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Photographer
M i t c h T a r r
Posts: 179
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, US


Sorry in advance if this fall under the 'stupid questions' category but here it is.
I'm interested in shooting more erotic style work and am a bit unsure about how to make the transition.  I've been doing mostly black and white figure nudes and have been learning the language of posing and model direction etc.  But I have two issues.  One, It's a new area for me and I haven't got an artistic vision yet and Two, I'm not sure how to direct a model to do things I haven't yet done.
Any tips from your experience?

See, even my post title is off.  Should be 'How to transition.."
Apr 24 13 08:46 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
silverystars
Posts: 2,524
Allentown, Pennsylvania, US


hire a good model that's experienced shooting erotic work.  explain in advance exactly what you want to shoot, send examples, and be totally clear.

use lighting that you like and don't try to work to far outside your comfort zone with respect to equipment and whatnot.

communicating your expectations up front will deliver the best results.
Apr 24 13 09:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SME
Posts: 20,995
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US


silverystars wrote:
hire a good model that's experienced shooting erotic work.  explain in advance exactly what you want to shoot, send examples, and be totally clear.

use lighting that you like and don't try to work to far outside your comfort zone with respect to equipment and whatnot.

communicating your expectations up front will deliver the best results.

I concur with this.  One of the big problems I see with male photographers who are tentative with female models is that they're afraid to articulate exactly what they want, which can result in mismatched expectations and frustration.  Even if all you can do is point to a couple of example photos and say, 'I want to hire you for work like THIS,' try to be specific.

Apr 24 13 09:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Alien LiFe
Posts: 844
San Francisco, California, US


I've been struggling with the same problem when it comes to photograph something 'off' my way of shooting. Kind of feeling weird, unsure & worried of not producing a good work.
I think, that's common, we just have to find a way to put the worry aside, trust ourselves & keep trying ...

Find models that are doing the same genre will help you a lot. They can guide you & show you some caluable lessons. Work with them again & again to 'practice', find your comfort & gain confident ...

Ask for other photographers' opinion etc. & find other's work that inspire you & go from that ...

Good luck & happy shooting ... wink


best,
Alf
Apr 24 13 09:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,403
Sisters, Oregon, US


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
Sorry in advance if this fall under the 'stupid questions' category but here it is.
I'm interested in shooting more erotic style work and am a bit unsure about how to make the transition.  I've been doing mostly black and white figure nudes and have been learning the language of posing and model direction etc.  But I have two issues.  One, It's a new area for me and I haven't got an artistic vision yet and Two, I'm not sure how to direct a model to do things I haven't yet done.
Any tips from your experience?

See, even my post title is off.  Should be 'How to transition.."

Start by learning the difference between "Gender" and "Genre"?  An important distinction when shooting "erotic style"

If shooting in this genre feels right, take the advice of the person who suggested hiring an experienced model and learn from her.

Apr 24 13 10:09 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,814
Houston, Texas, US


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
See, even my post title is off.  Should be 'How to transition.."

I took that as a Freudian Slip smile

Apr 24 13 10:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wolfy4u
Posts: 1,102
Grand Junction, Colorado, US


A few years back, I hired a model to do a glamor nude shoot and when she showed up I realized that I was feeling extremely tired and weak. I didn't want to cancel her at that late time, so I told her the problem and how it might affect my shooting.

She said, "Don't worry about a thing. I know what you want, and I'll take care of everything. Just click the button when you see what you like." I did as told, and simply recorded her poses, and in two hours we ended up with over 600 images and 98% of them were more than usable. I just had to pick the ones I liked best.  I just sat in a chair with my trusty 18-135 DX lens and let the camera, lens and model do all the work. Keep in mind, that for an experienced model, erotic is the easiest style of all.

This same model and many more like her, would be perfect for your first few explorations into erotic images.
Apr 24 13 10:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L A U B E N H E I M E R
Posts: 8,742
Seattle, Washington, US


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
Sorry in advance if this fall under the 'stupid questions' category but here it is.
I'm interested in shooting more erotic style work and am a bit unsure about how to make the transition.  I've been doing mostly black and white figure nudes and have been learning the language of posing and model direction etc.  But I have two issues.  One, It's a new area for me and I haven't got an artistic vision yet and Two, I'm not sure how to direct a model to do things I haven't yet done.
Any tips from your experience?

See, even my post title is off.  Should be 'How to transition.."

not how. when.

just do it.  unless you are a creeper, you should be fine.

Apr 24 13 10:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Andy Welch
Posts: 271
Richmond, Virginia, US


Sita Mae wrote:

I concur with this.  One of the big problems I see with male photographers who are tentative with female models is that they're afraid to articulate exactly what they want, which can result in mismatched expectations and frustration.  Even if all you can do is point to a couple of example photos and say, 'I want to hire you for work like THIS,' try to be specific.

+1

Apr 24 13 10:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M i t c h T a r r
Posts: 179
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, US


Thanks for the comments.  I think the feedback to hire experience might be the best way to start out.  Then I can apply my thinking to what I want to create without worrying about getting the communication right in the first few rounds.
Apr 24 13 10:39 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kincaid Blackwood
Posts: 23,371
Atlanta, Georgia, US


As Sita said: be as detailed as possible. To do that, you're really going to need to think things through. If that means having reference photos to point to and reading about concepts then so be it. Then write it out. Don't say that it's stupid if you're having trouble because when it works: it ain't stupid.

Writing it down clarifies it for you and helps you make sense of the ideas. It will tell you a lot about what you are going to shoot and how you think things through. Besides, you can't be squeamish about expressing your ideas if you're going to shoot someone's bootyhole. Not saying you are going to shoot that, but I do and I can say from experience that once you start getting into concepts involving the nitty-gritty, intimate crevices, you just learn to lose your shyness and how to present it with equal parts tact and candor.

Once it's written down, start talking about it. See how it sounds when you speak it aloud, even to yourself. Because if you can't get over weirdness and speak about it plainly, you'll have an awkward time directing models. Some of them are just as nervous as you, the difference is that they're in front if the camera and you don't get to say that you feel more awkward about it. The more comfortable you are with what you shoot, the clearer you are with your ideas, the more relaxed they'll be and the better your photographs will turn out.

And always have some good music on hand. It relaxes you and them.
Apr 24 13 10:53 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Laura UnBound
Posts: 27,367
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
Thanks for the comments.  I think the feedback to hire experience might be the best way to start out.  Then I can apply my thinking to what I want to create without worrying about getting the communication right in the first few rounds.

Oh no. You should still be getting the communication right.

The thing you dont have to worry so much about when hiring a model is delivering a useable end product back to the model.


Communication is always key, even when hiring professionals. I still wont take a paid job from someone who cant actually tell me what the hell Im being paid FOR, because, especially when it comes to erotica, if I dont hear exactly what Im supposed to be doing when I show up, I might as well be putting myself in a position with a guy who thought he was hiring me to do things completely unassociated with modelling.... which as you might have seen from the forums happens all the time on MM



You need to determine what "erotic" actually is to you.

Id personally consider both of these to be in the erotica category...and theyre not even "adult" images

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110524/13/4ddc14f06d33a_m.jpg
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/080729/20/488fb19eda5f9_m.jpg


Or you could have the ever-popular "pretend youre masturbating" shots that are super explicit.

If you say to me "I want to shoot some erotica" I have no idea if Im expected to do the former or the latter, or both, or neither, or something super hardcore with a midget and a traffic cone that I wont even do....

So, communicate. Communication with an experienced model is *easier* because you pretty much cant offend us when you say "I want to take macro images of your vag, and then I want you to pretend to masturbate, and then I want you to bring your boyfriend over and actually fuck his brains out while I take nasty photos of it". We would rather hear specifics than vague "sexy, erotic, mysterious dark and edgy" nonsense when you actually just mean you want to do a blurry gyno shot and the reality is youre going to have to shove your camera all up in our business.



Figure out at least the general idea of WHAT you want to photograph...like examples above, so she can at least show up knowing what shes supposed to be doing.  develop your "style" how you see fit and communicate as much of that as you want.

Apr 24 13 11:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 7,235
New York, New York, US


KevinMcGowanPhotography wrote:

I'll take that as a Freudian Slip smile

What he said!

Apr 24 13 11:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 7,235
New York, New York, US


Making the transition? No transition - just think naughty and you got it!....
Apr 24 13 11:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,116
Tampa, Florida, US


Laura UnBound wrote:
Or you could have the ever-popular "pretend youre masturbating" shots that are super explicit.

Oh no, pretend?  That explains a lot.

Seriously though...your advice is always spot-on.

Apr 24 13 11:36 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Laura UnBound
Posts: 27,367
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


M Pandolfo Photography wrote:

Oh no, pretend?  That explains a lot.

Seriously though...your advice is always spot-on.

well...thats up to her wink

Ive had people tell me to pretend to masturbate, which I then do, and then Ive had people tell me to actually masturbate...which I then pretend to do....because frankly nobody actually looks hot while doing the real thing. Its actually sort of boring to watch. Faking it makes prettier pictures.

Apr 24 13 11:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AVD AlphaDuctions
Posts: 10,541
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada


Laura UnBound wrote:

well...thats up to her wink

Ive had people tell me to pretend to masturbate, which I then do, and then Ive had people tell me to actually masturbate...which I then pretend to do....because frankly nobody actually looks hot while doing the real thing. Its actually sort of boring to watch. Faking it makes prettier pictures.

still wondering about those midget/traffic cone images....

Apr 24 13 11:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,554
Salem, Oregon, US


hire a model who works in that genre. don't be shy. get what you need. direct the model to spread her legs, insert the toy or whatever you want. and the model may do things without prompting. and regardless of how steamy it may start to feel on set remember to keep it professional.

but to me the key is to be on the same page with the model about the nature of the shoot.

i'm aware of mayhem photographers who also shoot POV porn but i don't think that's allowed on here.
Apr 24 13 12:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Demeter Photography
Posts: 550
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


Laura UnBound wrote:

Oh no. You should still be getting the communication right.

The thing you dont have to worry so much about when hiring a model is delivering a useable end product back to the model.


Communication is always key, even when hiring professionals. I still wont take a paid job from someone who cant actually tell me what the hell Im being paid FOR, because, especially when it comes to erotica, if I dont hear exactly what Im supposed to be doing when I show up, I might as well be putting myself in a position with a guy who thought he was hiring me to do things completely unassociated with modelling.... which as you might have seen from the forums happens all the time on MM



You need to determine what "erotic" actually is to you.

Id personally consider both of these to be in the erotica category...and theyre not even "adult" images

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110524/13/4ddc14f06d33a_m.jpg
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/080729/20/488fb19eda5f9_m.jpg


Or you could have the ever-popular "pretend youre masturbating" shots that are super explicit.

If you say to me "I want to shoot some erotica" I have no idea if Im expected to do the former or the latter, or both, or neither, or something super hardcore with a midget and a traffic cone that I wont even do....

So, communicate. Communication with an experienced model is *easier* because you pretty much cant offend us when you say "I want to take macro images of your vag, and then I want you to pretend to masturbate, and then I want you to bring your boyfriend over and actually fuck his brains out while I take nasty photos of it". We would rather hear specifics than vague "sexy, erotic, mysterious dark and edgy" nonsense when you actually just mean you want to do a blurry gyno shot and the reality is youre going to have to shove your camera all up in our business.



Figure out at least the general idea of WHAT you want to photograph...like examples above, so she can at least show up knowing what shes supposed to be doing.  develop your "style" how you see fit and communicate as much of that as you want.

You have epic levels of wisdom, and explain things in a way that anyone can understand.  smile

Apr 24 13 12:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Looknsee Photography
Posts: 21,528
Portland, Oregon, US


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
One, It's a new area for me and I haven't got an artistic vision yet

It's a dirty job, but you've got to look at a lot of erotic art, and create a list of the stuff you like.  "Deconstruct" the best ones:
...  Figure out how it was lit,
...  Examine the composition; articulate why you like (or dislike) it,
...  Imagine what happened immediately before & after the exposure was made,
...  etc.


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
Two, I'm not sure how to direct a model to do things I haven't yet done.  Any tips from your experience?

...  Start with models you know & are comfortable with.
...  Start with models who are experienced in erotic posing.
...  Be prepared; even though you aren't touching the models, it will still feel intimate.
...  Work with "real" couples or with models who know & are comfortable with each other.
...  Everyone should know & respect each other's limits.
...  Use your "direction" to set up the scene; make it simple & dramatic.  Let the models enact
     the scene while you snap away.
...  Continuous action is better than start & stop action.  The models should continue to go
     forward between exposures.
...  I like kissing pictures; that's a good place to start.
...  Don't get hooked into showing everything...

http://www.looknseephoto.com/oregon/2008/aa01/aa01d_0342col700.jpg

Apr 24 13 12:42 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


M i t c h T a r r  wrote:
Sorry in advance if this fall under the 'stupid questions' category but here it is.
I'm interested in shooting more erotic style work and am a bit unsure about how to make the transition.  I've been doing mostly black and white figure nudes and have been learning the language of posing and model direction etc.  But I have two issues.  One, It's a new area for me and I haven't got an artistic vision yet and Two, I'm not sure how to direct a model to do things I haven't yet done.
Any tips from your experience?

See, even my post title is off.  Should be 'How to transition.."

That makes no sense to me. The drive to transition to a different genre comes from an artistic vision.

Apr 24 13 12:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
afplcc
Posts: 5,999
Fairfax, Virginia, US


Laura UnBound wrote:
well...thats up to her wink

Ive had people tell me to pretend to masturbate, which I then do, and then Ive had people tell me to actually masturbate...which I then pretend to do....because frankly nobody actually looks hot while doing the real thing. Its actually sort of boring to watch. Faking it makes prettier pictures.

I'm shocked--just shocked!  You mean models actually "pose" and pretend at times?  I thought their expressions were all real and spontaneous.  Seriously though, Laura once again offers lots of golden nuggets of good advice in this thread.

1.  Define in your mind what you mean by erotic.  This is one of those phrases like "edgy" that means something different to different people.

2.  Be upfront with the model about what you want to do.  Lots of models check "no nudes" but yes to "erotic" b/c for them, "erotic" means "sexy, glamorous, HOT" but they're thinking of fashion or glamour or a version of pinup.  Granted, you can shoot erotic without being nude but let's being realistic....saying you'll shoot erotic but won't get nude is like saying you'll shoot lingerie but don't want to show any skin below the neck...you can do it it's a very artificial limit.  Make sure you and the model are on the same page in terms of expectations and concepts.

3.  My advice:  unless you're interpreting "erotic" to mean "adult, explicit, sexual nude", I've always thought of good erotic work as stylish.  So if that's what you buy in to (i.e.: erotic as stylish approaches to sexuality and nudity) it's going to require some thinking and preparation on your part to create the look that you want.  You'll need to master your lighting.  Or have special settings.  Or props.  Setup and prep becomes even more important.

4.  When in doubt, hire an experienced model who has done this work before.  You can never go wrong with that.  It shortens your learning curve.

One last comment:  I'm glad the OP indicated that he mis-typed the heading...that he meant to say "how" rather than "hot" b/c otherwise it's such a funny thread title that screams GWC.

Ed

Apr 24 13 12:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
MC Photo
Posts: 4,144
New York, New York, US


One thing I've learned is that the camera always captures reality honestly. If you take a picture of someone faking being aroused, you have a picture of someone faking being aroused. You may not be able to tell from looking at it, but you will always feel the difference. People often don't pay attention to the way they feel when they look at a photo so you can get away with it, but we really don't need any more fake erotic photos.


Why would someone shoot real erotic photos and genuinely be turned on in front of your camera and then have you post them all over the internet? That's the puzzle you have to figure out and it will be partially dependent on your personality. You will need to make a bond and have a personal connection with someone before you're going to get anything that stands a chance at being worthwhile.


Someone, I think David Le Beck, once told me that the way they got people involved in their projects was to tell them about the project as genuinely and sincerely and that when people understand it they often want to participate.

The thing that bothers me is when people make up a project just for the sake of shooting something they want to shoot. Don't make up some kind of nonsensical metaphor if you just want to shoot someone masturbating because you never have. If that's the reason you want to shoot, tell them "I want to shoot someone masturbating because I never have." That's a fully legitimate reason.

A random model is not going to help you out with that, but one who trusts you and finds you genuine will. They may do it with the stipulation that you can't show them or that they need to approve the ones you show, but that's a start.


Then you can sort out if it's something you want to shoot again and what's important to you and you can show prospective models what you've shot already.


Rather than think of it as something you make happen, think of it as something you earn through work, human connection and honesty.


Also, the best stuff never comes from asking. You have to let it just happen.
Apr 24 13 01:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M i t c h T a r r
Posts: 179
Lake Havasu City, Arizona, US


MC Photo wrote:
One thing I've learned is that the camera always captures reality honestly. If you take a picture of someone faking being aroused, you have a picture of someone faking being aroused. You may not be able to tell from looking at it, but you will always feel the difference. People often don't pay attention to the way they feel when they look at a photo so you can get away with it, but we really don't need any more fake erotic photos.


Why would someone shoot real erotic photos and genuinely be turned on in front of your camera and then have you post them all over the internet? That's the puzzle you have to figure out and it will be partially dependent on your personality. You will need to make a bond and have a personal connection with someone before you're going to get anything that stands a chance at being worthwhile.


Someone, I think David Le Beck, once told me that the way they got people involved in their projects was to tell them about the project as genuinely and sincerely and that when people understand it they often want to participate.

The thing that bothers me is when people make up a project just for the sake of shooting something they want to shoot. Don't make up some kind of nonsensical metaphor if you just want to shoot someone masturbating because you never have. If that's the reason you want to shoot, tell them "I want to shoot someone masturbating because I never have." That's a fully legitimate reason.

A random model is not going to help you out with that, but one who trusts you and finds you genuine will. They may do it with the stipulation that you can't show them or that they need to approve the ones you show, but that's a start.


Then you can sort out if it's something you want to shoot again and what's important to you and you can show prospective models what you've shot already.


Rather than think of it as something you make happen, think of it as something you earn through work, human connection and honesty.


Also, the best stuff never comes from asking. You have to let it just happen.

This has become an extremely valuable conversation.  I'm glad I asked the question.  Thanks to all.

Apr 24 13 02:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jerry Nemeth
Posts: 27,839
Dearborn, Michigan, US


Shoot a porn model.  They can be erotic without trying very hard.
I photographed a well known porn model last year and wasn't trying to shoot porn.
I shot photos that can't be shown on MM.
She is in my portfolio but she has clothes on.   smile
Apr 24 13 04:31 pm  Link  Quote 
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