The art of photographing women remains one of the most exalted and lucrative skills in the world. By following a few time-tested tips, you can learn to hone your snapping skills and embark on a journey to enter the ranks of the world's most revered photographers of the female form.
Types of Female Photography
Women are uniquely suited for modeling due to their symmetry of form, soft lines and beautiful faces. Most photographers focus on one or two styles, but many others take pictures of women across a wide range of artistic genres, including:
- Portrait Photography: Busts, faces and parts of the face or head
- Body Photography: A focus on any part of the female body, such as elbows, feet, hands or breasts
- Fine Art Figure Photography: Body photography that emphasizes artistry
- Glamour Photography: Romantic or alluring images of women
- Fashion Photography: Photos of beautiful women sporting fashionable attire or commercial cosmetics
- Nude and Erotic Photography: Nude or semi-nude photos, which may or may not depict sexual situations
Techniques for Photographing Women
During 200 years of photography development, female subjects consistently outrank all others in the hearts of people who take pictures. Drawing from a rich history of tried and true methods, photographing women has never been more artistic or lucrative as it is in the 21st century. Check out some of the methods modern photographers use to capture the best examples of female imagery:
Tools of the Trade
Technological innovations make it possible to start a photography career regardless of budget constrictions. From cameras to lighting to accessories, this section lists the basic equipment to use when capturing photos of women:
- One or more digital or film cameras
- A tripod for stability
- Artificial lighting, if needed
- Reflectors to diffuse, filter or focus light
- Props, if needed
Sometimes over-thinking inhibits natural talent and takes away the delightful sense of spontaneity. Beginners can use the tips below to develop a feel for photographing women while veterans can consider them a quick refresher:
- Direction: Don't be afraid to set the stage and lead your model through the experience. Chances are she'll accept your guidance and loosen up after a short time.
- Professionalism: Whether you're photographing women fully clothed or semi-nude, a little professionalism goes a long way. Treat her with respect and she'll be more receptive.
- Flexibility: When the best laid plans go awry go with the flow or risk missing out on great opportunities.
- Lighting: Feminine bodies and faces look best under soft, diffused light. In harsh sunlight, use a reflector or find a location with naturally diffused light.
- Poses: Spending 15 to 20 minutes at the start of your shoot studying how your model looks in different poses can make a world of difference. In general, women photograph best from lower angles, in side shots and with their heads tilted away from the farthest shoulder.
- Backgrounds: When you want the model to be the focal point, keep backgrounds to a minimum.
Techniques for photographing women evolve over an individual's entire photography career. The list below highlights areas in which technique building most often focuses:
- Lighting: Study and take detailed notes about the effects of different light sources, even unexpected ones.
- Shapes and Angles: Different shaped faces and bodies render different photographic images. Become a student of the human anatomy and learn how to photograph all types of women.
- Facial Expressions: Keep your radar tuned to the ways in which the human face interprets emotions. This will be indispensible for taking emotional photos that look natural and candid.
Photographing women is not only a viable career choice, but also an excellent way to learn more about photography in general. Keep an open mind, concentrate on the task at hand, and don't forget to make it a fun experience for you and your model.