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How to Prepare for your First Shoot

My name is Richard Rasner, aka photographer Unique Nudes. I’ve been shooting fine art nudes for over 22 years now, and one of the questions I get asked the most (that isn’t on my FAQ page) is: “How should I prepare for my first nude shoot?” And while my answer may differ from some other photographers, most of the ones that I know and hang out with tend to have the same response. Since I do get asked it a lot, I thought I’d finally put it down on paper (so to speak) so I can just link to it from now on. Obviously, specialty shoots like underwater, UV blacklight and latex bodypaint have some additional, very specific parameters. But let’s start with the basics.

How should I prepare?
If this is your first time modeling nude, make sure you are mentally prepared. Taking your clothes off for a stranger, even in the name of art, can be a little intimidating. But if you are uncomfortable it will show up in your eyes, so make sure you are truly ready. If there is someone in your life (parent/spouse/significant other) who may object to you modeling nude, make sure you have discussed it (or are prepared for the consequences) beforehand. Practice some facial expressions in the mirror, and if you have a full length mirror available, stand in front of it nude and note how your body scrunches and pulls in different poses. Even really skinny girls (and guys) get “twist” lines and other folds. Knowing how your own body works will help, even though it is mostly the photographer’s job to help you pose. Being the best model you can be, though, does require some practice and work beforehand on your part.

For me (Unique Nudes), make sure you have filled out and sent in your modeling questionnaire to info@uniquenudes.com, with at least one photo. More is better and will help your shoot turn out the very best as I will be able to properly prepare. Lastly, make sure you are hydrated! All modeling is strenuous, and outdoor work and other “active” types of modeling are worse. Proper hydration will keep you from getting sick, looking (sickly) pale on camera, and most importantly, you won’t have major lines! Which brings us to part two:

What should I wear?
When going to your first shoot you should wear very light clothes, and nothing that is tight enough to leave red lines. The biggest culprits are bras, underwear, socks, and jeans. (If you are very large busted and live far away, just remove your bra a half-hour before you are to arrive.) I have had models wear very light sun-dresses with no undies, only to find out the elastic band in the middle left a huge red mark across their mid-section. But generally, sun dresses, large Ts, loose sweatpants and flip-flops or other non-line-making sandals or slip on shoes are the best. (Fun photography fact: Did you know that when you see a “strip series” of photographs on SG or Playboy they are often shot in reverse? The model starts naked and puts on the clothes/corset/bra) so there aren’t red lines and skin wrinkles in the shoot. The photos are then posted in ‘reverse’).

Should I do my makeup/hair?
This part is more specific to my work/Unique Nudes. If we are hiring a hair/MUA for your shoot, no. Just come clean-faced and hair washed. If not, you can do LIGHT, NATURAL makeup. A lot of girls want to do glamor-style makeup, but when you are nude (especially if you are shaven down below) excess makeup make you look really head-heavy and unbalances the photograph. Again, blacklight and underwater shoots have entirely different rules for this stuff.

What should I bring?
First off, bring a legal, government issued ID. Yes, I know you are over 18 but I need to be able to prove that to others. Some photographers may also want you to bring you social security card for paid shoots, but I don’t require it until your print profit exceeds $2,000.00 in a calendar year. Also, bring props! Have a favorite hat/stuffed animal/piece of lingerie you love? Bring it! We may not use it, but it might be fun to have. Lastly, bring a good attitude. This may be a job, but if you’re not having fun, why bother? If you’re in this for the money you should probably consider an alternative career.

Can I bring a friend/escort?
This is covered in my regular FAQ, but the short answer is yes, so long as they are not disruptive.

Thank you for your consideration and taking the time to read this. Nude modeling is a fun and rewarding thing to do, both emotionally and (quite often) financially as well. Your beauty and uniqueness will live on in art galleries and museums for generations to come. It’s a tiny slice of immortality few will achieve in their lifetime and it is always something to be proud of.

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