The Art of Nude episode 2 by JW Purdy
Tonight I wanted to create an image with an edgy feel to it. Something Helmet Newton might approve of. The pose was simple however the composition is very thought out. The placement of Shannon’s entire figure was very purposeful. This set took more work as well as more shots than our normal shoots. We ended up with a total of 15 exposures and this was the one I was looking for. As Shannon and I went over the photos after the set we picked two that were possibilities; then we got to the last photo and knew we had a winner.
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I wanted to change prospective for this evenings shoot. I grabbed a latter while Shannon got an old sheet to use as a floor drop. We set the lighting up so that she would have very soft lighting from the side but over-exposed the photo so there wouldn’t be a need for any fill light on her face. It would have been very easy to put a reflector opposite the light source as a fill but we would not have achieved the effect I wanted to capture.
For the pose I wanted something that looks very simple but compositionally it actually is a little tricky. For those of you that know a little about composition you may quickly jump to the conclusion that this photo is a simple diagonal method example, if you fit into that group gotcha. This is actually a Rule of Thirds example. For the image to be a true diagonal method photo you would need something else present in the image to support the diagonal. This secondary subject, simple as an outstretched arm, does not exist in the photo taken tonight. If you look at the image again you will notice that Shannon’s face is located on the right third of the photo and her eyes really draw you in. After that there is nothing to really follow in the photo. Of course you eye explores the rest of her figure but with the flattened features of Shannon’s body due to the pose nothing really pulls you in with exception to the nearly blown out left side of her torso. One more thing that may jump out at you is the partially hidden chest of Shannon. This element of the photo is located near the intersection of two Rule of Third lines, which would put it on a Golden Section. This took a little trail and error while posing tonight. We ended up trying a few different arm positions before we found one that really worked for the overall composition.
If you would like to learn more about composition please follow my “The Art of Nude” blog. I will be starting a new series on four elements of composition next week. New post will be up every other Monday with a VLOG in between weeks.
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Tonight we went out our friend’s house for a show we all watch together. We had a very nice evening and always love getting to spend time with them. Once we got home I started discussing tonight’s photo with Shannon. The pose was very physically taxing and Shannon did a great job executing the figure. After a few test shots we started the set. I could not get the camera in the angle I was really after and wasn’t happy with the framing. I moved the lights and gave it one more shot. Having recorded the best photos I felt we could get in our limited space I told Shannon we were done and she could relax.
The pose we were working on is very hard on your lower back and Shannon got into a position to relax her back after the 15 minutes of shooting. Walking back into the living room I was struck by her natural pose. I asked her not to move and grabbed my camera. I used the little light that was available in the room and turned off all of the flash lighting. I dialed up my camera setting to allow for a new proper exposure and pushed the shutter button. I gave a quick look at the LCD screen to review the photo and noticed a mistake. I leaned down and took one more photo and feel in love with it. Many times while shooting the unplanned shots become the best and this was one of those moments.
I am very excited to announce the release of my first eBook/pdf. It is currently available in my store for $3.95. This book details the elements of composition from Shannon’s first shoot. This shoot was unexpected and took place near the small town of Madrid, New Mexico. You purchase the book by going to http://www.jwpurdy.com/shop/surprise-intro-to-figure-study.
Thanks for reading,
After a busy day at work I came home and started think about tonight’s pose. I wanted to focus on Shannon’s classic figure. I went over some of the old masters work and really looked for details present in the majority of their paintings. One feature present in the work of the old masters is the bottom of the model. If you spent just a little time studying their work you will notice that the bottom of the figure model is almost always very pronounced and close to the viewer in it’s framing.
Once Shannon got home from the store I told her the concept for the evening. We setup the black backdrop in order to create strong contrast in the photo and place our key light to the right of the frame. The key light for this shot was a soft light using a shoot thru umbrella. I wanted a soft light for this photo so it would wrap around Shannon’s figure and catch some of the details on her back adding a little interest to her form. Being this was going to be a classic figure study image I had Shannon turn her head to the light source revealing her beautiful profile. The strong contrast from white to black in the photo really brings out the line of Shannon’s face. As we were discussing before I had Shannon pose in a way that her bottom would be nearest to the camera. We accomplished this by having her lean slightly away from my position.
I hope all of you are enjoying this massive undertaking. It has been a great project and a learning experience for us both. I feel we have captured some really solid photos and still have a ton of ideas to go. We would love your feedback and ask that you leave us a comment here by clicking the comment link below.
Thank you all for reading and have a great Sunday tomorrow,