How to Use Tripods in Nude & Erotic Photography

No matter what style of photography you\’re involved with, it\’s important to keep the camera steady at the exact moment of exposure. Though a tripod can be used for maximum stability, the size and bulk of a tripod can often get in the way of spontaneous shooting. In my specialty of nude photography, I prefer to work without a tripod whenever possible.

Of course, even when simply handholding the camera, you\’ll want to hold it as steady as possible. This often involves tucking the upper arms and elbows into the body to make a very steady base. If possible, it can also be helpful to lean your body against something for added stability (a wall or fence, for example). Your goal is to keep the camera steady at the exact moment the shutter release button is pressed and the picture is taken.

No matter how well you focus the camera on your subject, if there is camera shake at the exact moment of exposure, the image will be blurred. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot. However, either way, you\’ll lose the sharpness of the subject. No matter what you’re shooting, blurry pics are something you will want to avoid. A tripod serves to make that problem less likely to occur. Additionally, in low-light situations when you want to shoot without a flash, a tripod is usually a necessity.

With erotic photography, you\’ll want to work without a tripod whenever possible. The freedom of movement that hand-holding the camera gives you is very important. In a typical nude shoot, you’ll want to shoot the nude model from a wide variety of angles and distances – some from low angles, some from high angles, some very close to the model, some from farther away – and everything in between.

This style of shooting will give your work the variety that is required to construct a successful and unique set of pics. Because of this, hand-holding the camera when possible is the way to go. In addition, I have found that nude models tend to be more relaxed and comfortable when the camera is hand-held. I discuss this topic in more detail in my ebook, “Money Shots: The Insider’s Guide to the World of Nude & Erotic Photography” (http://moneyshotsbook.com).

From time to time, you\’ll still face certain shoots that will benefit from the use of a tripod. Ideally, you would like to be able to freely move about the set and create the angles and compositions that you want. However, if you are shooting a model within a relatively confined space (for example, a specific area of a room or a tightly created set) you may be confined in your movement due to space concerns or because some areas around the actual set are not particularly photogenic.

For example, if you are shooting in your house or apartment, it is simple enough to make a portion of a room very stylish and conducive to a shoot. However, if you pull back from that specific area, you may soon see the trappings of “real life” (televisions, file cabinets, dirty dishes, etc.). In this type of situation, it is often best to place the camera on a tripod within a set that is well lit and perfectly arranged; then encourage the model to move freely within that set.

Since you won’t be able to move around a great deal in order to create different angles and compositions, you’ll have to rely on your creativity (as well as the creativity of your model) to find different poses within the tightly confined space. In this case, I often find it easier to place the camera on a tripod for extended periods of time. By doing this, I\’m better able to take in the whole scene with my eyes and better able to communicate with the model regarding finding ways to take a sequence of pictures that are interesting and appealing even though they are taken from a single spot. In my book, Money Shots!, I cover the secrets of shooting great pictures in small spaces in more detail.

When possible, try to avoid doing this kind of tightly constrained shoot. Very few things imply “amateur” more than seeing an entire sequence of pics taken from the exact same spot. This tends to suggest that the photographer was lazy, didn’t know any better, or simply lacked creativity (of course, if your desire is to intentionally create pictures for markets that prefer an “Amateur” look, this is one way to do it).

In my work, the situation where I most often use a tripod is when I’m shooting magazine covers. A magazine pays the photographer extra for a shot that is used on the cover (along with the payment that is received for the set of pictures that appear inside the magazine). Along with the extra money, it’s also cool to go to a newsstand and see a photograph that I took on the cover of a national or international publication.

To summarize, a tripod is an excellent tool for steadying the camera when necessary. In contrast to other forms of photography (such as landscapes and formal portraiture), nude and erotic photography tends to require a tripod only in certain, specific situations. The vast majority of your shooting should be done with the camera in your hands.

Author Bio: Michael Charles is a professional photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of \”Money Shots: The Insider\’s Guide to the World of Nude & Erotic Photography\” (this book is available for purchase and immediate download at http://www.moneyshotsbook.com). For over a decade, Michael has shot exclusively in the world of nude, erotic, and adult-oriented photography. His work has been featured in hundreds of national and international publications and appears on a wide variety of prominent websites. For a complete course on the techniques, styles, moneymaking secrets, and amazing fringe benefits of nude and erotic photography, visit http://www.moneyshotsbook.com.

Category: Arts and Crafts
Keywords: nude photography, nude photography jobs, making money with photography, nude models

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