8 Considerations for Potential Nude Models

Becoming a nude model has been one of the most rewarding, satisfying things I have ever done. I love the art I am able to create because I am a nude model. I love the people I have met and the opportunities that have arisen from my modeling. But as an experienced nude model who has done over 100 shoots, with the majority of those being nude, and having talked to many, many other nude models and read plenty of blogs and forum threads, these are the things that I think everyone who is considering posing as a nude model should probably know. As always these are my opinions and you may detect a hint of playful sarcasm.

Model: Dekilah, Photographer: Gary M Photo

1. Do not start posing nude in order to make money

It is true that you can make money modeling nude in most markets, even if you do not have the stats for fashion and such, but every nude model I have ever spoken to agrees that posing nude just for the money is not a good idea. You should pose nude because you want to, not because you think it will make you money.

2. People will find out. Your mother/brother/boyfriend/husband/boss/etc may find out

You need to be prepared for everyone you know to find out you pose nude. Even if you use a different name for your modeling, which I do generally recommend, you still need to assume that people will find out. You need to be prepared for this to happen. If you are going to lose your job or  if your parents are going to kick you out of the house if you pose nude, you need to consider whether posing nude at this time in your current situation is a good idea.

3. You can always pose nude later, but you can not take it back once you do it

If you are not sure, you can always wait, but once you pose nude, you can not take it back. So many times I hear of nude models who do a few shoots, then start dating a different guy or their parents find out, and they demand the photographers remove all photos of them. If a photographer does this, they are doing it out of kindness. They are not generally legally obligated to do so, at least in the US. If you think this may be your situation, you need to reconsider posing nude at this time. Many models do wait and I think most of them are quite alright with their decision to put it off until a better time.

4. You will be tempted to go outside your limits, but you really need to set hard limits that you will stick to

At some point you may be tempted to break your limits for some reason (usually money), but this is not something you should do on a spur of the moment decision. You also need to know which of your limits are negotiable and which are hard limits. Hard limits are limits that you will not break. They are not negotiable. Only you can make these decisions, and I cannot tell you what they might be.

If you’re looking for more advice on this topic, please read my article on limits: New Model Guide: Your Modeling Limits.

5. Many models do have relationship/dating issues that have to do with their nude modeling

Some significant others are very supportive and understanding. Some are jealous. In general, I do not think you should be in a relationship with someone who does not support you. But I also think you have to decide what is most important to you.

If you are dating and modeling nude, most people agree that you need to tell the other person at some point. When you do this up to you. Some people think it is best to do so right away, some think you should wait until it is more serious, others see the right time as somewhere in between. I think you know your relationship best and you probably have the best idea of when is a good time for you.

6. People will probably make some weird/incorrect/annoying/inappropriate assumptions about you

When people find out you model nude, some of them will assume some things that probably are not true. For example, I have heard/experienced people assuming the following based solely on someone being a nude model: that you are sexually promiscuous, that you are a party animal, that you are anorexic, that you sleep with some/all of the photographers you shoot with, that you shoot porn, etc. We all handle these differently. I choose to find them amusing most of the time. Sometimes I will simply state that I feel confident in what I do and give them a short bit on my reasons for posing nude and in the styles I do.

7. You have to be comfortable in your skin and learn your body

As a nude model you are completely exposed, often to people you do not really know. You have to be comfortable posing in your own skin.

You also need to learn about your body. Learn what angles and poses work for you. This is something that comes in time, but you do need to work on it. You cannot control the angles and lighting the photographer shoots with, but you can make sure you do not do things that are generally unattractive, such as hunching over making your stomach fold (unless that is the point of the shot).

8. You will need to be comfortable talking about your body

I have talked to people about my butt, my breasts, my pubic hair, and my labia. I do this straight-faced, and matter-of-fact. It is just part of being a nude model. You have to be able to talk about your parts.


Dekilah has been an art model since 2009. She has worked with over 100 photographers, ranging from the newest of the new to hobbyists and highly-skilled professionals. She is also very active online and in person reaching out to newer models and photographers to help them learn to communicate well and to avoid common issues in the modeling industry. Her website is

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22 Responses to “8 Considerations for Potential Nude Models”

  1. June 30, 2018 at 2:38 pm, tsigili said:

    This is one of the better articles on MM.

    The primary reason to model nude should be obvious, but it seldom is. You are contributing to creating art, in collaboration with a photographer. To do that, you must be comfortable in modeling nude, discussing your “parts”, and how to make you look your best, in the project. There is no such thing as a “perfect body” and the photographer will ordinarily want to make you look your best, and the more you work together, the better the results will be.

    If you are bothered by having support people on the set, you need to get over that, as well, as often, hair and make-up, assistants, stylists, and other professional contributors may also be involved in the shoot, while you are “exposed”. (They may be of either gender.) Depends on who’s paying the bill on the shoot. If the photog is paying, then the budget may be more limited for support staff. I usually have at least my wife assisting.

    Remember that different photographers will have different goals in doing their shoots, so you might find some projects to be pretty straight forward, while others may be quirky, or unusual.

    The shot is a collaboration of effort, and both the model, and the photographic team, must work together to achieve the desired goals.

    Usually, such shoots are booked for a period of time, perhaps with additional time optional. I like to work in half-day time frames, but sometimes, if the model is holding up well, I will break for lunch and go the remainder of the day, if the model has allowed for extra time.

    I think that young models, 18-25, while preferred for a softer look, have more problems handling nudity, than models over 25, mostly due to lack of confidence, and trust issues, and I also find that most boyfriends are either not in favor, OR, they are entirely supportive, and may even be willing to pose with the model themselves. There is little room in the middle. There is no consistency to boyfriends, at all. Models over 25, have fewer issues with what a boyfriend says. Models that are married must work out that issue between them to begin with.

    I also disagree with the suggestion that safety is always an issue. If you are working with a real professional, that should NOT be the case. There is a huge difference between a photographer who is credentialed, and a guy with a camera. Especially if you have met the photographer in advance, and fully understand exactly who will be on the shoot. Few professional photographers will work entirely alone in today’s world, because of false accusations.


  2. June 28, 2018 at 10:06 pm, Lenard Nissenson said:

    Although this discussion is primarily about nude photo shoots and the good and the bad that may result, I would like to point out that most models who pose nude (myself included) do so in what might be considered “live performances.” I am a male art model who does most of my work on a small stage in college classrooms, for art students or artists, but I also have done some photo shoots on occasion. I am totally open with everyone I know that I pose primarily nude, and I often post censored images of myself on facebook or instagram. But art models who pose for art students do sometimes get the same rude and ignorant opinions about who they are and why they do what they do. I have not experienced it myself but I have heard of models (mainly female art models) who have been told by family members or other employers that what they are doing is somehow wrong or maybe immoral. Even though this is a bit off topic, I just wanted to mention this.other class of nude models, although often the two classifications overlap. Many models work in college classrooms, public drawing workshops, or pose for artists privately, also do photo shoots. One possible difference between posing in the classroom and exclusively for photo shoots may be that the art students are taught from day one to respect the model and do nothing that will embarrass the model. They are taught to honor the model for the hard work they are doing (like holding a pose for hours, or changing poses every 30 seconds), And approaching or touching the model while nude is universally unacceptable without the models approval. And in a college classroom setting we are not alone with a single person (like a photographer) where things could conceivably get out of control or dangerous. So it is usually a very safe place and it is extremely rare for rude or inappropriate things to happen. On the other hand you are often an anatomy lesson for the students so the instructor may on occasion approach you to point out anatomical features, but always with the models approval. So you have to be extremely comfortable with your body with dozens of eyes staring at you and someone pointing at this or that part of your anatomy. But for anyone who wants to experience nude modelling in a safe environment, art modeling in a classroom or at a public drawing workshop might be a safe way to start. Plus there is almost a shortage of art models so getting work is relatively easy., at least in my part of the country, Southern California.


  3. June 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm, Jon L. Miller said:

    Very good points made Dekilah, I’ve had the pleasure of being a fine art nude photographer for over 40 years and it has always been my policy to a) never mingle with the model unless she makes the moves first and even then I tend to decline due to the fact I do not need my name smeared in a negative way at any time during my career, b) I have taught a great of models the do’s and don’t’s when positing themselves. Some are more ok with their modesty verses others. As I work with models I tend to use the proper terminology to let models know what I need adjusted, no need in being vulgar. I used to work in the men’s magazine industry and unfortunately a lot of the photographers felt they can say whatever popped into their small minds and it was quite offensive to the models and in some cases the entire crew as well as the art director or photo editor. I’ve seen a lot of men dismissed due to their disrespect of the model they were working with. Common sense is the key and respect, they will get you further than being a jerk.


  4. June 01, 2016 at 7:07 pm, eyeamnicegirl said:

    I find that guys like the fact that there are gals willing to be nude models, except that a guy doesn’t appreciate the fact so much if it is HIS gal that is doing the nude modeling. Guys have a hard time understanding that it’s modeling and not prostitution, as the boyfriend/husband associates the nude state of the girlfriend/wife with “sex is soon to happen.”


  5. April 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm, tekwrite said:

    I think an important part that needs to be addressed is safety. I personally have no problem with a model bringing a non intrusive friend. This does NOT include a jealous BF; she should consider the relationship in this manner. If a BF does not approve then in what other areas might he be trying to control the model? I am no expert on the subject but I do not want a model to look back a few years down the road and say “I wish I had tried that!” BTW husbands make wonderful escorts. They enjoy the show and they know with whom they are going home. Big diff from an insecure BF. I DO think its a red flag if a photographer insists on no escort. I have heard some of the lamest excuses for why! “You dont take your friend to work with you?”. No, but I do not work with you everyday! “It kills the energy”> What kind of energy ARE we talking about anyhow? “I am such a well known photographer that I am shocked you would ask to bring a friend”. Better to be safe. Most of the models I work with do not bring a friend but with me they know they CAN. So my fellow photographers dont get your briefs in a wad if the model asks to bring a friend when she is taking her clothes off for your shoot.

    Back to safety. Check a photographer out and his references. If you get a gut feeling about it being a bad or unsafe shoot, GO with your wonderful womanly intuition! Make sure you and the photographer are on the same page about boundaries before you take your clothes off. The female figure is a unique and wonderful living work of art. To be appreciated AND respected.


    • May 26, 2016 at 9:14 am, PSPS said:

      The good thing I find about having a friend the model is comfortable with there is if I need something in a delicate place moved without disturbing the models position then I don’t have to get hands on and we can get the shot a bit quicker.


  6. April 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm, Debbie Sternberg said:

    I agree this is definitely not something to do because you just want money. I have a couple shoots i did nude just to get some money when i was really broke that i feel really bad about. I did not feel comfortable and i also did not understand the art of nude modeling. It usually made me feel wrong and taken advantage of either but there wasnt anything i could about it and i would be more agitated that the photographers put you on the spot with signing papers to them about the pictures. I dont do it anymore but might do it much more for the art later and definetly NOT a get quick money option…


  7. April 13, 2016 at 11:43 am, Maleko Wine said:

    Great article! It’s good to see some written guidance. Keep up the great work. I resonate with all the points but I have to identify with point 6 for many reasons. Primarily, some people tend to make incorrect assumptions about your preferences based upon your art. For example, because you pose nude as a guy you must be gay. Not just sex either. Because I pose nude I must drink and smoke pot was one that struck me as rather random. As for the age thing, I haven’t found as firm an example as Leslie has. My previous girlfriend developed a significant issue with it after talking with her “friends”.


    • April 19, 2016 at 8:03 pm, Dekilah Divine said:

      I’ve experienced the same thing in terms of people making assumptions about me. Sometimes I call myself a boring nude model because I don’t drink, smoke, party, etc. People make so many assumptions that really aren’t true for the vast majority of us. Nude models are people just like any one else, we’re all different.


  8. April 13, 2016 at 9:38 am, Matt said:

    What -I- think is that every woman ought to know is that sometimes a man just has to get some, and any dame who whips it off should know that if you don’t want the Charmin squeezed, you don’t put it on the shelf. Just sayin’.


    • April 13, 2016 at 11:36 am, Laura Dynamite said:

      Wow. And there it is: the most ignorant, sexist thing I’ve read all day! I sincerely hope you are NOT a photographer!


      • June 23, 2018 at 10:22 am, Douglas Beasley said:

        Agreed. As a man and as a photographer I vehemently disagree with the ignorance displayed by you. Shockingly ignorant but maybe that was your way of trying to stir up controversy? It saddens me to know there are people who think this way out there.


    • April 13, 2016 at 11:43 am, Brian Kung said:

      This is a prime example of rape culture. You’re basically saying that women should just accept that they’re going to be used for sex without their consent.


    • April 13, 2016 at 11:58 am, Guy said:

      What a sexist mysogonistic remark. Women are not sex objects and do not deserve to be treated like one just because they take their clothes off. My wife and I are nudists and just because we don’t wear clothes does not mean we are inviting someone to have sex with us. I agree with the other remark that I hope to hell you’re not a photographer. Because you sound like a rapist.


      • June 23, 2018 at 10:19 am, Douglas Beasley said:

        Completely agree.


    • April 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm, Lisa said:

      It is incredible that a “man” would still hold these views. I guess though he is only speaking for himself- most of the men I know don’t resort to rape when they need to “get some.”


    • April 13, 2016 at 2:20 pm, shirtfree said:

      Hey, Matt, you are a real Neanderthal.


    • April 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm, Frank said:

      Hey Matt I do nude modelling work want to have a squeeze of me? Dickhead!


    • December 01, 2017 at 6:49 pm, David Rich said:

      It is so strange how there are such a wide diverse scope of men out there. I have shot dozens of models who were clothed or not and I never touched the model in those situations. I see this as a precious or priceless gift they give us just to expose themselves to be captured so closely; where I may be looking up their nostrils in post production editing.

      I have never groped any woman I was not in a relationship with. Nor have I propositioned a model for an intimate encounter. Besides how messy those sort of encounters could get I also realize it is my reputation on the line as a respectful photographer; who does not try to push their boundaries. I also need to have a respect for the relationship with their SO.

      I worry about getting accused of something that did not happen, or a misunderstanding. Who is likely to believe me over the supposed victim?


    • June 23, 2018 at 8:48 pm, Jon L. Miller said:

      Not the least bit surprised by this statement considering the avatar being used.
      Unfortunately, like the avatar this is in poor taste.


  9. April 06, 2016 at 5:20 pm, Leslie Savage said:

    2 points.
    I find that women who pose nude with boyfriends or husbands over the age of 27 are very supportive. There are exceptions, but this is generally the rule.

    On point 8, I think this is very important. As a photographer I am trying to make you look your best. If you are timid about having some part of your body being photographed, normally the vagina area, then speak up. Just because you are nude, doesn’t mean you have to show everything, and be uncomfortable about it. Don’t feel you have to measure up to some kind of standard either. If you get it all off, and it doesn’t feel right, say so. This will put you in a better relationship with me, and we will do better photographs together, because you are more relaxed with the concept I respect your feelings.


    • April 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm, Dekilah Divine said:

      I think women who are past their teens/early twenties tend to be more assertive and are more likely to choose to date people who support them, so I’d say I agree with you (as you said generally, of course there are always exceptions).

      I think #8 is one that many, many people have difficulty with. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve patiently walked a male photographer through some generally acceptable terms for the pubic area, labia, etc. Those casual slang terms that the general public uses can be quite unsettling for someone who is posing, particularly if that someone is a newer model. I’ll never forget the first time a photographer said something about my “tits” and it totally caught me off guard because the way he said it was so casual and yet it still sounded so harsh. Now I’ve learned to interpret what people say and I just blip over the terms I don’t like.

      At the same time, I do feel that if someone seems disrespectful, it’s okay to speak up. “Hey, I don’t really like that word, can you maybe say _____ instead?” is a pretty good standard option.

      And I absolutely agree that it’s important to learn to speak up. Being assertive is a very, very important thing for nude models especially.


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