How To Find Models For Nude Photography

Finding Nude Photography Models

One of the biggest challenges start-up photographers face is finding good models who are interested in sharing the artistic visions of nude photography. I know how frustrating it can be because I was a start up photographer myself at some point of time and also I faced the same problem having no clue how to get the ball rolling in doing nude photography studies and test shots to develop that area without looking like an idiot hitting up on girls in bars or lurking around the streets throwing out my business cards to who or whatever. It’s like a vicious circle – you need a portfolio to show them what you can do, but you don’t have the cash to start off with… and it goes round and round.

So where do you begin?

I’m going to assume the obvious – you have sincere interest and passion for nude photography, you believe you have the vision and want to express yourself with the most sincere of all art forms – nude photography. Once you posses the above, then you have all you need, the rest will come one way or another, however I will share different approaches that I have tried in the past – some worked, some didn’t – to help you find talent for nude photography.

Photo: There Are Many Ways Photographers Can Find Models for Nude Photography
Photo: There Are Many Ways Photographers Can Find Models for Nude Photography

Create a Website

To get started, I recommend setting up your own personal nude photography website. Well, it might not have any nude pictures in it from the beginning, but having an online presence takes your work to millions of possible viewers around the world, so do not miss on this enormous venue. Take whatever photographs you have – even if you don’t have any with models in it – put up your architecture photos, nature photos, animal photos – everything that shows your skills as a photographer.

To give your site enough credibility, refrain from using free hosts and get yourself your own domain name. It costs less that $10 per year and with $8 a month for basic hosting your work will be available 24/7 to billions of people around the globe.

My website has been the greatest source of new models for my nude photography projects for me. Girls either stumbled upon it themselves or someone who knew them saw my website, liked the work and told the girls about it. I consider photographer’s own website be the most important part of their talent scouting mechanism. It’s always worked the best for me.

Online Portfolios

If you don’t have a website yet, create an online portfolio on any of numerous modeling websites so you have at least some online presence. This option is advisable even if you already have the website. Creating a portfolio on a modeling site will allow you to network with many models who look for photographers to help them start up. Yes – just as there are photographers who are looking for ways to start up in photography, so there are models who are looking start up in modeling. These modeling websites are designated to connect photographers who are looking for models to pose for them with models who are looking for photographers to take picture of them. While majority of start up models will be a little reserved when it comes to nude photography, chances are fair that amongst hundreds of available models you will find a handful of girls who also understand the beauty of nude female form and will love to offer their beautiful curves to your camera.

One Model Place.com is the largest on line database of photographers and models from all over the world. I tried it once, but I didn’t like it so I left. It is free for models, but is paid for photographers. It wasn’t worth the money for me, however it is the largest online community of models and photographers with advanced features and is frequently used by pros in photography business, which makes it a good place to start.

Model Mayhem.com is a chic, trendy site, which has grown rapidly since its launch. It also has a large database of photographers and models, many of whom were originally part of OneModelPlace (who left there for a more relaxed environment). It is free to join and has busy forum boards often discussing topics photographers of any level would find helpful.

Net-Model.com also offers free portfolios with an option to upgrade, however, it doesn’t receive much traffic I know of, so I would only go for free account there.

At this time I have to confess that even though I do have an account on most of numerous free modeling websites, I myself have never set up a photo shoot with any “internet models” whom I would meet on any of these sites. I know that many photographers have had great results networking with models from these types of sites; however, there are also many models who simply woke up one morning and decided they were going to be models. They opened profiles on these sites (it’s free for them to do so) and have called themselves models since. They have no real commitment nor sincere interest to pursue modeling with dedication, so it’s probable that many shoots you set up with these “internet models” will result in no-shows. I prevented myself from this ever happening to me, so I have never used this option to find models for my nude photography. Either way – this option does exist, works well for many photographers and I would suggest that you try to explore it to see if it works for you or not and take it from there.

Classifieds

Another great venue that was effective for me are independent magazines. Here in Edmonton we have a few, such as Vue Weekly as well as SEE Magazine, both of which offer very reasonably priced classified ads. SEE magazine even has a “Casting Calls” section, and because not many people use those for scouting models, my ad is usually the only one. An ad of up to 16 words costs $6.50/week, with 3 weeks free if you purchase 10 weeks in advance. Overall, I can get over 3 months of advertising for a little over $70. You should look for something similar in your area. Most towns have many small magazines about music, clubbing, etc., and these offer inexpensive advertising. Go ahead and check with such magazines in your area to find out their rates for classified ads. I bet their fees are affordable and these mags are often read by the group of people you want to target. It is a great way to find great first time models for nude photography.

Universities

I’ve found that one of the best recourses for nude photography models are colleges and universities. There are always students looking to earn extra money, but from my experience, many university age girls would do nude modeling just because it fulfils their fantasy. Women like to be the center of attention and most do want to have nice pictures of them taken.

There are several ways to post a nude photography ad at colleges and universities; for example, make a 5×7 print, a showcase of your work, something that is edgy, but not explicit, walk onto any campus and post it on their board along with your business card. Or print a sheet with a simple description on your artistic vision, and include a link to your website, so they can take a look at your work, and you should get many replies.

You can also post your nude photography ad on bulletin boards just inside dorm lobbies. Some dorm lobbies are locked, but students come and go regularly, so just ask someone to post it for you. Get a box of thumbtacks, so you can make it easy for yourself or someone posting them for you. If there are no dorms, as is the case for junior colleges, locate the career center and post them there. Give it a try and I believe like me, you’ll find universities and colleges to be a great source of models for nude photography.

Personal Approach

I’ve always been too shy to approach potential models directly, but I’ve spoken with many photographers who approach models at the mall, in clubs, working out, etc. Their advice is not to agonize over it, just do it, but be prepared and have a small portfolio of 10 to 12 4×6 images on you. This size fits in a pocket of your jacket so just keep it in there so it’s available whenever you spot someone who looks like the girl. Keep extra business cards in the portfolio, and make sure your website is listed on your cards.

Being able to demonstrate your work will eliminate concerns models may have about your legitimacy – hence portfolio. If you need an icebreaker, some photographers use phrases that work, for example: “I’d like to test new lights, but my wife will kill me if she has to pose for me ONE MORE TIME!” Another told me that if he has his wife or his daughters with him, he’d get them to ask: “Excuse me, my husband/father is a photographer and I bet you would be a great model for him.” These are just a couple of ideas that have worked. I myself wouldn’t be able to do it and have never done so, but many nude photographers have had great success with it.

Another approach that takes less of your time, energy, and worry is walking up to a potential model and giving her a card that says something along the lines of “I do photography and I like your look. My website URL is www.awesomewebsite.com. Please take a look at my work, and call me if you’re interested in modeling.” This method may work well for those photographers who just can’t bring themselves to talking to a beautiful woman they don’t know. Handing out small cards and taking off can do it. But I’m not sure what the success rate is when it comes to such approach.

Art Classes

Art classes can also be productive for finding and approaching nude photography models. Everyday girls who pose for pencil or charcoal drawings certainly won’t find it hard to consider being photographed. Or you could post ads for models on the bulletin boards in these types of classes. I only tried this option once and got a really good model this way.

For me, having my own website is by far the most effective way to recruit nude photography models, but with the affordability of online portfolios and classifieds, and the accessibility of various personal approaches and universities, finding nude photography models will be possible for any start-up photographer.

The Mistress

The Mistress

The central theme of this photo set was the idea of “a powerful mistress caught in a moment of weakness” The only source of light I used was a continuous stage flood I keep for video productions. My oh-so-popular wide lens was the only option as the room we took these pictures in is extremely tiny. It was an empty cellar room with ugly walls and low ceiling which means it served the purpose really well.

The Mistress set portrays emotions of an otherwise powerful mistress, who was caught in a moment of weakness. She wants to be seen as a powerful woman who’s got firm control over herself and others, it’s just a facade hiding the weakening soul.

Ivana did an excellent job posing and balancing on the stool in high heels. My ex did a fantastic job handling the flood and the diffuser. Feel the touch of emotion with The Mistress in distress.

I believe “nude art meets fetish photography” would be a good enough description of this gallery. The dagger which you can see in some of the pictures came from my collection of medieval weaponry I am a big fan of. While daggers are not that typical of BDSM, I think it added a nice touch to the theme.

Fine Art Nudes

Fine Art Nudes

I did these Fine Art Nudes with MJ who is a marathon runner so she’s super fit with body that’s well toned and firm. Body like that is a treat to light up for fine art photography. I used my heavy duty black muslin for dark background and two strobes to light the model up.

Fine art nude photography puts more focus on artistic appeal so posing, lighting and composition are more important than erotic value of each image. MJ made my job in achieving it easy and I believe it shows in the gallery:

Reflections

Reflections

Mirrors, when used right, can be a very useful prop for photographers. Nude photography in particular can hugely benefit from proper positioning of models against mirrors as reflections offer views of their bodies that are on the other side from the lens. These reflections give pictures a new dimension and offer deeper perspective.

I used wide lens for these images, mostly because the bathroom where we did reflections was about 1 meter by 1.5 meters of square footage – in other words it’s barely spacious for one person. You put two people in there and it’s utterly cramped.

The mirror in the bathroom we used covered one whole wall which made the space look much bigger than it really was. I would use wide angle lens even if the space was much larger, but in this case it was necessary anyway.

I had one studio strobe inside the room with no diffusers at all – no umbrellas, softboxes, grids – nothing but the bare bulb. This way the strobe sent light in all directions, eliminating a chance of shadows and lowering a chance of glare from mirror reflections.

One of the images in this set has a bit of me in it. I intentionally added a huge ass arrow in the pictures to make me easier to see.

Brooke

Brooke

Brooke was a love at first sight. I noticed her when I was shooting a gig of my friend’s band. After the concert, Brooke went to shake hands with said friend so I asked who she was. She hooked us up, we scheduled the shoot and this is the result.

Brooke was definitely a pleasure to work with. She’s both a great model and a fun person to hang around. Shortly before the shoot, Brooke shaved her hair and donated it to a cancer patient. When I first saw her at that concert, she still had her original hair with dreads, but she parted with a few days later for a good cause.

All pictures were taken in my studio against black background with two strobes. Brooke showed up with razor blade claiming that she was unsure if I wanted her pubes shaved. I explained to her that I shoot natural women and do not alter their appearance. I want my models to be themselves, the way they would be if they were not scheduled for the photoshoot that day. Brooke wears no make up in any of the pictures. This gallery depicts as natural a woman as they get.

Leather in the Sun

Leather in the Sun

I shot with Ivana many a time but even the most prolific photographer/model relationship starts with the first time photoshoot during which you kind of get to know each other. Pictures in this gallery are from the very first time me and Ivana worked together.

The sole fact that we ended up shooting many more times in the future is a testament to how well we clicked. I found Ivana to be a very open and enthusiastic model which makes my job easier and that reflects well throughout the pictures.

We held this shoot on one of the first warm days of the Spring. The snow had just melted but weather was still unpredictable with frequent drops in temperature so we were glad to see the sun come out and keep us warm whole day. It allowed us to keep the model naked without freezing her numb.

Ivana brought her leather jacket along so we used it for pictures along with her g-string, fishnets, garter belt and high heels. No digital skin smoothing has been done in post-production. What you see in these pictures, as with all my pictures is what you would get if you were there.

The photos were taken by the museum in Vegreville, Alberta. There was a building with main highway right behind it, but it was Saturday, the museum was closed and nobody was around so we were able to go topless without anyone snooping around. No artificial lighting was used in this photo sessions, however I tagged a gold reflector along to help with shadow softening as sun was rather harsh.

Harley Boots

Harley Boots

This is Nicky. We met on the day these pictures were taken. She wore these really awesome Harley Davidson boots which literally begged to be photographed on a naked chick.

The office chair you see in pictures is the very same one I’m sitting on right now. It’s my computer desk chair I use when I work on my computer.

What made the shoot most memorable was that it was the first time I worked with a model who was taller than me. At 5’11” I may not the tallest guy around, but it’s a decent height to have most woman tilt their head upwards to look me in the eyes. Up to this point, every single model I had worked with was significantly shorter than me. Not anymore.

So there you have it – the tallest model on my site photographed nude with just Harley boots on. I used black muslin backdrop and two strobes to light up these fine art nudes. For some pictures, I only triggered one:

Brooke and Margaret

Brooke and Margaret

Brooke and Margaret never met before and this was their very first time even meeting me. When Margaret arrived in the studio, I had already been shooting with Brooke for a while. Having seen that the shoot was in full swing, Margaret didn’t waste any time, took her clothes off and joined us for these pictures.

Shooting with two models who were as excited as I was to get good pictures done allowed me to unleash my photographic imagination and turn it into this set. A photographer’s vision, when complemented with cooperative models can mix originality with weirdness and result in unique imagery that proves nude photography doesn’t always look repetitive.

I used 4 studio strobes to light these pictures up with. Two were used to illuminate the models and 2 I pointed directly into the wall behind them to make it looking bright. White wall also bounced some of the strobe light back into the models for an fine backlight.

Pubic Hair

Pubic Hair

Pubic Hair is one of these photo sets that took a whole day to capture right. It was only when the sun started setting that I was offered lighting conditions I was after. The biggest obstacle we were facing while shooting Brooke’s pubes were of course – mosquitoes. Gosh I hate those parasitic lowlives.

I went for shallow depth of field though that presented challenges of its own. It wasn’t obvious during the shoot, but taking a look at the pictures afterwards revealed that many pubes that should be in focus appeared soft due to fine vibration caused by evening breeze.

I must admit I enjoyed shooting what I would refer to as “the real woman” profusely. In this day and age, when women are brainwashed to believe that plastic look commonly sported by porn stars is what appeals to real men, it is refreshing to see women who retain natural looks.

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero photoset was shot in a graveyard way out in the bush, far from any signs of civilization so I was able to do these outdoor nudes without anyone snooping around or otherwise disturbing the set.

The idea for the nude Guitar Hero came from the fact that Ivana, one of the models, plays bass in a band. Combining a hot naked chick with a bass guitar and a graveyard seemed like a pretty solid bet so we went for it. Wanda, the other girl, liked the idea as well and joined us for the pictures.

Sun was scorching hot, mosquitoes were going nuts, but we drove for about an hour anyway and got right down to shooting. Even though there was nobody around, we respected the graveyard for what it was and left it the same way we found it, always asking for permission to use the grave before actually using it. It was a very spiritual experience and this is the outcome: