How To Photograph Naked People Without Being A Jerk

Muse: Crystal

Boudoir photography is a divisive subject. Some view it as art and others see it as a chance for some photographers to get cheap thrills.

Since I’ve focused on this genre of photography I open myself to everyone. I capture not only women, but men. Male models want and need the same courtesy, privacy and respect as the ladies do so I am not just talking about the mean ol’ male pervert photographer and the young, innocent lady model. This goes both ways.

Now, some people, both men and women photographers, do not have the best intentions in mind and just want to see naked people.
Others, just want to create art. Yes, the nude body is a beautiful work of art and if photographed tastefully, respectfully is an art form.

I honestly did not plan on photographing boudoir, implied or full nude people. The clients and friends I would work with were very self expressive, artistic and creative. I’ve captured actors, musicians, burlesque and belly dancers, etc. The number one reason I was allowed to work with them was because I had their trust. I picked up a camera when I was in high school and then traveled everywhere with it. We’re talking about a period of over 25 years. Almost half of my life! No way am I going to throw away something I love for half of my life by abusing this trust.

After I grew tired of doing studio portraiture I needed a challenge.
My first experience was nerve-wracking, challenging, and to my surprise, a lot of fun. Not because of the nudity factor, but just creating with the model. There wasn’t a large team, a big budget client breathing down my neck, or hard to please clients wanting me to shoot something to their tastes and not mine. It was a liberating experience and made me fall in love with photography all over again. I wanted to get better at it, so I stuck with it. I love the shape of the human form, so I photograph it.

Some tips for the photographers out there;

Never touch your subject. Talk it through. If you aren’t clear, then use hand gestures. If all else fails, have someone they trust explain it or do it for them. Not you. Explain to them why they need to move. Communicate.

Your subjects, again, both male and female, need to trust you. Their mind is already overactive because of this situation of their exposure. Their confidence and trust are ready to be pulled back if they perceive something is not right and they are looking for it. Constantly. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you.

Without trust and security, you won’t get the images you want because your subject is not relaxed. Call it a day and walk away.


The people I photograph are all beautiful people. Inside and out. Truly. Believe it or not, I have never been sexually attracted to any of my clients. Not a one. Again, they are beautiful people. The scenes we capture can be very alluring. Some even sexually charged. But there is no desire on my part. I save this for my personal life as should all photographers and talent. If either the photographers or talent are physically attracted, then please be careful. If you are honest with yourself, don’t do these types of shoots unless you’ve proven to yourself and them that you have flawless integrity and intentions.

Have respect enough for the person and gain their trust.

And before I finish I want to make mention to deliver your images to your client securely. Make sure you have a client proofing page on your website or on your cloud. Keep the link and password secure and only for them. They can share if they want to but not you. Ever.

See more:
Website | VSCO | EyeEm | Flickr | IG

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *