Forums > Photography Talk > Urban Nudes

Photographer

ms-photo

Posts: 537

Portland, Oregon, US

afplcc wrote:
BTW, a quick story about a shoot in public space (a national park).  I was shooting nudes with a model.  She was not visible from the road.  Suddenly a park ranger vehicle pulls up and two uniformed rangers get out and start strolling over to me.  I yell out "quick, Noelle--we've got company!" and they immediately break out into a sprint towards me (Noelle just barely got her sundress thrown on before they arrived).  They spent 30 minutes checking her ID, checking my ID, confirming our stories (apart from each other).  They let us off with a warning (no, I didn't have a permit to shoot in the park) about being careful not to be seen and the words I've always remembered:  "we came running over b/c it sounded like you had something to hide.  We thought it might have been a drug deal going down or a rape or some kind of crime.  We get a lot of that kind of stuff."

So at the start of any outdoor shoot in public space, I tell my model that the code word is "Time."  If anyone sees company approaching, we say "time" and that means "get clothes on and act normal."

Ed

You don't need a permit to shoot portrait photography in a national park (i.e. you are not shooting a commercial or using the model to advertise any product).

Jan 02 13 06:39 pm Link

Photographer

ybfoto

Posts: 668

Portland, Oregon, US

Gun and Run

Jan 02 13 06:47 pm Link

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Photographer

Rays Fine Art

Posts: 6664

New Orleans, Louisiana, US

I'm not a big risk taker so shooting fast and running is not my cup of tea.  I just shoot the nudes in my basement studio and greenscreen them onto background pictures I've taken around town, such as 18+ http://www.redbubble.com/people/raysfin … 288-paloma 18+. 

Depending on local ordinances there may be no problem at all or you may risk a jail term.  For example, Oregon's powers-that-be have determined that simple nudity is not illegal, but you may run up against local ordinances against creating a public nuisance, for example.  In New York, it's legal for a woman to be topless any place where it's legal for a man to be.  That seems to have taken most of the fun out of it since I haven't seen casual female toplessness since the sexual revolution of the '60s.

Jan 02 13 06:58 pm Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

weekends around warehouse districts ...

Jan 02 13 07:19 pm Link

Photographer

afplcc

Posts: 6016

Fairfax, Virginia, US

Nicholas Myers wrote:
Occasionally I come across urban nude shots and I'm wondering, how you do this. Is it post editing, do you get a special nude in public pass. I don't mean for this to sound like a joke but I'm really curious.

I know some people do post-production to get these results but I've never done that.  It's really about planning and preparation for the most part.

Ed

Jan 02 13 07:52 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Broughton

Posts: 2260

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

world naked bike ride.

Jan 02 13 08:03 pm Link

Photographer

DAN CRUIKSHANK

Posts: 1786

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bring a cop friend along to hold the reflector... they probably won't complain much.

Jan 02 13 08:04 pm Link

Photographer

EnlightendedPhotography

Posts: 828

Eugene, Oregon, US

Scout out the area - set up and practice shooting.....then have someone who can be a look out

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/24078847

18+

Shot in industrial area with offices in use Mon - Fri, noted the times of police drive by the office area.

No problems and have shoot five different models in the nude....they wanted the picture for their portfolio.

Jan 02 13 08:40 pm Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Leggy Mountbatten wrote:
Some examples of mine:
http://13photo.tumblr.com/tagged/public-nudity

+1 excellent examples ...

Jan 03 13 06:50 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

afplcc wrote:
So at the start of any outdoor shoot in public space, I tell my model that the code word is "Time."  If anyone sees company approaching, we say "time" and that means "get clothes on and act normal."

Ed

mind if I borrow this idea?

Jan 03 13 07:02 am Link

Photographer

Dontez Akins

Posts: 345

Douglasville, Georgia, US

Honestly a lot of my nudes that are shot outside and in an urban environment I get permission from the owners of the property.  I am honest with the property owners on what I am shooting and why and they usually give me the go ahead to shoot. Some places are actually hidden as well that does not have owner that you can easily get away with shooting at the particular location because it is not in plain site.  But what I would suggest is know your surroundings and it does not hurt to if you can shoot at certain places.

Jan 03 13 07:24 am Link

Photographer

photodorset

Posts: 845

Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom

The most important thing is to find out what the law says where you want to shoot. Even some police officers are unaware of the actual law and may arrest you. If you can quote a rule back at them they may simply let you move on.

If you shoot and scoot it implies you think you are doing something 'wrong' so may draw attention to yourself more than if you do it a bit more slowly.

Having said that I have a few tips.

Check out the location in advance.
Have the model bring a long coat she can wear on it's own.
Park nearby but not too close, you don't want the same people to see your number plate as those who saw you shoot.
Use more than one memory card. You may get one confiscated as 'evidence' but at least you will still have some images you can use!!

Jan 03 13 07:36 am Link

Photographer

Steinberg Photo

Posts: 1187

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Find local, experienced models. Over the years, some of my best "urban" (and in some cases "rural") outdoor nudes shoots were in locations suggested by the model.

Jan 03 13 10:04 am Link

Photographer

Andrew Somers

Posts: 1041

Los Angeles, California, US

Leggy Mountbatten wrote:
Yep. Shoot fast. Having a sixth sense about when to stop really helps, too.

Some examples of mine:
http://13photo.tumblr.com/tagged/public-nudity

18+, needless to say. wink

Engel under the bridge is pretty daring - nice shot...

Jan 03 13 10:57 am Link

Photographer

Jon Winkleman Photo

Posts: 105

New York, New York, US

I like guerilla shooting. 

I sometimes get jealous of Arthur Tress. He did amazing urban nudes in Manhattan and Roosevelt Island NYC in the 1970's when there were many abandoned buildings and areas with gorgeous visuals that afforded the privacy to shoot nudes without interference. Not in 2013!

For any on-location shoots ESPECIALLY NUDES, the three most important things to do are

1) Location scout in advance
2) Location scout in advance
3) Location scout in advance

When scouting of course you want to take notes on the visual landscape, light, sun, and such. For nudes take special note of:

1) Security Cameras- security cams are so cheap and small today that they are ubiquitous in ever urban area. Aside from dedicated cams on building walls and roofs also look out for ATMs which have video cams as well.

2) How exposed is the area? Will the model be out of sight unless someone walks into the immediate area you are shooting or can they be seen from quite a bit away?

3) Can you see, hear or otherwise get a reasonable heads up on someone wandering towards you so. the model can wrap up quickly?

4) Is this an area that police or security personnel patrol on any regular basis?

5) In general what kind of people generally do walk in the area? College students or hipsters that are more likely to be cool or old biddies that call the police to complain about a neighbor in the next apartment watching TV after 8? VERY IMPORTANT-is the location and time of the shoot have any reasonable probability of children wandering into the area?

6) Escape Route: If you see the police or someone coming can you pack up and quickly get out in a different route without being caught?

7) Story board and rehearse with the model and assistants if possible.

Preparations during the shoot: suggestions depending on probable risk

1) recruit a lookout preferably 2. One on either side who can see anyone coming.

2) small camera kit, minimal strobist lighting.

3) easy on and off clothing for the model. No belts, buttons or shoelaces. Elastic waist sweatpants and top with slip on shoes are good. When model undresses, make sure clothes are immediately out of frame but close to the model.

4) Alibi: before the model disrobes have a "cover shoot" in the back of your head be it the model in a smart sweatsuit or flora and fauna. If a cop comes along and you aren't able to pack up and leave you can at least make them reasonably believe you were shooting something else.

5) Phone number of a lawyer or other support person not involved with the shoot in the event you are arrested.

Jan 03 13 11:51 am Link

Photographer

Jon Winkleman Photo

Posts: 105

New York, New York, US

Hero Foto wrote:
weekends around warehouse districts ...

Be aware, many warehouse districts are loaded with street security cams. Even if you don't think they give a hoot about photographers, do you want a 3rd party video record of the shoot?

Jan 03 13 11:59 am Link

Photographer

Eternal Captures

Posts: 23

Palm Bay, Florida, US

jonaswahlin wrote:
Do it early in the morning, fast. http://art.jonaswahlin.com/sn/sn.html

Great Work ! i love it.

Jan 03 13 12:04 pm Link

Photographer

Eye of the World

Posts: 919

Corvallis, Oregon, US

EnlightendedPhotography wrote:
Scout out the area - set up and practice shooting.....then have someone who can be a look out

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/24078847

18

Shot in industrial area with offices in use Mon - Fri, noted the times of police drive by the office area.

No problems and have shoot five different llamas in the nude....they wanted the picture for their portfolio.

To bad the llama above left MM. I was hoping to shoot with her sometime.

Jan 03 13 01:33 pm Link

Photographer

BOVproductions

Posts: 16

San Jose, California, US

Loved Wendy's image.... Scars and all..

Leggy Mountbatten wrote:
Yep. Shoot fast. Having a sixth sense about when to stop really helps, too.

Some examples of mine:
http://13photo.tumblr.com/tagged/public-nudity

18+, needless to say. wink

Jan 06 13 11:34 am Link

Photographer

Art Silva

Posts: 9709

Santa Barbara, California, US

Ken Weinrich wrote:
Guerrilla style run and gun shooting.

But it's best to scout and pre determine the shots the days leading up to the shoot.

Jan 06 13 11:39 am Link

Photographer

AG_Boston

Posts: 379

Boston, Massachusetts, US

I think this would be fun to do. I don't know of too many models who would be into this in my area.

Jan 06 13 11:53 am Link

Photographer

gpmcguire

Posts: 1169

Brooklyn, New York, US

Art Silva Photography wrote:

But it's best to scout and pre determine the shots the days leading up to the shoot.

Exactly - get your settings and the pose down - model drops her clothes -snap snap - close on - you're gone -- 10-15 seconds of nudity

these two are awesome at it
Gary Breckheimer http://www.modelmayhem.com/10855
Shane Perez         http://www.modelmayhem.com/14637

Jan 06 13 11:55 am Link

Model

NinaBiaggi

Posts: 6

Wilmington, North Carolina, US

I'm working with a photographer doing a series of nudes in front of very well known landmarks. The Washington monument pic in my profile was a test shot, the final images are amazing. Because of that I've been working with another and we've done some great stuff. What makes me do anything is advance scouting and patience. Observing the traffic patterns. It took 30 minutes of waiting to do the topless shower pic at the beach in my port. And like some have pointed out it can be an illusion. In that shot I'm turned away from the people behind me. We shot maybe 30 seconds and had 20 people walk by. I love this stuff!!

Jan 12 13 05:21 am Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 11353

Baltimore, Maryland, US

In most places there is no law against photographing nudes in public, however there are laws about BEING nude in public. Therefore, if you are setting up the shoot, and not a bastard, you will do everything you can to make sure the shoot goes off without a hitch.

Planning is the key. Visit the place you want to shoot before you shoot, ideally at the same time of day and day of week. I know of places that are fine at 2:00pm, but are overrun with teen smokers by 3:30pm on weekdays.

Keep a bulky, oversized jacket nearby. Something that the model can put on in a few seconds. Be aware of your surroundings. If possible, have an assistant/lookout.

Be quick. Plan. Adjust rapidly if needed. Have a plan to egress fast. Always remember the model is the one taking the risk.

Jan 13 13 05:26 am Link

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Photographer

Robb Mann

Posts: 11353

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Jon Winkleman Photo wrote:

Be aware, many warehouse districts are loaded with street security cams. Even if you don't think they give a hoot about photographers, do you want a 3rd party video record of the shoot?

I shot In a bar one time (with permission). The security cameras were on. The owner loved the footage.

Jan 13 13 05:28 am Link

Photographer

Degro

Posts: 12

Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands

I like this kind of photography. I'd love to do it myself soon. But first my plan is shooting a lot more models this year and then move forward.

Jan 13 13 08:27 am Link

Photographer

The Spaces Between

Posts: 714

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

like everyone has said, you gotta move fast.

Early morning helps but you can't always predict.  My fav urban nude shot that i took was taken with people walking up on the sidewalk about 20 seconds away. ha

we really had to move fast!

Top one:
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/15031782

Jan 13 13 08:56 am Link

Photographer

rp_photo

Posts: 42551

Houston, Texas, US

Nicholas Myers wrote:
Occasionally I come across urban nude shots and I'm wondering, how you do this. Is it post editing, do you get a special nude in public pass. I don't mean for this to sound like a joke but I'm really curious.

I like nudes and I like urban, but I have no desire to mix the two.

I also appreciate urban nudes by others

It's just that I don't shoot my very best when I feel too strong a need to watch my back.

EnlightendedPhotography wrote:
Shot in industrial area with offices in use Mon - Fri, noted the times of police drive by the office area.

Mr. EnlightendedPhotography, meet Mr. Murphy.

Jan 13 13 09:25 am Link

Photographer

Silver Mirage

Posts: 1581

Plainview, Texas, US

In addition to what has been said:

- I make sure everyone on set is of legal age and has ID. (Bizarrely, I've actually had two "models" in the past year show up for outdoor lingerie or nude sessions with small children in tow. Do they not realize how much they are risking?)

- I go over with everyone involved what to do if we do get caught. I stress that we will be polite and apologetic (no matter how we really feel) and that we will not argue or be rude. Very often one's attitude is the difference between a warning and a ticket - or even a trip to jail.

- Don't attract attention. Leave the entourage at home. If possible use a low-key vehicle - a plain white van is the next best thing to an invisibility cloak.

I take a tip from the home burglars - you can get away with almost anything if you scout first and then get in and out in under 5 minutes.

I've only gotten in trouble twice in a good many years of this stuff. Once because the model tipped her friends in a text, two carloads of people showed up and that attracted the cops. And once because the model and her boyfriend/escort stood around talking when they should have been getting back in the car and driving off.

So my final rule: Work only with smart, cool people.

Jan 13 13 10:12 am Link

Photographer

JamesMancusi

Posts: 12

San Francisco, California, US

Although I live in San Francisco, where nudity is well tolerated - I would remind anyone that being charged with public nudity is a sex crime in many places (registering as a sex offender is a lifetime commitment). Check your local ordinances!

Jan 13 13 10:25 am Link