Tips for the Virgin “Nude” Photographer

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

Nude Photography by Mimi Dawn

I still remember my first time. I was scared to death! I kept wondering if this person is the right person to give my virginity to. Did this person really deserve my virginity? Was I going to embarrass myself? How long is it supposed to last and if it would hurt? I hoped and prayed that this person couldn’t tell this was my first time. Nobody wants to be known as a virgin publicly and I was scared to death they could tell I was. On the other hand, this was going to be INCREDIBLE! All of that beautiful nude flesh that was about to be displayed to me. This was going to be a work of art! Or… an epic and impossibly humiliating failure!


Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

by Damali Conceptuals


Losing your photographic virginity by shooting a nude model is scary, and exhilarating all at the same time. A question was posed by a photography virgin asking for advice or tips on how to proceed with his first time. It was rather sad that so many photographers were not willing to help the virginal lad out of this difficult and scary time. However, a few photographers finally decided to throw the virgin a bone and share their wisdom.

For example, photographer Rubin Marin from NYC had this advice

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

Nude Photography by Mimi Dawn

for our burgeoning virgin.
“Don’t drool. 
Don’t say anything stupid. 
Don’t touch. 
Keep your distance. 
Don’t touch yourself either. “

Ummmmmmm…. While this isn’t bad advice per se, if I was a photography virgin, it wouldn’t exactly instill confidence in me either. It basically reads to me, that I shouldn’t be a pervert or act like a GWC. ( Guy With a Camera).

Again, I was feeling really bad for the Newbie/Virgin about the lack of support from his fellow photographers. I mean seriously,,,don’t be a creepy perverted dude? That is the best advice he could get?

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

A nude self portrait by photographer Sodat Photography.

As photographers, we all are going to end up shooting at least one nude shoot in our career. I stumbled across this advice from a very experienced nude photographer on Modelmayhem from Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis Minnesota, named Risen Phoenix Photo, who states that he shoots over 300 nudes a year.

“1. Provide a room for them to change… They may not use it but provide it anyway.i often use v-flats to construct a room 

2. Never shoot during the models down time or break time… This is creepy and unethical. 

3. Be clear what you want to achieve at this shoot.  Bring images you want to copy to the set. It may help the model if you can’t give good direction 

4. Forget erotic, if erotic means gynecological to you, most models are creeped out by this and find those photographers creepy. 

5 make sure they bring a robe to wear during down times or moving to a different location. 

6 . provide water on set 

7. Make sure the model  wears natural make up, lClean nails with clear or nude polish on them 

8. If you must adjust a model ask for permission first. Never touch a model on any intimate area. 

9. For models you don’t know personally NO CRUDE OR SEXUAL JOKES 

10.  Review her port carefully or discuss her limits so you don’t push her beyond her comfort zone.”

His top ten tips were brilliant and I could have really used these when I first started shooting nudes. The one thing that I feel the need to add is that these tips are good for ALL NUDE models, not just females. A common misconception when shooting nudes is that males are way more comfortable than females. I assure you that is far from the truth. In fact, as a man, who has shot several nude men, they are typically a lot more sensitive than the women I have shot, especially “straight” male models.

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

Nude Photography by Mimi Dawn

For the Virgin nude photographer, this article has been extremely one sided. I have been sharing advice from seasoned photographers about losing your virginity to a model, but what does a seasoned model have to say about you virgin photographers? I asked one of the most prolific and experienced nude models that I ever known, Claudette Monroe, on  her advice for virgin nude photographers.

Things that I hate for Photographers to do when shooting me Nude?

  • Touching! This is a big no-no in my opinion. I think a photographer who asks to move hair, adjust a pose a bit is one thing, but just assuming You can just start grabbing and touching is not cool. –


  • Asking the model to do something that is outside of His/Her comfort zone. I think a key element to a shoot, is to hammer out most of the details before the day of the shoot. That way, there are no surprises and both the Model and Photographer have a good idea of what each other are looking to do creatively. Spontaneity is great, but trying to get a model to start spreading her legs and masturbate when she clearly doesn’t do that is crossing the line and makes for an uncomfortable situation.


  • -Shooting in a climate controlled environment. These east coast winters seem to get more and more brutal as the years go by (could be my old age, but that’s another discussion. Ha!) and I’ve been in some studios that had a serious lack of heat. Walking around stark naked, is extremely uncomfortable in a freezing cold studio and I think the end result is going to show in the pictures.

 What is the most common mistake for a virgin nude photographer to make?

I’ve done a good amount of nude shoots in my years, and one of the most common mistakes I see new photographers make is the mistake of, not having a plan. They have the prerequisite gear, the knowledge of light settings, but no idea what they actually want to create. I can show up, take my clothes off, and start doing some poses for you, but it’s a lot easier if you have done some homework as far as where we are shooting, what type of backgrounds and settings would look good and having some sort of shot sheet in mind. Standing around trying to figure out what we should shoot is a real time waster. Especially if the Photographer is paying the model and have booked a certain amount of that models time.

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

Nude image by Photographer  Jahi Sadiq-el

WOW!  You cannot help noticing some of the overlapping here. Almost everything that the Risen Phoenix Photography listed in his Top 10 tips was verified by Claudette Monroe.

Tips for the Virgin Nude Photographer

Nude Photography by Mimi Dawn

Nude photography as an art form doesn’t extrapolate its immense power to move people from the technical aspects such as lighting and composition. Nude photography’s immense power to move people derives from its level of intimacy and vulnerability. Don’t get me wrong, the nudity is an art form and  the lighting and composition are art forms. However,  the unspoken psychology of another human being presenting themselves openly in a way that the vast majority of us cannot do, is the real foundation to what makes nude photography, a trinity of artistic expressions.




Contributing Writers

Ms. Claudette Monroe

Risen Phoenix Photos

Rubin Marin


Contributing Photographers

Mimi Dawn

Jahi Sadiq-El

So Dat Photography

Contributing Models

Benjamin Ordonez

Dessa Fell

SoDat Photography

Traye Lovejoy

Gwendolyn Thomas



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