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The Naked and the Lens: A Guide to Nude Photography [Paperback]

Louis Benjamin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 16, 2009 0240811593 978-0240811598 1
The Naked and the Lens is designed as both a technical guide and an artistic inspiration. Filled with beautiful images of the nude form, it also shows you how this can be technically achieved. The book covers key topics: concept, lighting, directing, post-production, and artisic re-interpretation and how to find models. Legal and photo release issues are covered as well.

The techniques are up-to-date, including Photoshop CS4, RAW capture and shooting with a gray card to capture accurate white balance information. The lighting section will also show how to get studio quality light from hot-shoe flashes by adapting them to umbrellas and soft boxes.

Regardless of whether you are shooting in a studio or in a field, this book will show you how to create works of art with nude bodies and it will also teach through advice in a unique interview section with leading nude photographers around the world through their words and their images.

Frequently Bought Together

The Naked and the Lens: A Guide to Nude Photography + The Art of Boudoir Photography: How to Create Stunning Photographs of Women + Posing Techniques for Photographing Model Portfolios
Price for all three: $77.26

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Editorial Reviews


"Finding a worthwhile text on the subject of photographing nudes can be as daunting and, ultimately, disappointing as finding a good cup of coffee in an unfamiliar locale. Focal Press has produced a book that can save photographers of any ability level precious searching time so that he/she can be out shooting instead. The Naked and the Lens is a paradoxically concise yet digestibly complete examination of nude photography that treats the subject matter with rightful professional respect. It strikes an uncommon and welcomed balance between the unwieldy and haughty tomes on this subject and the pamphlet-like publications whose cookbook approaches fail to provide critical context. A resourceful guide for photographers of the naked/nude form, The Naked and the Lens provides historical, technical, and practical information yet manages through careful image selection and unassuming writing style to be effectively engaging such that the reader may find it useful to keep a Post-It note pad at arm's reach!

"Rather than a photographer, I consider myself an artist who uses a camera. The Naked and the Lens is a book I would not only appreciate having in my library, but I would actually purchase it to give to amateur and professional photographer friends of mine for their own collections. It'll be dog-eared in no time!" - Charles Laurier Dufour, Fine Art Nude Photographer,

"As an experienced fine art nude photographer, I found the The Naked and the Lens to be a very comprehensive look on the subject. It covers the gamut from the basics of photography as applied to this genre to finding models and how to work with them to achieve the results you want. I use many techniques mentioned to achieve my own artistic vision. As someone who has moved from the film to digital world, I especially appreciate the emphasis on digital techniques in camera and post processing. I even learned some new techniques! I highly recommend the book to both new photographers starting to explore nude photography as well as experienced ones to refresh your knowledge on nude photography as an art form, or learn something new if you are exploring digital camera or post processing." - Eric Scott, Fine Art Nude Photographer,

"[A] must for any photography library."--Midwest Book Review

From the Back Cover

Achieve beautiful and professional results with the pivotal guide to capturing inspiring nude forms. Each stunning photograph shows you how each shot can be technically achieved, and that nude photography is limitless. This book covers everything you need to know, from concept to post-production, including lighting, direction, and artistic re-interpretations of the nude form. Find models and prepare for your shoots with the legal considerations every photographer should know.

RAW capture, post-production with Photoshop and shooting with a gray card to obtain the most accurate while balance, are covered in effective detail. You can obtain studio quality effects from the lighting section, such as making hot-shoe flashes by converting them into umbrellas and soft boxes. Through interviews with leading international nude photographers and practical advice The Naked and the Lens will show you how to create striking nude works of art.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (September 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811598
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great General book on Photography December 30, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Just finished reading through "The Naked and the Lens: A Guide to Nude Photography" and have to say it is an excellent book.

Unlike my wife Tracie (a great people photographer based in Dallas), I'm not really interested in shooting people. That said, this book provides some excellent advice and guidelines for shooting not only nudes but people in general.

Don't let the title fool you...this book is much more than just about shooting naked people. It provides a great deal of information on how to prepare for shoots (equipment, etc), what to do during shoots (how to work with people) and post processing skills for making those photographs pop.

Of course, the book has a lot of nudes in it. They are all done perfectly tastefully and artfully so don't worry about seening anything that might offend you.

If you photograph people, buy this book. It does much more than just talk about shooting nude teaches the skills needed by any photographer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars General Store approach to nude photography techniques January 21, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book richly covers the basics of studio equipment, lighting techniques, basic photography concepts, etc., and the book is ideal for beginners/students without much background in studio lighting, portrait, posing, etc. But if you are a seasoned photographer trying to expand the range of expertise, you may find this book to be rather broad and shallow. You might want to find another source more specific to your interest (e.g., fashion, maternity photo, fine art, etc.). That said, this book is probably more focused on the fine art approach than nude photography in any branch of commercial photography.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More about art than naked girls November 26, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book impressed me. The author spends a refreshing amount of time talking about art, whereas most books like this seem to focus more on using Photoshop to fix mistakes after the fact. It isn't until halfway though the book that the topic even turns to finding models, everything before that was art theory. The first half was filled with example photographs that featured the naked body, but it really was more about photography in general than nude photography.

I've bought a lot of books on portraiture and this book has some of the best descriptions I've read. The most common lighting, Rembrandt, is better defined here than I've seen it defined anywhere else. The rule of thirds and golden ratio are better illustrated than I've seen anywhere else. The descriptions of color temperature, and its effects on the images are better explained that I've seen anywhere else.

This is just a fabulous book. The first half is a must-read for anyone interested in portraiture. After that, it gets into the nitty gritty of nude and naked portraits, and so might not appeal to everyone.

The downside, is that the nude and naked portraits that permeate the book often seem a bit gratuitous and unrelated to the text.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Part of this book is outstanding... May 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Reviewing the book presented a quandary for me. I thought the text was excellent, inspired, in fact. I thought the photographs left much to be desired; uninspired and lacking in emotion or thought. The author is trying so hard in his photographs to be different, that he's forgotten that the human form is beautiful in its own right. The beauty and glamor are missing in most of the photographs. That's a bit of a disappointment in a textbook portrayed as a guide to nude photography; just so-so photographs. But as I said, the text is really exceptional. Louis Benjamin, the author, writes about nude photography so much better than he executes.

The text covers the gamut, from concept, to composition and lighting, working with models (legal issues to putting them at ease) and the considerations of digital photography. Benjamin includes a discussion of composition based on a comment that Szarkowski (former MoMA director) made decades ago. Benjamin is brilliant in his extrapolation of Szarkowski's statements -- and this book is filled with such gems. As a caution, though, approximately 20% of the book is dedicated to the technical aspects of digital photography, so this section will be of little value to film users.

If I just thumbed through this book at a bookstore, I'd probably just pass it by since I found the photographs to be so lacking. However, since I've had the opportunity to actually read it, I can actually recommend it -- with the reservations mentioned above.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The unclad still life December 1, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been a photographer for over fifteen years. This is a hobby that I picked up in a photography course I took in college. I like to think there are certain realms of photography I have mastered. I have never taken nude photos before, mainly because it can be difficult to find people who want to be photographed unclad. However some of my schoolmates were able to accomplish this feat, I never did.

When I saw this book it sparked my interest. This book doesn't only show nude photos (both in black & white and color), but techniques on nude photography. These techniques touch, yet aren't limited to lighting, framing and even using digital media to produce tasteful images.

As for the photos in this book, I would say they are rather stylish, nothing pornographic or disgusting. The majority of the subjects are females, maybe one or two photos of males. One of my favorite photos is a picture of a nude woman with a Boba Fett helmet on, very cool.

I wouldn't say this is "the end all book" of nude photography, but it is a wonderful place to start as a photographer or just to find something interesting to read. As a photographer, it has given me some interesting ideas for taking pictures (even if they don't involve nude subjects). Perhaps I will attempt an endeavor on nude photography......
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nude Photography Simplified
Working in the genre of nude photography is no easy task. The technical and lighting difficulties are subtly more complex than in other realms, which is where most problems begin. Read more
Published 18 months ago by JamesB
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot about the lens, not as much about the naked...
After my read through of The Naked and the Lens : A Guide For Nude Photography, I find myself thinking that the title was a bit misleading. Read more
Published on November 13, 2011 by Jeremy Hochhalter
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality work
I think every photographer who wants to take the nude photography path, should study this book. Different angles and lighting are shown clearly including some beautiful nudes.
Published on August 26, 2011 by Omiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, out standing as a photo tech guide.
Beyond the fact that the book features fine art nudes and the discussion thereof, it is also an incredible photographic resource with the amount of information it contains... Read more
Published on June 4, 2011 by James Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful & tasteful
This is a great inspiration guide for photographers who need fresh insight to this shooting style but may be terrified to try to do searches on Google for inspirational nude images... Read more
Published on April 21, 2011 by L. Wimberley
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of useful info
This book covers a lot of topics. Some topics, mostly about camera hardware, and other "basics" are covered briefly, but that coverage is well done. Read more
Published on March 30, 2011 by wes
5.0 out of 5 stars Just What I Needed to Get Started
I have been a landscape photographer for many years and recently have gotten an interest in photographing the nude in studio and, possibly, outdoors. Read more
Published on March 25, 2011 by JimSidinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Not Only for Nude Photography
I dog-eared many pages in this book. It is a great mix of theory and practicality. The chapter on working with models provides some concrete things to make sure you do. Read more
Published on February 8, 2011 by Celeste
5.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of both theory and practice
This book is designed as a go-to reference for novice, amateur, or even budding semi-professional photographers. Read more
Published on August 23, 2010 by T. Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
I've read lots of glamour and nude photography books but this is the first go feel like a university level class. Read more
Published on August 5, 2010 by Jesse Swinger
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