Creating nude photos is not that easy, because not every photographer knows how to present nude models in an appealing way in front of the camera. Black and white photography in particular is always a good choice when it comes to shapes and contrasts, which is why black and white nude photography is so interesting and in demand. We have put together a number of tips and tricks for you, with which your nude photos in black and white come into their own and you can achieve great picture results.


The posture, the facial expression – everywhere you can see how good the people felt in their own skin in front of the camera. In black and white nude photography, where inhibitions may still have to be overcome, it is just as important to make the model feel good as to take care of the photographic aspects as a photographer. This begins in the preliminary meeting. Clarify with your models in advance what you are planning and what type of black and white nude photos you want to take. Then everyone can adjust to it and there will be no discussions during the shooting.

The easiest way to create a relaxed atmosphere on site is to talk to the model all the time. Any harmless topic is suitable for this, from holidays to food to films or music. Ask the models what they like to do, what they are particularly passionate about. You can then use this theme again and again during the shoot to quickly conjure up a smile on the model’s face.

You should allow a longer warm-up time for black-and-white nudes than for portraits, so plan on having a cup of coffee before you even pick up the camera. You will be rewarded with better pictures for the extra time: On the one hand, your models need enough time to change their clothes – calculate at least 30 minutes in the bathrobe so that imprints of previously worn clothes can disappear on the skin. On the other hand, you can make sure that you are relaxed while chatting, which you then need when taking pictures. Speaking of changing, if you don’t have a separate room, at least turn around while your models change. Even if it is a nude shoot, leave your models enough privacy.

Make sure to keep talking while operating your technique. Here in particular it can happen that the models notice that things are “getting serious” and tense up. So give people few opportunities to think about themselves. The space between the nude model and the photographer also plays an important role in black and white nude photography. You will also get further tips for communicating with the model from the friendly photographer


With nude photography in black and white, you move very close to portrait photography. Use natural, non-sexualized poses to begin with, drawing attention to the model’s face. The best way to do this is through the use of light, and we’ll start with big, soft light. All you need to get started with black and white nude photography is a window. You are dependent on the sun: If it shines directly into the room, you can play with hard shadows and a clear shaping of the body. In indirect sunlight, you have a large softbox, so to speak. You might even be lucky enough to have a north-facing window. Feel free to leave the window uncleaned for a while beforehand, then you will be rewarded with even softer light.

The pros and cons of natural light in black and white nude photography:

Natural light has advantages and disadvantages. If the light stays even, you can work well. But there are also those days when the clouds pass quickly: the light situation fluctuates enormously. On the other hand, you can benefit from the changing brightness and shadows in black-and-white nude photography, play with the changes and create new impressions. Here it is worth staying flexible and going with the light. For so many different lighting moods, you would have to accept a number of conversions with artificial light. And that brings us to the big advantage of window light: You can concentrate entirely on your model. Any change in the light set is an interruption. Taking a break is nice, but once you get into it, you don’t want to run to the flash every time the model changes poses for your black-and-white nudes. Apart from that, the amount of technology can be quite irritating for inexperienced models.


The black and white nude photography thrives on the contrasts, the light and dark areas in the picture and well-placed light. You can work with very simple tools.

If your model is lying down, you can design with the bed linen. Imagine a backlit situation: White sheets reflect the light and serve as a brightener, so that the face gets a little more detail, for example. Dark blankets, maybe even made of velvet, absorb the light and ensure that areas that your model shadows with her body remain really dark and that attention is drawn to the silhouette.

You create exciting body landscapes with a narrow strip of light:

In black-and-white nude photography, curtains on the window allow you to control the amount of light that comes in, for example to imitate a strip light. With a narrow incidence of light you can work out wonderful contours. When you draw the curtains, you have a narrow, vertical band of light: it makes sense for your model to stand or sit. If you have lying nudes in black and white, you can simply stretch a dark cloth across them. Or you are lucky enough to have a roller blind on the window, with which you can adjust the light gap very precisely. 

Soft light for the flattering black and white nude photo:

For very soft light you can use white sheets as giant reflectors if you don’t have white walls available. If you are already working with a flash (and softbox), we have another tip for you to enlarge the softbox: Better yet, take two inexpensive white shower curtains, which you stretch in front of your light source using a clothesline. This makes the surface of the light for your black and white nude photography even larger and softer. If you work with the light behind you, your pictures will be illuminated very evenly and will have almost no shadows. For a little more depth, position your camera a little to the side. An angle of about 45 degrees provides you with a good location to optimally model your model with soft shadows. In addition to giving tips on creamy light for your black-and-white nude photos.


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