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Tutorial - Nude detail

Nikon D800, Nikkor 85mm f1/8 D, 1/120s, f/8, ISO100, strobe light, softbox 60x40cm


My vision of the session was celebrate the human body, forms and studying the body’s landscape in all its beauty. This photo was taken during a photoshooting with a friend Edit in Nove Zamky, Slovakia. The main aim of the photosession was to shoot a nice fine art nude photos as a gift for herself and her husband. This was our first photoshooting together and for Edit it was first time when she poses naked before another photographer.


I was working with Edit for first time. Previously she poses nude for her selfportraits but she wants to try posing for me and also to suprise her husband with some new fine art nude photos. According to Edit’s experience with her body we had easier work to find and make different poses. The photoshooting took place in an historic photostudio which deliver good environment to work. The big black matte as a backdrop is fixed on the wall so my work was to heat the studio up, make the model to feel comfortable and let some music to play. We already discussed our plans by emails and chat, so on the place I put the strobe light with softbox behind the model like on the lightning diagram.

Art nude photo or lightning is about showing the curves, lines and body shapes. To create works like this, there is need to position the source of light slightly behind the model pointing back to the camera. There is need to take care about flares, so for example lens hood can avoid it. Most of time one light is enough for similar picture. Very important thing is also to eliminate any other source of light i.e. lamp, ambient light and or any reflective material around.I was shooting this photo from a standing position slightly bend forward (elorehajolva kicsit ?) with 85mm lens which is good for example for half-body shots. The camera was setup in manual mode. When I am photographing in studio with strobes, photos like this, I am usualy setting the apperture at F8.0 for optimal sharpness and the shutter speed is between 1/150s - 1/250s while the chip sensitivity is set to ISO100. The shutter speed (in this case 1/200s) combination with the strobe light is enough to freeze the moment and to avoid any motion blur.


When I am photographing nude photos I am always using RAW format for the picture to have the best quality and more postprocess possibilities. After photoshooting and importing files to the PC I make a selection of photos in Adobe Lightroom 4.4. I selected the mentioned pohoto and in Develop tab, Lens Correction option I enable the lens profile. The Lightroom automaticaly detected Nikor 85mm lens. After I set White Balance to Flash, because I was using strobe light which produce color temperature of approximately 5,600 kelvin. Then I started to play a little with the photo with increasing the contrast +36. The contrast increased the blacks tones and whites also so I little decreased the Whites by -29 and Black -7. The white line of the body was still a bit too bright so I decreased the Highligts to -7. I did these settings in black and white mode, to see the changes directly. No cropping was done on this photo. As I mentioned above, that the photo was taken in RAW, I was able to put the photo back to color mode for next postprocess in Photoshop CS3. I always retouching the photos in color mode so after export from Ligthroom I opened the photo in Photoshop. For retouch I duplicated the Background layer and started to working on it. It is good to have the original layer underthe new layer, because after any change you can compre the original photo with the postprocessed photo. On this new layer a retouched some skin defects using Spot Healing Brush tool. When I finished with retouch I launched the Silver Efex plugin in the Photoshop to convert the color photo into black and white. Previously done setup in Ligthroom simplified the black and white conversion, because the default conversion by the Silver Efex was very close to the final version. In silver Efex I slightly amplified the Blacks to cca 5 – 8% and added 5% to contrast. The photo was done, I processed it in Silver Efex and after saved my work into JPEG format.


There is no need for any special studio canvas. Its enough to have a dark room or place and for background you can use simple black or very dark matte, paper or wall. The black matte or paper is not flashed by light, so it can stay dark while photographing. The another tip, to have dark background is to have the model far away from the background. This kind of photo can be also made without any flashes or lamps. Slight light strip from window created with dark curtain and the model close to this light source can produce very similar photo.

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