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How to Shoot Beautiful Nude Photography (Artistically)

Last updated: September 21, 2023 - 6 min read
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If you’ve never tried nude art photography, you might find this genre very intimidating.

There are some strict guidelines you have to keep in mind throughout your photo shoot. But you can make nude photography a fun and creative experience for everyone involved.

Here’s how!

Versatile And Sharp
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Capture the beauty of nude photography with a high-quality zoom lens. Get up close and personal with your subject while maintaining a large aperture for stunning results.

Develop Your Style with Nude Photography Art

Nude photo of a female model shot through a mirror
You can use regular portrait photography techniques to make your nude photography stand out. Shooting through mirrors, creating double exposures, and using special lens filters are still acceptable in this genre.

Nude or semi-nude, photography doesn’t have to look a specific way.

You can photograph your nude models from the shoulders up or take close-ups only. You can use dramatic light to cover up most of their body parts. Or you can do the complete opposite and go for soft lighting.

The key to this art form is knowing your style. Experiment with different lighting and posing techniques at your nude photo shoot. It’ll make it easier to have a creative shooting experience.

Make Sure the Location Is Warm

Artistic nude photography of a female model shot against a soft grey background

Every professional nude photographer has the same tip they share with everyone. Make sure your model is warm!

If you’re shooting outside, make sure the location is peaceful and has a spot where the model can change or warm up.

Indoors, make sure the heating is up. Have a robe nearby in case your model needs to take a break.

Ask Your Model for Feedback and Treat Them With Respect

Artistic nude photography of a female model sitting on a chair

It’s easy to feel vulnerable standing with a naked body in front of a stranger. To make your subject’s modeling experience easier, prioritize their comfort.

You can do this by asking them for feedback, showing them your photos, and giving them compliments. Make sure not to make them uncomfortable, though.

If your model feels acknowledged and heard, they might share their own creative ideas.

No matter what, treat your nude photography models with respect. You’re guaranteed to have a comfortable business relationship if you do.

Start With Limited Light to Make Your Model Feel More Comfortable
Artistic low key nude photography of a female model

Even if your nude photography model is a professional, they might still feel uncomfortable with someone they’ve never worked with. You can introduce them to your boudoir style by working with limited light first.

Limited and anonymous light will hide parts of your model’s body and work as a cover-up. It’ll give them room to experiment with different poses. It will also give them a chance to get to know your unique approach to nude photography.

In turn, you’ll be able to experiment with creative lighting techniques.

Use Body Makeup to Add Emotional Depth to Your Nude Images

Artistic nude photography of a female model with paint on her faceYou might associate nude photography with minimalistic photos of faces and human forms. But you don’t have to create this specific look in all your photos.

To make your nude art stand out from everyone else’s, use traditional art techniques during your photo shoot.

This means using body or face makeup to create very specific emotions. You can either hire a professional artist or paint something abstract on the nude body yourself.

To get even more creative with your nude portraits, paint a realistic image on your model’s face. Andrea Hübner’s close-up portrait is a great example of this.

You can also use your painting in conceptual nude photography. The design can blend in with the background, for example.

Use a Zoom Lens to Give Your Model Lots of Space

Artistic close up of a female model - nude photography tips
Zoom lenses are perfect for nude photography because they help avoid distortion. If you were to take a close-up of the model using a normal lens, parts of their face would look wider than others. On the other hand, a zoom lens will capture everything as you see it in real life.

To create artistic nude photography, giving everyone enough space to move and think is important. Once everyone feels comfortable, you can move on to brainstorming. Then take the most beautiful images possible.

If you stand close to (or worse, touch) a nude model, you’ll end up with a very negative experience.

One of the many ways you can make your model feel comfortable at a nude photo shoot is to give them a lot of physical space.

You can start with a zoom lens. This will allow you to take high-quality photos of your model without standing too close to them.

Some of the best zoom lenses for portrait photography are:

Hide Body Parts Using Clever Props

Artistic outdoor portrait of a naked female model posing in a tree trunk

Another way to make your portraiture more creative is to use creative props to cover up the model’s body.

Instead of revealing the entire human body, you can hide parts of it using trees, blankets, clothes, flowers, etc.

This will help you shoot nude images that are both tasteful and mysterious.

If you use a large aperture (such as f/2.8) and cover part of the lens with a prop, you’ll create beautiful blurred shapes. You can also use these to cover specific parts of a composition.

Make sure your model has something to cover themselves with throughout the photo shoot. Even something as simple as a robe will keep them warm. And it’ll give them access to a little privacy whenever they need it.

Include Several Models to Create a Sense of Familiarity
Artistic nude photography of two naked female models with purple eyeliner and emphasized freckles

Ask your model if they are comfortable posing next to another nude person. You’ll have many opportunities for more creative shots if they are.

Having two models in one frame creates a sense of familiarity, even if unrelated.

This is a popular design concept that’s called “proximity.” It can help you take photos that are both emotional and relatable.

You can also use several models to emphasize differences or similarities in makeup, face shape, and so on.

Shoot in Black and White to Focus on Shapes and Light

Artistic low key nude photography of a female model shot from a high angle

Nude photography can easily be sexualized if it’s approached the wrong way. To make your photos artistic, focus more on lighting and shapes than specific body parts.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at photography from an unusual perspective, such as black and white.

Shooting nude photography in black and white will take you out of your comfort zone and help you look at the human form from a creative point of view. It might also conceal blemishes or distractions that stand out in color.


Nude art has been around for centuries. It has helped many people improve their knowledge of lighting, posing, and communicating with models.

You can use nude photography to improve your work and take artistic and empowering photos.

Check out our Creative Portrait Concepts e-book for more artful and unique portrait ideas!