By Mike Wilmer
Fellows, have you ever considered how your world might change if instead of turning on Leno at night, you turned your wife on by doing a classic portrait of her nude torso?
You say this idea has never crossed your mind? C'mon, just who do you think you're kidding? Ask any Jeff Foxworthy
fan about a man deep in thought and they'll tell you he's really only got two things on his mind: "I want a beer, and I want to see something naked!"
Hearing Foxworthy's famous line again got me to thinking, and I don't mean about having a beer. I thought, "Could it be that all of those guys shopping for Digital Cameras
are really just making certain they'll have something naked to look at when the beer gets cold?"
Think about it. A digital camera removes the barriers to doing personal nude photos. In the days when you used film, shooting nudes of your special someone was risky business. Not only did you have to worry about getting slapped when you suggested the idea, assuming she was willing, you then had the touchy problem of getting the film processed. What's to stop that sleazy-looking guy at the local 1-hour photo lab from making copies for all of his buddies?
But Digital Photography
lets you do everything in-house! (And if you were married to my wife, you'd know the true meaning of the phrase doing everything in-house
As for addressing that other littl problem—that of convincing your significant other that this is a good idea—the obvious place to start is, of course, flattery. Learn to say the following, with feeling, the next time your wife steps out of the shower: "Dear, have you lost weight?" Follow that up with, "Honey, have I ever told you how I just l-o-v-e the way your nude body looks in the morning light?"
Then when you pop the big question, you'd better be able to address a topic that's never before been broached in the confines of the bedroom, except in the context of a discussion like this one. That topic is computer security. After all, no way is your wife going to pose in the nude if she thinks the kids might find the pictures. And if there's the slightest possibility they'll get on the Internet, you can put the odds she'll pose in the buff up there with your chance of dating Angelina Jolie.
So how would you protect those files? As if your life depends on it! Because it will! As one traveler discovered when her portable hard drive was stolen out of her luggage, having unencrypted homemade porn and love letters on a hard drive is a lot like having unprotected sex. At best, you'll have some sleepless nights waiting for the blackmailer to call. At worst, you can gain a colorful reputation and may lose your job!
While there are lots of encryption solutions out there for different situations, one of the easiest prophylactics you can employ is WinZip
. WinZip is a utility that can zip a bunch of files together in an archive. It has easy-to-use, state-of-the-art AES encryption built right into it! But if that doesn't sound impressive enough to the little lady, be ready with this sure-fire line, direct from WinZip's Web site: "WinZip 9.0's advanced encryption uses the Rijndael cryptographic algorithm which was specified by the National Institute of Standards … as the
advanced encryption methodology." Sounds impressive, huh?
Then say, "Dear, had Paris Hilton's Blackberry
been protected by the Rijndael cryptographic algorithm, it never would have been hacked!"
This is where I'd better insert the obligatory "do not try this at home" disclaimer. A lot of people think photographing a nude is easy. Not so. Face the facts, fellows. If your wife is like mine, the years have generated a curve or two that wasn't installed by the factory. While you might truly love every beautiful bulge that a life with you helped generate, you can safely bet your F-150 pick-up that when your little darling looks in the mirror, she makes every effort not to see them! So are you really going to gain any brownie points if your newfound pastime points out all of her flaws? Not on your life!
So, before you get too carried away with shutter snapping, exercise a little due diligence by reviewing these tips on photographing the female form:
- Learn it and live it: Soft light is your friend. Larger light sources, relative to the subject, produce the softest light. That's why big windows are so nice to use as your primary light source. Of course, if your subject is bigger than the average window, you might be better off going outdoors and shooting in open shade. That big sky makes a wonderful light that will flatter even the most bountiful, big-boned beauty.
- Large reflectors can be used to bounce light into harsh shadows. Any large, white, flat surface will work. It isn't necessary to buy expensive photographic reflectors. Unless you're reenacting a scene from "Rosemary's Baby, try to always keep the reflector higher than your subject. The "light from Hell" look has its place, but not in a boudoir photo.
- Yes, the body really can bend and twist. Flat-footed, straight on shots of a less than perfect figure will almost always result in unflattering photos, so take your time posing your subject in a way that accentuates the positive. For example, if she's standing, have her place all of her weight on one foot, and then twist her hips so her other knee swings in front of the weight-bearing leg. Boys, this posing stuff is half the fun. And if you have trouble communicating what you want, employ TBSOBP (The Braille System of Body Placement). That's assuming you're photographing your sweetheart, and not someone else's!
- For all you digital manipulation fans out there, if you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, make it a priority to learn everything there is to know about the Liquefy Filter. If you ever dreamed that your wife was putty in your hands, you'll love the power Liquefy gives you. Using this magical tool, you can overcome significant shortcomings in your subject and your photography. But beware! If you give your 34B wife a 38D breast enhancement, trust me, there's not enough spin on Saturn to explain your way out of that one!
You can never really get too much education when it comes to the finer points of photographing the female form, so continue your studies with a copy of Classic Glamour Photography: Techniques Of The Top Glamour Photographers
, by Duncan Evans and Iain Banks. Then reach for Nudes (Pro Lighting Series)
by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz. Or if your subject is too shy for full nudity, try their Lingerie Shots (Pro-Lighting)
If actually reading
how-to books isn't high on your list of favorite activities, just remember that if your wife suspects you're just taking a shortcut to seeing something naked, you can bet there will be a rather lengthy pop quiz and your score had better be 100 percent!
Last but not least, to avoid having to watch even one episode of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
, call for next-day delivery of a Sexy Nightgown
from Victoria's Secret and stop off at Costco for bottle of wine and a couple bouquets of cut Flowers
. Finding fresh flowers in the bedroom will get things moving in the right direction. Then when she slips into that revealing Negligee
, have your camera ready!
By now you should have gotten the picture, both literally and figuratively, and be well on your way to sipping a cold one while looking at something naked!
In closing, I thought I'd share a personal note about the time my wife caught me looking at a pretty, young thing. Upon realizing she might be getting upset over the mere possibility I was thinking
and not just looking, I opened my big mouth and uttered a line I may have unwittingly borrowed from Foxworthy
. I said, "Honey, you know I like look'n at fancy Ferraris, but I'm perfectly happy driving a good, ol', reliable Honda!"
Yeah, I really did say that. And believe it or not, fellows, not only will shooting nudes of your wife spice up your personal life, if you make her look pretty enough, it can actually get you out of the doghouse. True, you might still be hobbling around with a big foot in your mouth, but at least you'll be doing it in your own bedroom!
Take our Photography Forum Poll, Have you taken a nude photo?Mike Wilmer is a Brooks Institute of Photography graduate, has been a professional photographer for over 3 decades, and established The Photography Forum in 1987.