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on July 6, 2010
As a seasoned travel photographer, my genre is quite the antithesis of this one: I shoot primarily outdoors rather than in-studio, I rely solely on natural lighting, I profoundly prefer candid shots over posed, and next to never do I digitally manipulate my images.

The upside to constantly traveling across the world is I know probably better than anyone which cities and countries are home to the most lovely ladies (Tokyo tops the list). I have always envied photogs who work in the comfortable confines of a studio, interact with a bevy of beautiful women and certainly get paid far better for their work than I. Why, then, shouldn't I give it a try?

But before actually delving into nude photography, I first have been flipping through numerous volumes of photo technique guides to see if it is indeed a genre I could easily convert to (i.e. teaching an old dog new tricks), but thus far I have been put off by what I have seen: guides that are either excruciatingly technical or out-dated to the point of uselessness.

And then comes along True Confessions, a brand-spanking-new book that blessedly incorporates pretty much every up-to-date aspect of the nude photography profession into a refreshingly fun instructional manual for amateurs and pros alike.

With over 20 years nude photography experience ("hundreds" of naked girls, by his last count, lucky devil) combined with proper schooling, I can't think of a better teacher than A.K. Nicholas. But even more important than his own experience and credentials is Nicholas' talent as an author for being able to convey a highly-technical skill such as studio photography into easy-to-follow text and diagrams that will immediately put the reader at ease. "You'll learn from my successes AND from my mistakes," writes Nicholas. As a photographer who is entirely self-taught and has limited technical background, I appreciated this most about True Confessions.

At a 120+ pages, True Confessions is comprehensive. 20 of those pages are dedicated to the most challenging aspect of the job: recruiting and shooting models. Our Savior Nicholas plots it all out for us in hip lingo akin to the rules of dating ("I never call after a third `no'"; "concentrate on booking a specific day, not a specific model"). He then moves on to studio etiquette, such as how (not) to physically handle a model's fun-parts, tips to make a new nude feel relaxed, and chatting a model up. "My goal is to make images, not to make friends," states Nicholas. Elliot DiMauro from `Just Shoot Me' would be so disappointed.

A sheer quarter of the book is on the art of lighting. Due to my personal jones for natural light, I was admittedly was initially loath to read this chapter. But Nicholas' cool reasoning ("the key to background light is not a lot of light, but a lot of lightS") complimented by helpful illustrated diagrams, example images and informational text - and even a token few pages on outdoor lighting - those 30 pages were, well, illuminating.

Arguable the most useful section of this book is on posing and composition. Nicholas dips into the "pin-up versus art" debate and critiques the mythical "Golden Mean" method, encouraging us to "depart from the formulaic," though ultimately the author suggests a combination of classic and experimental composition to create new poses. The chapter closes (read: rewards us) with a whopping 100 (!) different sample poses ranging from traditional to avant-garde that are sure to give Playboy a run for its money.

Post-processing is covered in-depth (he suggests "a day of post-processing for every hour of shooting"), including instructional screen-captures of the most up-to-date computer software tips. Advice on shooting for microstock and making/selling 3D reference photos follows. A helpful glossary and sample model release forms close out the appendix.

While the author gets quite specific about lighting, he avoids suggesting specific lenses or gear, which may frustrate newbie photogs who prefer to have their hands held on such matters. And with the exception of the un-credited oriental beauty on page 60, I would have liked to see more exotic models (Latina, Asian, African American, Indian) instead of a purely-Anglo cast, as ethnic skin tones photograph far differently. However, Nicholas can consider such suggestions for a "True Confessions Part 2: International Nudes."

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on August 29, 2011
When I saw all of the 5 star ratings I began to expect a lot, but was disappointed. This book touches the surface of lighting, posing, finding and working with models, composition, and post processing but nothing really insightful. There are several reference lighting setups to help you understand the qualities of light involved in a photo which can be of some use, but I don't think the lighting or post in most cases was very well done. There's also several pages of example poses, which is mostly a waste of space. While there were a few generally interesting photos, the majority seem to be just women standing naked on a white backdrop without any real meaning.

If you're looking for a basic intro to photography - that just happens to include nude models perhaps for pinup or stock images - sure check this book out but I don't think you'll hold on to it for long. If you're looking for advice and tips on creating artistic nudes with dramatic lighting and shadows in black and white, definitely look elsewhere.
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on July 14, 2010
OK, so - I get this book review request, and think to myself... "Wolfy, how good is your life? Pretty good right about now!" So, with Martini in hand, and laptop on my - well, lap, I delved into this publication with joyous abandon. The subtitle says "A step-by-step guide to recruiting beautiful models, lighting, photographing nudes, post-processing images, and maybe even getting paid to do it."

Being a bit of a photo buff, I was (ahem) very interested in the actual content. And, true to its subtitle, this step-by-step guide indeed brings the reader through the ABC's and XYZ's of nude photography. I always wondered how an amature or beginner photographer would convince beautiful women to disrobe in front of a camera, and the author does a great job explaining how we went about it. His friendly, conversational style of writing is immediately engaging as he describes, from a professional's point of view, how to find and hire models.

He then covers the technical and aesthetic aspects of lighting, equipment, shooting styles, and post processing - a fancy term for spicing up your images on your computer. The guide is very thorough, with many illustrations and example poses that are tasteful, which brings me to an important point: What this guide isn't, is an exploitation of women. The author's positive and professional attitude is effectively conveyed throughout the guide.

Technically, the guide is well organized with an opening table of contents, four appendices, a sample model release, glossary of terms, and an index. A definite *must* for any photographer.
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on April 25, 2010
For anyone interested in learning nude photography, this book reveals how the process works from start to finish. I'm glad the book begins with finding models, and doesn't end with the end of the shooting. This is more than just a posing guide or a lighting guide - it integrates the author's methods and techniques for working with models, the studio, shooting, digital processing, and marketing. I especially learned from the section on making first time models comfortable. Probably the most enjoyable thing is that none of the book is wasted with the usual regurgitated basic photo technique.
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on January 20, 2012
This book is not real long, but there is some good information inside. The images are not great, and that is why I did not give this 5 stars. The information is good, like the way to approach and pay your models and the advice to buy ONE good lens rather than 5 mediocre lenses. If you are interested in nude or glamour photography, you could do worse than start with this book.
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on April 27, 2010
This book goes way beyond being another posing guide. It takes you through all the steps you need to know to photograph nudes. I got mine last week and read it cover to cover. It was like talking to a seasoned pro willing to mentor the new guy. The lighting diagrams and detailed explanations alone were enough to make this book worth buying. I scheduled my 1st ever nude session this week because of what I learned in this book. I now have the confidence and know I won't mess everything up and will know how to handle the shoot.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who truly wants to shoot beautiful nudes.
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This is one of the most complete books to come along in recent years for everyone wanting to jump into photographing nudes. It's also very succinct and accessible and written in a clear, easy-to-follow manner. Herein lies its strength - everything one needs to know is provided but the author does not overwhelm the reader with excess information. All the essentials are here - recruiting models, interacting with them like a professional, posing them, and so forth. Lighting, lighting equipment, indoors and outdoors, photo composition, post-production (Photoshop) - it's all here. Nicholas concludes by providing some very useful information about selling and marketing ones work.

Each section of this book contains numerous nuggets of valuable information. The chapter on POSING covers almost every aspect of this art form, including a thorough discussion on pin-up vs art photography, but Nicholas doesn't end it there - he provides a handy reference to this subject by providing examples of 100 poses - that's 100 photos of nude models in 100 different poses - very useful. The book is also packed with full-size nude photos (shot by A. K. Nicholas, of course), lighting diagrams, and various diagrams, charts, and the like.

This is an exceptional instructional that's a must have for beginners and mid-level amateurs. Even advanced users and professionals will find things in here they can use.
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on August 11, 2011
I have a new book coming out early next year that will require a murdered partially clad woman on the cover and rather than steal something from the 'Net I thought this book would help me lock in on the pose I am looking to duplicate.

The information on lighting is exactly what I was looking for in that area as was the information on seamless backgrounds.

What I really needed help with was how to find a model and the section on this subject has made me realize it is probably not as hard as I made it out to be.

But the information I found MOST helpful is how to select a camera. I was concentrating on multi-mega pixels, built-in flashes and junk that is really irrelevant. In fact this information is so important I am surprised A.K. Nichols didn't stick in flashing lights. (Oh, if only that were possible with a print book.)

This book is such a complete work that Nichols not only included a sample classified ad that works for him (I am assuming a male photographer) as well as a sample Models Release Form at the back of the book.

Steven W. Johnson
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on September 30, 2010
True Confessions of Nude Photograph is a course in a single volume. The author explains each step necessary to produce quality nude photos. The Diagrams of lighting set up illustrated how the accompaning photograph was taken. There are many useful tips and an outstanding model release (with the authors comments on how to properly use the release). I was very impressed with the information, diagrams, photographs, and the authors presentation of the material. Well worth the purchase price.
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on July 29, 2012
"True Confessions of Nude Photography" by A.K. Nicholas is much like a primer for those just getting started in the world of photography. With great advice like the importance of a great lens, (and no, five mediocre lenses are not as good as one really good one), to marketing your product and building a name for yourself, any photographer will find something of value within these pages.
Nicholas offers plenty of photos in the book, along with boxes that depict specific elements of the text as well as highlighted terminology for look-up in the appendix, if necessary. All of these things make it very easy to read and flip right to exactly what you want. The author recognizes the importance of actually taking the photos and gaining the experience rather than getting bogged down with a bunch of reading.
There are great recommendations for portfolio-building, especially for a portfolio of nudes; mainly, take it slowly and build gradually. A portfolio doesn't happen overnight and any photographer has to build the confidence of his or her models. Aaron Nicholas shows you how in "True Confessions of Nude Photography".
How do you advertise? How much do you pay a model? Where do you shoot? What about a web page? It's all in here. There are also tips for the models so you get the best photos possible, without anxiety and tell-tale tan lines.
The book focuses on digital photography and electronic communications. Many areas would still be valuable to old-schoolers, but be aware the emphasis is on the use of current technology.
Learn what to do if you need a color chart but can't afford one, or maybe just misplaced yours. Learn about props, how to cover tattoos and the components of a model release.
Like a great lens, using the proper lighting is critical to capturing the best images. There is a whole section on different types of lights for a variety of needs and budgets. Just like starting slowly with your portfolio, the same is said for the equipment you use. Build on what you have as time goes on. Nicholas even includes information on simply using available light, translation: no special equipment.
Fantastic examples of a wide variety of poses are included accompanied by graphics to demonstrate how the viewer's eye is drawn, based on the model's pose. The use of furniture and props, or lack thereof, to enhance the pose and the mood is discussed and expanded on.
Do you need more than one model in a shoot? The topic is touched upon.
Learn about composition with a very basic mathematical equation that the greatest artists used, including Leonardo da Vinci. If you want to spend more time doing actual photography than touching up and refinishing, learn how here. In fact, my favorite quote from the book can be found on page 107, "... Do not allow post-processing to become a crutch or substitute for a disciplined approach to lighting,
correct exposure, and attention to composition." Don't fear, though; there are still a lot of tips for perfecting the shot after it's been taken.
Maybe you have been taking great photographs of comfortable, expert models and know everything you need to about Photoshop and other software programs. Maybe all you need to do is market your material to gain an audience and start making a living. Suggestions for that are also included.
"True Confessions of Nude Photography" by A.K. Nicholas is a great guide for the novice, and covers a lot of territory in a brief, concise and easy to understand manner with plenty of examples. It will not disappoint novice or professional photographers. There is something here for anyone who wants to do or is currently doing nude photography. Many pointers can be used for other types of photos as well. This book is as important to photographers as a thesaurus is to scholars.
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