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True Confessions of Nude Photography: A Step-by-Step Guide to Recruiting Beautiful Models, Lighting, Photographing Nudes, Post-Processing Images, and Maybe Even Getting Paid to Do it [Paperback]

A. K. Nicholas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 April 2010
Learn to photograph beautiful nude female models by reading this book.

It's a step-by-step guide to recruiting beautiful models, lighting, photographing nudes, post-processing images, and maybe even getting paid to do it. The human body has been an inspiration for artists since before the invention of photography. Naturally, nudes were one of the first subjects of photography as well.

Prior experience with nude models is not required to benefit from this how-to guide. This guide can be enjoyed by anyone, but is written for two main audiences: the accomplished photographer wanting insight from a peer, and the serious amateur wanting a guided introduction to the field. 


The human body has been an inspiration for artists since before the invention of photography. Naturally, nudes were one of the first subjects of photography as well. Although the guide covers the basics of nude photography, it is assumed that you have a digital camera that is more advanced than a point-and-shoot and that you already understand the basics of operating your camera.


Finding Models. Nude photography entails more than just photographic technique, there is a huge interpersonal element; much more so than in any other kind of people photography. The guide addresses everything from finding models, to working with them long term. Most guides on photographic technique assume you've already found a willing model. This one assumes that you're having trouble - or at least having trouble finding a model that you feel takes your work to the next level. It contains techniques for finding and recruiting models.


Techniques. A range of processes are explained step-by-step. You'll find more than just a selection of photos and a dissection of each; you'll see full lighting diagrams as well as frank discussions of techniques and pitfalls in the days and weeks leading up to making a nude image. From finding your first nude model to selling your first nude photo, the guide presents complete, concise instruction on lighting, posing, and-post processing with Photoshop.

Includes 120+ pages, 170 nude poses, and 10 detailed lighting diagrams.


Product details

  • Paperback: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace (6 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452808686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452808680
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 21 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 816,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A. K. Nicholas is an American photographer with a passion for collaborating with models and sharing knowledge. His vision is colored by being raised abroad and traveling to dozens of countries, including museum visits and other cultural experiences. In the Middle East, he observed how women's bodies were hidden from public view; in most of Europe, there was little prudishness. In his youth, he put in his dues clerking and staffing the darkroom of a camera store. His background includes an art degree, a long stint as a freelance artist, and a career as a professional photographer. His first camera was hand-made from an oatmeal box for a middle-school project. His first nude shoot was a complete surprise to him when a classmate in college assumed that his invitation to model meant for her to be nude. In the decades since then, he has photographed hundreds of nude models for publication in books, articles, as framed prints, product advertisements, stock agencies, and gallery exhibits. His exhibit work consists mainly of photomontage, sometimes printed life-sized. These days, when he picks up a camera, it is to fulfill a personal calling and not the agenda of a client. He is happiest when working on creative projects and devotes as much time as possible to new ideas. His second favorite thing is helping others further their artistic endeavors. He writes to help you learn from his experience, including how to avoid some common mistakes and to encourage your creativity.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Learn and Master the Techniques of Nude Photography
Spark Your Creativity with 100 Inspiring Poses
Composition and Visual Pathway
Control Light to Scupt the Figure
Recruit and Interact with Models
Market Your Work 

The human body has been an inspiration for artists since before the invention of photography. Naturally, nudes were one of the first subjects of photography as well. 

This illustrated how-to guide can be enjoyed by anyone, but is written for two main audiences: the accomplished photographer who wants insight from a peer into the genre of nude photography, and the serious amateur who wants a guided introduction to the field.

The processes are arranged step-by-step. You'll find more than just a selection of photos and a dissection of each; you'll see full lighting diagrams as well as a frank discussion of the techniques and pitfalls in the days and weeks leading up to making a nude image. From finding your first nude model to selling your first nude photo, the guide will take you through lighting, posing, and-post processing with Photoshop. 

You'll learn from the author's twenty years of experience photographing hundreds of nude models.

About the Author

A.K. Nicholas has twenty years of experience photographing nude models; a four year art degree and Master's degree; and has worked as a professional photographer and a freelance artist. He comes from a family of artists and has traveled to more than three dozen countries. He creates photographic images that are exhibited in galleries, licensed for publication, and used for photography instruction.  In his writings you'll learn from his successes and from his mistakes. He's easily photographed many hundreds of nude models.

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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
As a seasoned travel photographer, my genre is quite the antithesis of this one: I shoot primarily outdoors rather than in-studio, I rely solely on natural lighting, I profoundly prefer candid shots over posed, and next to never do I digitally manipulate my images.

The upside to constantly traveling across the world is I know probably better than anyone which cities and countries are home to the most lovely ladies (Tokyo tops the list). I have always envied photogs who work in the comfortable confines of a studio, interact with a bevy of beautiful women and certainly get paid far better for their work than I. Why, then, shouldn't I give it a try?

But before actually delving into nude photography, I first have been flipping through numerous volumes of photo technique guides to see if it is indeed a genre I could easily convert to (i.e. teaching an old dog new tricks), but thus far I have been put off by what I have seen: guides that are either excruciatingly technical or out-dated to the point of uselessness.

And then comes along True Confessions, a brand-spanking-new book that blessedly incorporates pretty much every up-to-date aspect of the nude photography profession into a refreshingly fun instructional manual for amateurs and pros alike.

With over 20 years nude photography experience ("hundreds" of naked girls, by his last count, lucky devil) combined with proper schooling, I can't think of a better teacher than A.K. Nicholas. But even more important than his own experience and credentials is Nicholas' talent as an author for being able to convey a highly-technical skill such as studio photography into easy-to-follow text and diagrams that will immediately put the reader at ease. "You'll learn from my successes AND from my mistakes," writes Nicholas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptional Instructional for Nudes 3 July 2010
Format:Paperback
This is one of the most complete books to come along in recent years for everyone wanting to jump into photographing nudes. It's also very succinct and accessible and written in a clear, easy-to-follow manner. Herein lies its strength - everything one needs to know is provided but the author does not overwhelm the reader with excess information. All the essentials are here - recruiting models, interacting with them like a professional, posing them, and so forth. Lighting, lighting equipment, indoors and outdoors, photo composition, post-production (Photoshop) - it's all here. Nicholas concludes by providing some very useful information about selling and marketing ones work.

Each section of this book contains numerous nuggets of valuable information. The chapter on POSING covers almost every aspect of this art form, including a thorough discussion on pin-up vs art photography, but Nicholas doesn't end it there - he provides a handy reference to this subject by providing examples of 100 poses - that's 100 photos of nude models in 100 different poses - very useful. The book is also packed with full-size nude photos (shot by A. K. Nicholas, of course), lighting diagrams, and various diagrams, charts, and the like.

This is an exceptional instructional that's a must have for beginners and mid-level amateurs. Even advanced users and professionals will find things in here they can use.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must for beginner Glamour / Nude photographers 24 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A comprehensive step by step visual guide to understanding the dynamics involved.
Packed with visual diagrams and practical advice. The Confessions of a nude photographer takes the reader from the initial thoughts of organizing a nude photo shoot right up to post processing of the final image.
This book fills in a lot of the blank areas a lot of photography course generally leave out.
If you are apprehensive about doing your first nude photo shoot and are some what in the dark about what is entailed.
I would highly recommend the purchase of these book as it break down the barriers of what to expect and what will be required in order to achieve stunning images.
A.K. Nicholas simplifies the concepts behind the procedures needed to produce and sustain success as a nude photographer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good and to the point but needs an update 6 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
When the book arrived, I was a little worried that I had wasted my money on a budget book from the 80's but I was pleasantly surprised.
The book gives a very good introduction to getting started with nude photography and is a good place to start, if that is a photographic field that you want to enter.
I'm not too impressed with the photos and the quality of the images, but that does not take away form the fact that the contents is valuable.
In any case, the book could benefit from a graphical update.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cutting-edge, comprehensive, and, yes, smoking-hot models! 6 July 2010
By Thomas Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a seasoned travel photographer, my genre is quite the antithesis of this one: I shoot primarily outdoors rather than in-studio, I rely solely on natural lighting, I profoundly prefer candid shots over posed, and next to never do I digitally manipulate my images.

The upside to constantly traveling across the world is I know probably better than anyone which cities and countries are home to the most lovely ladies (Tokyo tops the list). I have always envied photogs who work in the comfortable confines of a studio, interact with a bevy of beautiful women and certainly get paid far better for their work than I. Why, then, shouldn't I give it a try?

But before actually delving into nude photography, I first have been flipping through numerous volumes of photo technique guides to see if it is indeed a genre I could easily convert to (i.e. teaching an old dog new tricks), but thus far I have been put off by what I have seen: guides that are either excruciatingly technical or out-dated to the point of uselessness.

And then comes along True Confessions, a brand-spanking-new book that blessedly incorporates pretty much every up-to-date aspect of the nude photography profession into a refreshingly fun instructional manual for amateurs and pros alike.

With over 20 years nude photography experience ("hundreds" of naked girls, by his last count, lucky devil) combined with proper schooling, I can't think of a better teacher than A.K. Nicholas. But even more important than his own experience and credentials is Nicholas' talent as an author for being able to convey a highly-technical skill such as studio photography into easy-to-follow text and diagrams that will immediately put the reader at ease. "You'll learn from my successes AND from my mistakes," writes Nicholas. As a photographer who is entirely self-taught and has limited technical background, I appreciated this most about True Confessions.

At a 120+ pages, True Confessions is comprehensive. 20 of those pages are dedicated to the most challenging aspect of the job: recruiting and shooting models. Our Savior Nicholas plots it all out for us in hip lingo akin to the rules of dating ("I never call after a third `no'"; "concentrate on booking a specific day, not a specific model"). He then moves on to studio etiquette, such as how (not) to physically handle a model's fun-parts, tips to make a new nude feel relaxed, and chatting a model up. "My goal is to make images, not to make friends," states Nicholas. Elliot DiMauro from `Just Shoot Me' would be so disappointed.

A sheer quarter of the book is on the art of lighting. Due to my personal jones for natural light, I was admittedly was initially loath to read this chapter. But Nicholas' cool reasoning ("the key to background light is not a lot of light, but a lot of lightS") complimented by helpful illustrated diagrams, example images and informational text - and even a token few pages on outdoor lighting - those 30 pages were, well, illuminating.

Arguable the most useful section of this book is on posing and composition. Nicholas dips into the "pin-up versus art" debate and critiques the mythical "Golden Mean" method, encouraging us to "depart from the formulaic," though ultimately the author suggests a combination of classic and experimental composition to create new poses. The chapter closes (read: rewards us) with a whopping 100 (!) different sample poses ranging from traditional to avant-garde that are sure to give Playboy a run for its money.

Post-processing is covered in-depth (he suggests "a day of post-processing for every hour of shooting"), including instructional screen-captures of the most up-to-date computer software tips. Advice on shooting for microstock and making/selling 3D reference photos follows. A helpful glossary and sample model release forms close out the appendix.

While the author gets quite specific about lighting, he avoids suggesting specific lenses or gear, which may frustrate newbie photogs who prefer to have their hands held on such matters. And with the exception of the un-credited oriental beauty on page 60, I would have liked to see more exotic models (Latina, Asian, African American, Indian) instead of a purely-Anglo cast, as ethnic skin tones photograph far differently. However, Nicholas can consider such suggestions for a "True Confessions Part 2: International Nudes."

###
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressive, basic lighting and posing examples 29 Aug 2011
By Brian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I saw all of the 5 star ratings I began to expect a lot, but was disappointed. This book touches the surface of lighting, posing, finding and working with models, composition, and post processing but nothing really insightful. There are several reference lighting setups to help you understand the qualities of light involved in a photo which can be of some use, but I don't think the lighting or post in most cases was very well done. There's also several pages of example poses, which is mostly a waste of space. While there were a few generally interesting photos, the majority seem to be just women standing naked on a white backdrop without any real meaning.

If you're looking for a basic intro to photography - that just happens to include nude models perhaps for pinup or stock images - sure check this book out but I don't think you'll hold on to it for long. If you're looking for advice and tips on creating artistic nudes with dramatic lighting and shadows in black and white, definitely look elsewhere.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well executed user's guide for the initiate... 15 July 2010
By Book Review Dude - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
OK, so - I get this book review request, and think to myself... "Wolfy, how good is your life? Pretty good right about now!" So, with Martini in hand, and laptop on my - well, lap, I delved into this publication with joyous abandon. The subtitle says "A step-by-step guide to recruiting beautiful models, lighting, photographing nudes, post-processing images, and maybe even getting paid to do it."

Being a bit of a photo buff, I was (ahem) very interested in the actual content. And, true to its subtitle, this step-by-step guide indeed brings the reader through the ABC's and XYZ's of nude photography. I always wondered how an amature or beginner photographer would convince beautiful women to disrobe in front of a camera, and the author does a great job explaining how we went about it. His friendly, conversational style of writing is immediately engaging as he describes, from a professional's point of view, how to find and hire models.

He then covers the technical and aesthetic aspects of lighting, equipment, shooting styles, and post processing - a fancy term for spicing up your images on your computer. The guide is very thorough, with many illustrations and example poses that are tasteful, which brings me to an important point: What this guide isn't, is an exploitation of women. The author's positive and professional attitude is effectively conveyed throughout the guide.

Technically, the guide is well organized with an opening table of contents, four appendices, a sample model release, glossary of terms, and an index. A definite *must* for any photographer.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An authoritative guide to nude photography 26 April 2010
By G. Nicola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For anyone interested in learning nude photography, this book reveals how the process works from start to finish. I'm glad the book begins with finding models, and doesn't end with the end of the shooting. This is more than just a posing guide or a lighting guide - it integrates the author's methods and techniques for working with models, the studio, shooting, digital processing, and marketing. I especially learned from the section on making first time models comfortable. Probably the most enjoyable thing is that none of the book is wasted with the usual regurgitated basic photo technique.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 28 April 2010
By K. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book goes way beyond being another posing guide. It takes you through all the steps you need to know to photograph nudes. I got mine last week and read it cover to cover. It was like talking to a seasoned pro willing to mentor the new guy. The lighting diagrams and detailed explanations alone were enough to make this book worth buying. I scheduled my 1st ever nude session this week because of what I learned in this book. I now have the confidence and know I won't mess everything up and will know how to handle the shoot.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who truly wants to shoot beautiful nudes.
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