nothing else hiding it anymore. So for example, posing in this nude image, like I really learned how to push curve. So guess what, I use the same kind of pose or same base shape in boudoir or in a really form fitted dress and now that curve just as stunning and I learned this from nude photography or really pushed me to learn this. So let me give you an overview of the class. Some of the things that we'll be covering because I've got a whole lot of different things and I wanna give you kind of the schedule of our day today. So I'm going to start off with the history of the nude. Don't worry, it's not too much of a history class but I wanna explain really where I'm getting some of my inspiration from and my understanding of the nude as an art form. Then I'm gonna talk about types of nude photography just classifications. Planning shoots, finding models, etiquette, model comfort, these are things that I, like if you don't know, and you do your first nude shoot, it's better to know what's expected and how to interact with your subjects. And then I also, in my pre-filming, I did go to or essential poses. You'll have those to reference when you're doing your first shoot. I'm going to cover lighting, you'll see how it shapes the form, the different ways you can use lighting to carve out the form or to define the form and then, I do a lot of creativity. So in my pre-shoot day, I did one two three four, I think I did four or five creative shoots. So hopefully it'll kind of get your mind going on something you can do and then very end of today, is I make a mess. A lot of it, we're playing with paint and clay and things like that so, sticking through the end of that, you'll be able to see the beautiful messes that I make. By the way, for those of you who are interested in learning more about fine art nude posing, but specifically you want some references, like you wanna know ideas to come up with for your first shoot to have it there, which I recommend, I always have posing inspiration because I don't want the person standing there and for me to run out of ideas and just kind of stare, right like, I can go back to my posing inspiration and say, oh let's try this pose and help direct them to that. So if you go to this link, I have a couple of, one of them is a completely free posing guide. There's one for fine art nude dance poses. I'm gonna talk about why I recommend photographing dancers but also there's some samples for posing men, fine art nude for women and then also maternity. So I have a variety of different poses there. Alright so let's jump into this. History of the nude without getting too into the history. I was lucky enough that this past year, I've gotten to travel a lot and so I did Florence and Rome and England and Amsterdam and I went to a lot of museums and it's funny 'cause I went to the same museums 10 years ago, a lot of them. I didn't see things the same way. And now all of a sudden, because I get to teach all of you about posing and lighting, I am looking at these paintings and sculptures totally differently and I'm looking at the posing and I'm looking at the lighting and it's taught me so much. But one of the things I noticed is there are nudes everywhere and no one cares. And so there's something, i don't know if it's specific just to the US but the nude form is absolutely inextricable from art and art history and we as photographers are artists and so I absolutely go back and look at art for inspiration and you'll see one image in particular that I created this week or in the shoot that you'll go oh wow yeah she's been to a lot of museums recently. You'll see exactly where that is. But when you go back to antiquity, when you go back to looking at Greek and Roman sculpture and other art, it's a study of the form because it's beautiful physique and the perfection of man, celebration of men and women, there's no sexuality at all, like that's not part of it. And then fast forward to dark ages and no more nudity, like it's taboo, it doesn't happen. And so kind of really after, you go a thousand year ahead then you have the one on the left, the sculpture on the left. This is one of the first male nude sculptures by Donatello after when the Renaissance just starts kicking off. And if you notice again, it's strength and it's celebration of man as part of nature and so then, of course, the one that you guys all know, is going to be Michelangelo's David. And so this pose, is something that i will talk about in the class. This is for a guy, it's called contraposto but for women, we push it further and I bet you, half of the standing boudoir poses that look incredible are based on this pose. I didn't know this and I've been better at posing women because I started with the base pose of Michelangelo, who would've known, right? I wouldn't think Michelangelo and think boudoir but cross that knee over a little more, pop the hip out a little bit more, drop the shoulders a little bit more, it's just exaggerating it. But I learned it from studying sculpture. So it was still a little taboo to show nudes but once Michelangelo said, listen everybody be cool with it and he put it on the Sistine Chapel, then that's when you start to see much more of a proliferation of nudes in art, it introduced it. Now, I will say that if you actually look at the history of the nude in art, body types change. What's in fashion or what's considered beautiful or what's considered the ideal nude to study is perhaps not what a lot of us think of now or what you see in general mainstream media. And so that's where maybe you've heard of Rubenesque paintings, they're much fuller figured curvier bottles, and so when I was in Amsterdam couple of weeks ago or a week ago, there was wonderful Rubens everywhere, and it was all big, beautiful curvy subjects and so that's what I like as well, is I like seeing that expression and study of the form that doesn't fit one form that everyone now thinks is, like I think that's fantastic. And then in case fast forward, I mean it's not, it also interjects into photography, right? And even in kind of the earlier parts of photography, studying the form as a canvas. So here's the image that I created in the pre-filming day of this class. So you see, you can clearly see where the inspiration is from but if I wasn't looking back at history, I wasn't looking at the paintings and the textures and the tones, I wouldn't have made this photo. So I don't, I personally, I never had the taboo against nudes. Like when I was in college, it was the thing to do because you study figure study in art class so why wouldn't I photograph the nude because photography is an art form and so that's kind of part of my thought for you and everyone out there as well as studying the nude, teaches you lighting and posing but it's, you can draw on any other type of art that has nudes before it. Alright so let's talk about the type of nude photography. There's different types. Please know, I'm not saying their the only types of nude photography but I'm going to just very generally categorize things. There's fine art nudes, boudoir nudes, and then there's also ertoic nudes. Obviously there is everything in between, but I just wanna explain this real quick. So typically, in fine art, you're thinking of the nude for shape, for composition, for light and form, as a creative canvas. It's much more about concept and light than it is actually about the body, often. Where is in boudoir, typically, the subject is portrayed in a sexually alluring way. It's more about body parts and it's more about connection with camera. And then in the last one, erotic photography tends more around the idea of sex or sexual acts. And of course, there's everything in between. We are only doing the fist one. We're focusing particular on the fine art element of it. So this is what I'm talking about. I'm studying light as it carves out the form and it makes abstracts. Now, the one on the right, could you say it goes a little bit into the boudoir, like you're noticing her curves and her body parts sure, but it's also the way it's shot it's not meant to be sexually alluring, so I said there's everything in between and then how 'bout this? I did this for a fashion shoot. So as I said, there's everything in between especially when I shoot for European publications, there's a lot of times that I have, part of the chest exposed or the subject's nude but with long hair covering their body or something and it's great to feel that I can do that. And the US with publications, we don't do that. I'm totally fine with it. Again, going back to fine art nude photography, here's more examples. Study of form, something that like the picture in the middle, when i look at it, I don't even notice that she's nude. Like that's not at all where my brain goes, it's not about that. Just so you know, that was done with flour, although since I've been told flour is flammable, so talcum powder, i don't know, but I had a beauty dish in the front and two back rim lights. And then what we do, is we have, we cover her in the flour, put it in her hands and then we have her jump up and throw it and so, it took about, probably about 20 jumps or so to get that shot. Now, the picture on the right, you know again, you don't look at and think, oh nude subject, it's more of the fetal position, it's giving the idea of birth and being one with nature. And so fine art nude, like concepts, study of light and form.

Class Description


Great class! Lindsay is such a powerhouse teacher! Sticking to the obvious theme of the class, she flies through so many lighting options, poses, and details to look for. This class left me with a big creative spark and a lot of information to work with. As always, I wish it didn't have to end. Thank you Lindsay and CreativeLive! - Katie Bug 

Fine Art Nude Photography is about capturing the beauty of the human form. Using light, shadows, posing and creative expression, you can bring out the beauty of your subjects and the human body. Since communication is of the utmost importance when photographing nudes, Lindsay Adler will discuss the etiquette of preparation, setting expectations, directing and working with your subjects. She’ll cover posing techniques and tips on what to emphasize and what to avoid, and discuss the importance of lighting and how it affects the body form. Lindsay will also discuss how to push yourself creatively while maintaining a tasteful and artistic vision.
You’ll learn:
  • Common posing mistakes and what to watch for in your subject while directing 
  • What modifiers and lighting setups work and how they impact the appearance of the human form 
  • How to accentuate muscles, shapes and lines with light and camera angles 
  • Exploration of creativity with the use of body paint and fabric and other props
Whether you are pushing yourself in your boudoir photographing, offering a unique portrait session or exploring your personal fine art work, this class will elevate your creative process, both technically and artistically, when photographing the nude form. 

Included with the purchase of this class are videos not aired during the live broadcast. These additional lessons will continue to further your fine art education. You can download all additional videos by clicking on the "Class Materials" tab.



Amazing speaker, instructor and great photographer. The lighting and posing technique is imperative but she gives a lot of small tid bits and tricks that have already set me apart from other photographers. I love her work but I love her teaching style more. I recommend all her classes!

user 0256e5

It is a delight to watch someone who has so much passion for her art and Lindsay exudes passion and accompanies that with a great teaching style. She shares her knowledge and has a lot of great tips. I think this class makes a great intro to the subject. For me, this was time well spent.


So much to be thankful for, so brilliant your work Linsdsay.Tank you creative live for sharing the free live viewing wow!