Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

Winner of Orvieto
 Photo Book Prize

Primo premio libro d’arte – Orvieto Fotografia 2008

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“In this absorbing and inspiring book Pascal Baetens reveals how to create stunning images, whether you are working in a basic room with just a camera or in a fully equipped photographic studio. He shows how to exploit every opportunity and overcome limitations – of equipment, models, location, and budget – and to achieve outstanding results […] A final section introduces 10 photographers from around the world who are renowned for their nude images. Each has created a picture especially for the book and these are accompanied by fascinating reportage-style storyboards that take you behind the scenes of each shoot. They explain how the image was achieved: the concept, preparation, and equipment, as well as how each photographer works with his or her model to achieve the shot they are aiming for.”

Nude Photography, the Art and the Craft has been translated into German, Norvegian, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. More

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

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About the book

For me, a successful image is one that has an immediate impact on the viewer, that grabs their attention, and makes them dream, smile, think, or simply enjoy it. I tend to think that technique, though important, plays a more humble role: it is the servant of the image.

Photographic technique is like a language. The more refined your language, the more subtly you can express yourself, but if you have no story to tell, no feeling to get across, your words will remain hollow. So my focus in this book is to make you aware of the artistic implications of your technical choices, rather than to discuss the photographic technicalities as such. There are plenty of tips to improve your pictures, but it’s mainly a guide for training your eyes to look at nudes with a photographic understanding.

Positioning your model with side light to sculpt his or her body with light and shadows, for example, has nothing to do with your equipment, but everything to do with understanding the possibilities and uses of light; where you place your model in the frame reflects your understanding of composition; guiding your model into expressing the atmosphere you want to create is all about your vision and communication skills; and so on. And you can work on all these elements with even the most basic of cameras. Once you’ve read about the history of nude photography, the many ways you can sharpen your vision, and how to bring a particular look and feel to your image, and when you’ve considered the postproduction techniques you might choose apply and looked at the gallery of how other photographers have approached this branch of photography, there is a final chapter yet to be written – by you.

I can only offer you a book full of photographic ingredients, and tips to help you discover more. Learn to choose them carefully, and to find the perfect mix for your images. Enjoy!

Parami, una fotografía exitosa es aquella que logra un impacto inmediato enel observador, que obtiene su atención, y lo hace soñar, reír, pensar o simplemente disfrutarla. Tiendo a pensar que esa técnica, aunque importante, juega un rol mas humilde: es el sirviente de la imagen.

La técnica fotográfica es como el lenguaje. Entre mas refinado sea tu vocabulario, te podrás expresar con mayor sutileza. Mi objetivo en estelibro es que seas consiente de las implicaciones artísticas de tu selección de técnicas, en lugar de discutir los tecnicis mos fotográficos. Hay un montón de tips para mejorar tus fotos, pero estaes mayormente una guía para entrenar a tus ojos para ver los desnudos con un entendimiento fotográfico.

Posicionar a tu modelo con una luz suave para esculpir su cuerpo con luz y sombras, por ejemplo, no tiene nada que ver con el equipo que usas, pero tiene todo que vercon el entendimiento de las posibilidades y usos de la luz; donde coloques tu modelo en el marco refleja tu entendimiento de la composición; guiando a tu modelo a expresar la atmosfera que quieres crear tiene que ver con tu visión y habilidades de comunicación. Y puedes trabajar todos estos elementos incluso con la mayoría de las cámaras mas básicas. Una vez que hayas leído sobre la historia del desnudo artístico, las muchas maneras que puedes enfocar tu visión, como traer un look particular a tu imagen, y cuando hayas considerado las técnicas de postproducción podrás escoger y ver la galería de otros fotógrafos y como han afrontado esta rama de la fotografía. Hay uncapítulo final aun por ser escrito.. por ti.

Solo puedo ofrecerte un libro lleno de ingredientes fotográficos y tips para ayudarte adescubrir mas. Aprende a escogerlos cuidadosamente, y a encontrar un amezcla perfecta para tus imágenes.

La tecnica fotografica è come un linguaggio. La tua lingua, può essere la più raffinata, ti puoi esprimere il più sottilmente possibile, ma se non hai nessuna storia da raccontare, nessuna sensazione da attraversare, le tue parole rimarranno vuote.

Pascal Baetens. L’arte e il mestiere


“There are few genres that spark more interest (both artistic and otherwise) and debate than that of Nude photography. Even the most subtle and beautifully lit yet abstract torso has the capacity to offend. However, the body possesses all the contours required to provide a fantastic canvas for creative lighting and composition, and has been inspiring artists and photographers for centuries. It’s for this reason that Pascal Baetens has chosen here to focus, primarily, on the techniques and artistry of the genre, rather than the technicalities. It begins with a history of nude photography – from the first daguerreotypes, through Man Ray’s solarized images, ending with a comment on what the future may hold. This is then followed with a comprehensive guide to different techniques for shooting nudes, and finally a photographer’s gallery featuring some of the best operators within the genre. Considering the often controversial subject matter, the book maintains an instructional air throughout – at no times featuring flesh-for-fleshsake and featuring some fascinating ‘behind the scenes’ tutorials to accompany the excellent images in the professionals’ gallery. What Digital Camera Rating: 90%” (What Digital Camera magazine)

Follow practical advice from nude photography experts and learn to create picture-perfect results every time with this master class in photographing the human form. Everything’s covered from buying the right equipment and working with amateur and professional models to creating your own studio at home or outdoors. Find tips on setting up a shoot, lighting effects and post-production techniques so you can turn a good picture into a great one. Get inspired by a stunning ‘Photographer’s Gallery’ featuring the work of an international panel of photographers from Giorgio Barolo to John Davis. (Penguin books Australia)

  “De Belg Pascal Baetens is gespecialiseerd in naaktfotografie en liep al lang rond met de plannen voor een handig, vlot leesbaar en vooral bruikbaar boek voor wie het genre deels al lezend onder de knie wil krijgen. Dat boek is er nu en de lat is hoog gelegd. Baetens legt perfect uit hoe hij te werk gaat en slaat zelden stappen over, zodat beginnende en gevorderde fotografen allebei iets kunnen opsteken uit de vele hoofdstukken. De belichtingstips en andere technische adviezen zijn helder geformuleerd, en waar het boek mee opvalt is de bijzondere aandacht die de fotograaf heeft voor de poses van zijn modellen. Uiteraard wordt ook uitgelegd hoe die worden bereikt. Met als bonus inspirerende foto’s van onder anderen Sylvie Blum en Andreas Bitesnich.”  (Snoecks 2009)

“I like this book. The images are well done, and Mr. Baetens knows the subject very well. I especially like the behind-the-scenes views he provides of the effort that goes into creating successful images. This includes discussing the shot with the model, creating a set and arranging lighting, shooting, and then editing images. A wealth of information is provided in a logical fashion. Some of the topics covered include choosing models, conveying a mood, outdoor lighting, and much, much more.  The images are well done, and a selection of images by other photographers is included. The models are attractive, and include male models so be aware there is male frontal nudity. I especially appreciate that Mr. Baetens does NOT spend a third of his book telling us what a camera is and describing all the varieties of lighting equipment and accessories. Thank you!  If photography is your passion, I think you’ll like this book. If photography of the nude interests you, I know you’ll like this book. Buy it.” (Al Nowak, USA)

“The latest photography offering from DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) is a glossy treatise on mastering the art of nude photography, from selection and approach to perfecting your chosen techniques and post-production tips and tricks. Author Pascal Baetens is a Belgian jack-of-all-trades who has specialized in portrait, fashion, travel, and nude photography in a range of industries (editorial, commercial, and private). The Baetens DK Nude Photography course opens with a historical perspective, followed by a lush academic discussion of nude photography styles. The meat of the book are sections on photography techniques (composition, lighting, posting, locations) and post-production (cropping, reframing, filtering, retouching).  This oversized 250+ page hardcover concludes with a gallery of nude photography featuring the works of ten international artists, accompanied by biographical information, artist’s notes, first-person essays, and behind-the-scenes set photos. Works of dozens of renowned artists appear throughout the instructional pages of this text, rendering it well-deserving of the cover price.” (Jessica Lux, Rosamond, CA, USA)

“Hi, I am a film student in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was lucky to have found his book “Naked, art and technique” (translation of the name of the book in Spanish). I want to say that your work has taught me a lot and inspired to take my photographs, both in handling light, imagine and reflect concepts of the beauty of human body through the eye of the camera. I apologize for my English and thank you for sharing your work and knowledge. Good luck.” (Aldo Hernandez, Guadalajara, Mexico)

Editorial Details

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

English edition

  • Published by DK, London, 2007
  • ISBN 9781405322188
  • 24,6 x 29 cm, 256 p, hardback
  • Follow practical advice from nude photography experts and learn to create picture-perfect results every time with this master class in photographing the human form. Everything’s covered, from working successfully with amateur and professional models to getting great results in your own home or outdoors. Find tips on setting up a shoot, lighting effects, and post-production techniques, so you can turn a good picture into a really great one. Get inspired by a stunning Photographer’s Gallery featuring the work of an international panel of photographers, from Andreas Bitesnich and Sylvie Blum, to Allan Jenkins and Almond Chu.

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

US/Canadian edition

  • Published by DK Publishing, New York, 2007
  • ISBN 978 0 7566 3176 5
  • 24,6 x 29 cm, 256 p, hardback
  • Follow practical advice from nude photography experts and learn to create picture-perfect results every time with this master class in photographing the human form. Everything’s covered, from working successfully with amateur and professional models to getting great results in your own home or outdoors. Find tips on setting up a shoot, lighting effects, and post-production techniques, so you can turn a good picture into a really great one. Get inspired by a stunning Photographer’s Gallery featuring the work of an international panel of photographers, from Andreas Bitesnich and Sylvie Blum, to Allan Jenkins and Almond Chu.

Aktfotografie, Kunst und Praxis

German edition

  • Published by DK Germany, Munich 2008
  • ISBN 978-3831013036
  • Eine einzigartige Mischung aus Bildband und Praxisbuch: anhand von über 650 inspirierenden und exzellenten Farb- und S/W-Aufnahmen werden alle wichtigen Aspekte der Aktfotografie anschaulich erklärt. Detaillierte Anleitungen zeigen, wie man Beleuchtung, Schärfe, Komposition, Posen, moderne Bildbearbeitungsverfahren und viele weitere Methoden richtig einsetzt um ein Modell meisterhaft in Szene zu setzen. Auf speziellen Themenseiten gewähren 10 der renommiertesten Fotografen weltweit einen Blick hinter die Kulissen ihrer Arbeit und beschreiben Schritt für Schritt die Entstehung einzelner Werke.

Aktfotografering, kunsten og håndverket

Norwegian edition

  • Published by Cappelen Damm, 2008
  • ISBN 9788204155177
  • Det trengs ikke noe avansert studio, siste nytt på ustyrsfronten eller profesjonelle modeller for å kunne ta flotte aktfotografier. I denne vakre boken viser Pascal Baetens hvordan du kan ta fremragende bilder, selv med begrensede ressurser. Fordyp deg i aktfotografiets spennende historie, og bli med bak kulissene når ti internasjonalt anerkjente fotografer demonstrere sine metoder og forteller hvordan noen av deres beste bilder ble til. Bokens kombinasjon av praktiske råd og eksempler i verdensklasse gjør den til en hovedbok innenfor emnet aktfotografering.

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

Chinese edition

  • Published by DK China, Beijing, 2009
  • ISBN 9781405322188

Fotografia de desnudo, el arte y la técnica

Spanish edition

  • Published by Akal Ediciones Sa, Madrid, 2010
  • ISBN 8496669629 & 978-8496669628
  • Para hacer fotografías de desnudos excelentes no se necesita un estudio equipado con los últimos avances, ni un equipo caro, ni modelos profesionales. En este bonito libro, Pascal Baetens enseña a realizar fotografías estupendas, con los recursos de que disponga. Opciones. ¿Color o blanco y negro? ¿Interior o exterior? ¿Luz natural o de estudio? Encuentre todas las respuestas y los consejos que necesita. Aspectos básicos. Aprenda a dar instrucciones a sus modelos, elegir y utilizar las localizaciones y componer la fotografía. Expectativas. Descubra la rica historia de la fotografía de desnudos y disfrute de la obra de diez fotógrafos de prestigio internacional que nos revelan sus técnicas y comparten algunas de sus mejores fotografías. Este libro combina detalles, instrucciones prácticas y ejemplos de primera categoría lo que lo convierte en una clase magistral sobre el arte y la técnica de la fotografía de desnudos.

Nu Artístico – Fotografia a Arte e o Talento

Portuguese edition

  • Published by Editora Altabooks, Rio de Janeiro, 2010
  • ISBN 978-85-7608-462-4
  • A técnica fotográfica é como uma linguagem. Quanto mais refinada, mais sutilmente você é capaz de se expressar; mas se você não tem nenhuma história para contar, nenhum sentimento para transmitir, suas palavras vão permanecer vazias. Por isso, o foco deste livro está em fazê-lo ciente das implicações artísticas de suas escolhas técnicas, muito mais do que discutir tecnicismos fotográficos por si sós. Há aqui muitas dicas para melhorar suas fotos, mas este livro é principalmente um guia, que vai treinar seus olhos a olhar com compreensão fotográfica. Posicionar seu modelo com luz lateral para esculpir seu corpo com luz e sombras, por exemplo, não tem nada a ver com seu equipamento, mas tudo a ver com a compreensão das possibilidades e usos da luz; onde você posiciona seu modelo reflete seu entendimento da composição; guiar seu modelo para que ele/ela expresse a atmosfera que você deseja criar trata de suas habilidades de visão e comunicação; e assim por diante. E você pode praticar todos estes elementos com a mais simples das câmeras. Depois de você ter lido sobre a história da fotografia de nu, sobre as várias formas de apurar sua visão, sobre como obter um efeito particular e poder expressá-lo na sua imagem, de considerar as técnicas de pós-produção que podem ser aplicadas e tiver olhado a galeria de outros fotógrafos e de como eles se aproximaram desta área da fotografia, há um capítulo final ainda a ser escrito – por você.

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

Korean edition

  • Published by Open Books, Paju Book City, Seoul, Korea, 2010
  • ISBN 978-89-90641-45-8

Nude Photography, the Art & the Craft

Taiwanese edition

  • 人体艺术之美! 光影构图摄影技法
  • Published by Jian Duan, Taiwan, 2010
  • ISBN 9789571044040

National Geographic: Master di Fotografia 16: Nudo

edited Italian edition

cover Master di Fotografia - National Geographic Italia

  • Published in the Collection ‘Master di Fotografia’, by National Geographic, Italy, 2018
    Gedi – Div. Repubblica
  • ISSN 977112860959880016
  • 23 x 23 cm, 176 p, softcover
  • Questo manuale è un’imperdibile guido per imparare tutto quello c’è da sapere sulla fotografia di nudo: da come lavorare con modelli sia amatoriali che professionisti a come ottenere magnifici risultati all’aperto e tra le mure di casa, da come allestire uno studio fotografico a come utilizzare incredibili effetti di luce. In questo libro troverai meravigliose fotografie delle forme del corpo umano e consigli pratici per inspirarti a creare dei veri capolavori.