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What Is An Editorial Nude?

As I transition more to authoring new books, blogging and participating more on GarageGlamour.com, many photographers have noticed that as part of my “Farewell Photo Workshop Tour,” that we’ve included our editorial nude photography workshops in some locations. This has brought a few emails asking for some clarification.

Simply put, there are various forms (genres) of nude photography, including fine-art nudes (which others fall into also), implied nudes, glamour nude, Playboy nudes, editorial nudes, and just about anything you can add the word “nude” to at the end of it.  You name it, someone is teaching it—the problem lies not in nude photography, but many so-called glamour and nude photography workshops are just gang-bang shooting of cheesecake nude photos—and you wonder why there are some photographers labeled GWC’s, guys with cameras?

Unfortunately nude photography is being diluted daily, so I decided that I’d add editorial nude photography years ago as a different workshop than my “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops—and after conducting almost 500 photography workshops, seminars and lectures around the world in the past 12-years, I think I’ve got a good hand on what is what when it comes to photography.

In the case of editorial nude photography, it’s basically nude images that help convey some meaning, not sex, not porn, but true meaning including sometimes the mood of the subject.  These types of images often tell a story, and sometimes have a great story behind them. It’s about mood, emotion, storytelling, lighting, shadows, and sometimes even controversial, though I tend to avoid the latter.

At my Editorial Nude photography workshops, we work with simple lighting modified normally with 7-inch metal reflectors and metal grids.  The concept is to use shadows in your favor, tell the story, and to get away from marking the treasure map “X” on the floor—in other words, we don’t want you just standing there, we want you moving around the subject so you can see how the “Angle of Incidence Equals the Angle of Reflection” physics law come to play in photography.  We also ask you to turn your camera, not just plain horizontal or vertical images.

These types of images you could sell in art galleries, these are not cheesecake glamour nudes, these photos help you create are artistic but more important, solid and worthy of hanging in art galleries.

Now when we do your “Glamour, Beauty and the Nude” themed workshops, we use larger light modifiers, like 7-foot Chimera Octaboxes, 4-foot by 6-foot softboxes, beauty dishes, ringflash, California Sunbounce Pro reflectors and the list goes on—normally lighting used for editorial nudes is not the type we’d use in glamour photography.  Still not sure, well please visit EditorialNudes.com, my editorial nude photoblog that I just launched—it’s expanding with more images, so please be patient.  For now, since we don’t want to upset Google advertising, we can’t post images here, but you can find them at EditorialNudes.com.  Thanks, Rolando

Photo Workshop and Party at the Palms!

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag.  Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Photo of Mari, art direction, Playboy photographer Arny Freytag. Photo taken after the Phoenix Mansion photography workshop.

Note: Just announced, next Phoenix Mansion Shoot with Arny Freytag. (info here)

I just returned from a fabulous photography, semi-private instructional workshop featuring Playboy’s top photographer, Arny Freytag.  On occasion, Arny comes out and guest instructs at some of our photography workshops, most recently the Las Vegas and Los Angeles photography workshops.  Next month he’ll join us for a day as a guest instructor at the Los Angeles (workshop info here) photography workshop held at a 6,000 sq.ft. studio location with six gorgeous models including Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and American Idol star, Amy Davis.

Arny also indicated he’ll make an appearance at our Las Vegas workshop and birthday bash celebration this August at the Palms Casino where we’re alway treated well from the owner and staff. This will be our third photography workshop at the Palms Casino and at our Dec. 2009 glamour photography workshop, Arny spent two days instructing our attendees as we photographed models in the luxurious, 6,200 sq.ft., Sky Villa Penthouse suite—in fact, some of those images are in my new photography lighting book, Rolando Gomez’s Lighting for Glamour Photography: Techniques for Digital Photographers.

The Palms Casino and Palms Place always provide for some great shooting and touring of the clubs for all the attendees, and this photography workshop will be the best as Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I will be celebrating our birthdays on Saturday evening throughout the casino along with a few other Leos who have their birthdays very close to ours.  The workshop is on Friday and Saturday, then more fun begins Saturday evening as we head out to tour the clubs at the Palms like the Rain, The Lounge, Moon, Ghost Bar, Satellite Bar, and even the Playboy Club.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

Playboy photographer Arny Freytag, Palms Casino Owner Gavin Maloof, Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough and I at Gavin's house.

We’ve got a few slots left, so we hope to see you there, so far the guest list is looking great and our models Holley, Amy, Mari, Candice, Eleya and Heather are looking forward to pose for all those digital cameras.  We might even add a few more models to make it fun and exciting for everyone! We’ll even have our top make-up artist, Stephanie Dawn. All attendees get special room rates, so there will be no need to leave the Palms Casino during this weekend workshop and celebration.

Hopefully you’ve signed up before we run out of spaces, but regardless, don’t forget our men and women in uniform who make all our freedoms possible along with the sacrifices of their families and friends, God Bless! Rolando

Monte Zucker Had Some Great Advice

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough illuminated from the side.  Lighting is the sun during the Golden Hour in the Moab.

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough illuminated from the side. Lighting is the sun during the Golden Hour in the Moab.

Earlier this year at a photography event my seminar on “The Art of Lighting for Impact” followed Clay Blackmore’s spectacular lighting demonstration.  Clay, a Canon Explorer of Light, and I were using the same studio, so we assisted each other. While listening to Clay and observing his demonstration, he said something that stuck to me to this day that he learned from our mutual friend, the late Monte Zucker, known in the photo industry as the “Prince of Portraiture.”

Clay reminisced how Monte, who held the Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), always taught him that the greatest photos are the ones where the main light comes from the back, or the side, not necessarily the front.  I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, especially since Monte and a few other photographers and I were involved with an old business so I knew Monte well.

Photographers around the world miss Monte who earned the 2002 Photographer of the Year Award from the United Nations.  He was one of the greats and before his death “initiated the Zucker Institute for Photographic Inspiration, a charitable organization dedicated to inspiring at-risk youths through photography.”

Often I think about the conversations with Monte, but the day Clay spoke, I thought about some of my photos and sure enough, my better photos have a strong light from the side or back. I also remembered Monte making a similar statement to me at Photo Plus Expo one year about light from the back or sides and it seems like every time I pick up the camera to photograph someone, I immediately look at the light in a different manner than I did before.

It’s funny how I’d forgotten those words and how Clay’s spreading of the gospel of photography reminded me—obviously the best way to become a photographer is by practicing your craft, but also be hearing things in repetition and over time.  That’s why events like Photo Plus Expo are worth attending, perhaps you’ll see me there this year as I’m a speaker there once again.

Shelby illuminated from sun filtering light through a window in the Virgin Islands.

Shelby illuminated from sun filtering light through a window in the Virgin Islands.

Hence, I’ll repeat it today, if you want to capture some great photos, look at the direction of the light, then ask yourself, “Where is it coming from?”  If you see light coming from a nearby window, reposition your subject if you’re taking a portrait and place them near that light source and try to use that natural, diffused window light as the main light, but have it come from the side.

If you’re outdoors and you place your subject underneath a tree to take advantage of the open shade, turn their back toward the sun and have your subject move back far enough where the sun falls on their hair and shoulders, perhaps providing some nice accent or rim lighting, then fill your subject’s face in with light reflected from a California Sunbounce reflector or perhaps from the light of your on-camera flash or if you’re fortunate enough, from the flash of a portable studio power pack like a Hensel Porty Premium or a Broncolor Mobile A2R.

One of the greatest photography accessories for digital cameras today that I also like to carry, especially when working outdoors (though I use it in the studio too as my eyes aren’t as young as they used to be) is a HoodmanUSA, HoodLoupe 3.0.  While many photographers have loupes leftover from the film days of viewing slides on a light table, these are not the same as the HoodLoupe which doesn’t magnify pixels, as it uses three German glass lenses that give a true 1:1 viewing ratio.  This viewing ratio is important because when you “chimp” (view your images on your LCD screen while shooting), your pixels aren’t magnified. Magnified pixels from cheaper loupes create large dots from your screen’s pixels and it will throw you into a loop as you’ll misjudge your focusing.

And for those that claim to be more purest and don’t chimp but only use their LCD screens to verify their image histograms, these Hoodman loupes provide a glare free environment and come with an adjustable diopter of +/- 3, which comes in handy with eyeglass wearers like myself. When I’m looking for that sidelight outdoors, I usually have that HoodLoupe attached securely around my neck with the comfortable lanyard it comes with and I never worry about it banging around as it’s made of a user friendly rubber.

If you’re not fortunate to find that big mesquite or oak tree, like the kind we have in South Texas, then hopefully you can capture a great sunset shot with the subject’s back toward the sunset and by simply dragging your shutter (slow your shutter-speed down as the flash duration is the actual shutter-speed for your subject and the camera shutter-speed controls the ambient light) and increasing your aperture value (F/Stop) to match or by closing your lens aperture down another half to full stop and compensating with fill-flash to match (think overpowering the sun with flash).  Your sunset should back light your subject, thus your image should be amazingly appealing to any audience if done correctly.

During one of my Virgin Islands, Glamour, Beauty and the Nude photography workshops, I captured this image of Playboy model Ashly with the sun from behind.

During one of my Virgin Islands, Glamour, Beauty and the Nude photography workshops, I captured this image of Playboy model Ashly with the sun from behind.

Well that’s a photo tip for you today on lighting and the use of a proper loupe for previewing your images and histograms.  Hopefully Monte’s method of using side and back lighting will stick in the back of your head like it does to mine since Clay reminded me.  While Monte, also a Canon Explorer of Light, is resting in a better place, his words of photography wisdom are not forgotten.  I wish everyone the best, and don’t forget our service members, their families and friends, without them we’d have no freedoms and we’d certainly miss a lot of light.  Thanks, Rolando

How It Was Done

Coming soon, in this section, I’ll be adding a photo from my portfolios, at random, and how it was done. This section, will eventually include, not only the finished photo, but how it was done, from the lighting set-up, the rigors, challenges, and the experience. So stay-tuned, as we continue to revamp the site for your enjoyable experience.