Diagonal method and "On the Rocks"

This is the second, element of composition, within my photo of Shannon titled "On the Rocks." 

Principals of composition: As seen by the image below several of the implied lines in the image follow the path of a diagonal line. First when composing a photo, horizontal and or vertical lines are boring while a diagonal is interesting to the eye. There have been mathematical studies that indicate a diagonal composition is far more interesting if the lines can intersect at or near points of interest.  You will notice in my example I missed the top diagonal by a few inches however your mind moves the line down into place and therefore saves me this time. The intersection of the two diagonals would be near the junction of Shannon’s torso and upper most leg and leads you through to her face. There is also a strong diagonal starting at the tree on the upper left of the frame that continues to across the frame to through her breasts. In general diagonals add interest to our photos.

Notes on this image: In this example you will notice that the lines overlaid lead the viewer to very interesting points in the frame. Also there are several implied triangles for someone to discover. The interesting points of diagonal lines build interest in your photo.  

I would really appreciate you signing up for my newsletter (http://beta.privy.com/s/fr18tsI). I will be sending out a monthly letter with information not contained on my blog. All my subscribers will receive offers on materials before they are released to the public as well as be included in giveaways for free stuff.

Next week we will be discussing Golden Mean in this photo and how it works. The Golden Mean is a very powerful rule of composition. I received another very interesting question this week and will be addressing it very soon. The questions were regarding shooting nudes outdoors and how to select a location. The writer also asked if it was legal. I will address all of these questions in my reply coming soon.  

Thank you and see you next time,

JW Purdy

Questions about self shot photos

Fellow artist,

Sorry but I’m not understanding your message. Please correct me if I’m wrong but what I think you are asking is for me to view your photos, which I have, and give you my impression on which one of your images you should turn into a drawing. If this is not the case please disregard the rest of this message.

I know this will sound harsh but once long ago someone cared enough to tell me the same thing and it inspired me to become better at photography. I see no elements of composition in your own self-shot photos. They appear as just pictures of yourself nude without any forethought. Ouch, I know it hurts but it’s for a good reason. First, self-shot images are very difficult to pull off. I have from time to time attempted the task and it is much harder than it looks. When you sit down before you shoot, which I hope you do, do you think about how you want the final photo to look? If your answer is, no, you need to start. On to our second point of this discussion, find or invent an image you want to create. Know exactly how it is going to look when it is finished. Take the time to rearrange the scene just as you have visualized it. Setup your gear and get everything framed the way you want. Please remember to include the rules of composition in your planning and framing process. Even if you just keep an eye out for the basic elements such as the, Rule of Thirds or the Rule of Odds, it will make a drastic improvement in your images. Once everything is framed the way you want all you have to due is light the scene and push the shutter. If you don’t have a remote shutter release you can use the timer function on your camera or employ someone you don’t mind seeing you naked. After this you are ready to post your photo to the web or turn them into a painting/drawing as you desire.

With regard to the drawings you already have on display, some of them are very nice. I have an eye for angles and so the images with several bends in the legs and arms really grab my attention. A lot of work I find myself gravitating too has many implied triangles in it. I love looking at set’s of lines and finding all the triangles, its like where’s Waldo for adults. I would like to see some foreground and/or background interest in your work, but really it’s your art and not mine. I wish I could draw or paint but I’m found lacking in these departments.

I hope this message helps you and that I haven’t overstepped my bounds. Have a wonderful day and keep working. Please take a look at my blog as some of my more recent posts may help you see and find element of composition in a frame. I will include a few self-shot photos I attempted a long time ago for your review.


JW Purdy

Golden Triangles and "On the Rocks"

I have already made a post on this photo a few weeks ago. The photo is titled “On the rocks.” I thought today we would start to breakdown the elements of composition I have found in this image.

Principals of composition: Golden Triangles – You can see in my overlay of this image that two distinct Golden Triangles are found in this composition. The base of the tree along with the bright reflective rocks on the upper left of the frame lead your eyes to the point of Shannon’s chin. The natural slope of the landscape as well as the tree trunk form a leading line. From the point of Shannon’s chin (a Golden Triangle) we intersect the primary line in the composition. There is an implied line running from Shannon’s chin, between her breasts, down her leg and ending at her knee.  The second Golden Triangle is located near the junction of Shannon’s legs to her torso. You may have noticed that this is also the brightest part of her thigh.

Notes on this image: Your viewer will naturally seek out your models eyes. By using principals of composition in your image and taking a little time to think them out as you compose your framing you can influence your viewer to follow a path through your photo.  Not only does this create a pleasing image it will also give your viewer something to explore as the look at your photo.

I would really appreciate you signing up for my newsletter. I will be sending out a monthly letter with information not contained on my blog. All my subscribers will receive offers on materials before they are released to the public as well as be included in giveaways for free stuff.

Sorry I miss spoke in last weeks post. I was thinking of this photo when I asked you to all come back for another principal discussion. In this photo we will be covering three elements of composition. Please come back next week and we will discuss diagonals in your composition.

Thank you and see you next time,

JW Purdy

Dark eyes and the Rule of Thirds

One of my favorite photos of model Shannon Purdy’s first shoot is “Dark eyes.” The dark shadows give Shannon the appearance of having black pools for eyes. Our minds naturally seek out a person’s eyes in a photo and with them being so dark it makes our viewers search for any detail that may be discovered. The contrast of Shannon’s nipples slightly darker than the blown out flesh of her body lead the viewers eyes down to the appearance of a line enclosed in shadow between her legs enticing the viewer. Things hidden in shadow or by an object make your viewer try to recreate it in their mind. 

Principals of composition: Using the Rule of Thirds in the photo with Shannon looking into the negative space makes the viewer at peace with the overall composition. The rock shelf Shannon is leaning on rests both on the top and bottom thirds of the image and Shannon is nearly bisected by the right third.

Notes on this image: This photo has a somewhat sinister feel to it. The dark shadows and extreme contrast give Shannon a strange feel. If you ever met her you would know she is the exact opposite of this look. It is always interesting when you can capture someone on film in a pose or featured emotion that is opposite their personality.

I would really appreciate you signing up for my new newsletter. I will be sending out a monthly letter with information not contained on my blog. All my subscribers will receive offers on materials before they are released to the public as well as be included in giveaways for free stuff.

In this post we covered on element of composition and in the next post we will cover another one present in this photo.

Thank you and see you next time,

JW Purdy

Geisha girl

This week we will be discussing my first shoot with model Little Liz. When I was looking to book models for my first shoot I asked potential applicants to send me a short description of themselves and a creative nude photo. One of the first responses came from Little Liz and was to this day the most creative photo submission I have received from a potential model. I opened my inbox to discover a photo of a very cute brunette with a large tattoo atop of a pink bike taken in her living room, fantastic. I knew from that moment I had to work with her at all costs.

Little Liz has one of the largest tattoos I have ever seen in person. It is a single geisha girl cutting a snake’s head off and it encompasses her whole side. It is extremely detailed and very colorful. During that first shoot I wanted to find a creative way to show off her wonderful work.  In the master bedroom closet of the model home we were working in was a mirrored settee and I took a chance that I could create something with it.

Principals of composition: My main focus was the tattoo but I wanted to feature Liz’s body in the frame as well as her reflection in the mirror. Without intension I placed the tattoo on the left third of the image as seen by the darker red line in the example shown. Liz’s chest and stomach are wonderful elements of foreground interest in this photo and strengthen the overall quality of the composition. Liz’s breast and nipples are near enough the golden section (intersecting points) in the top left third to draw the views eye to the head of the geisha in the tattoo. The changes of color/texture created by the wide array of lines in the tattoo insure the views eye is locked into the image and will explore the detailed present. The soft gentle curves of Liz’s body complement the photo without detracting from the focal point.

Notes on this image: Shoot what you feel will look good. I thought that having both the actual body as well as the mirrored reflection in the photo would look great and the results were far beyond my expectations. Little Liz and I have worked together on a few occasions and she is so much fun to be around. Her personality really shows up in her photos. She is light hearted yet very passionate about her work. She put everything she had into our shoots together. If you ever decide to work with someone and don’t have a lot of information about them or a large body of work to view I would suggest having a few chat sessions with them. If they give you a good feel in the chats work with them however if you just don’t really click give them a pass and move on. A models personality will show up in your images and it is worth taking a little time to find someone you enjoy being around and has similar goals as you.

In my next post we will talk about how my wonderful wife started posing as a figure model. Surprisingly it happened in an unexpected way.

My very first shoot

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you are having a great time for the long weekend if your boss was nice enough to let you off. We celebrate some many different customs at this time. First we bring evergreens into our homes. Evergreens to the Hebrews and Egyptians symbolized eternal life. We give gifts in the name of Saint Nicholas, which provides help to the poor and needy. Finally and most importantly we honor the birth of the Christ child named Jesus. Jesus came not to pass judgment on the world but to give us a way to be redeemed even though we are sinners. Thank God for that.

This week I promised you a review of a photo from my first shoot. I will start with a photo of J.R. who was the first person I ever shot and was also the first photo I was to get published. This photo is still one of my favorite photos and I keep a copy of it in my portfolio.

Principals of composition:

The first thing this image has going for it is that it is an implied nude. The photo makes your eve try and connect the dots to make it a nude. Sorry that is just our nature. You are given enough to get your imagination going but not the full nude image.

As detailed below the photo features strong composition with regard to the rule of thirds. If you will notice J.R.’s face as well as her foremost leg falls on the left third line.

In the next example of the photo you will notice that J.R. hands as well as her cheek lye on the intersection of the golden triangle sections. Her leg also supports a strong feel of diagonal composition with several other implied triangles.

JR-Golden Triangle 39

In our third and final example J.R.’s pose has a feel for the golden spiral. It is not a direct comparison but it is really close and gives the viewer that general flow and feel to the overall composition of the photo.

JR-Golden Spiral 39

I have stated before and will in the future this is one of the luckiest shoots ever. I did not know enough about composition to plan this and it just happened. One thing that really helped this photo was the fact that J.R. was and experienced model. Had she been an amateur model I more than likely would have never seen this image appear before me. As with all things photography in any spectrum takes practice. The truth of the matter is everyone will tell you to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more and I’m right there with them. If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life that will let you practice on them do it every chance you get. Make it a daily thing if you can. Even if you never post the photos it will help you get better. Second is to read, read, and read some more. Look for books that will help to introduce new ideas you may not have thought of. Most books cost under $25 on Amazon and are a small investment in your future success. 

In my next post I will be breaking down a shot of my second model Little Liz. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will be here when you come back.

Thank you,

JW Purdy

Postponed introduction

Hello everyone and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. This blog was actually launched a long time ago however I deleted all the posts and left it inactive for several years. I let work take over my life for many years and have decided to make time to write about a topic I truly love. My topic of choice is photography. To be more specific my passion lies in art nude photography.

Let me introduce myself, I’m JW Purdy. I have been a shutterbug since I picked up my first 110 cameras as a child. I held onto my old small format 110-film cameras until I was about eleven or twelve when I received a 35mm as a gift. Since I wasn’t processing my own film and was used to printing small photos so I didn’t really notice a big difference. All I knew was that it was easier to transport a large amount of film canisters at one time. I continued shooting off and on all through high school and college. Finally after college I moved to Houston, Texas and due to an accident had to change careers. One day from out of the blue that old film itch started at me. I came into a little extra money and decided to buy my first DSLR. As a kid I watched Andre Agassi dominate on the tennis court and wanted to be just like him. I had always wanted a Canon Rebel, the camera he sponsored, and didn’t give any other brand a second thought.

Prior to purchasing my DSLR I read continuously about photography and how to master the art of shooting. I started with NationalGeographic’s Field guides. I highly recommend them to anyone that is interested in photography. Try to find the old film guide and then move on to the digital guide. The film data is still relevant and will better help you understand the art of photography. While reading countless books I started searching online for photographers I liked. I discovered a few but one really stuck out to me. I began to follow his work and even sent him personal messages about his work and my interest. He was so kind and wrote me back with very detailed information about shooting and was very encouraging every step of the way. Finally after having received my new camera and shooting around for about two weeks. MarcusRanum, who I admire, told me I needed to just jump in and give figure study a try. He told me not to worry just find a model and shoot what I thought looked good. So two weeks into being a DSLR owner I booked my first shoot with two models. I was so nervous I didn’t know if I could go to the shoot location.

Waiting for the first model to show up my wife and I sat and discussed the ideas I had for the shoot and what I wanted to try and capture. Shannon was very supportive and tried her best to keep me from looking like a nervous wreck when the model showed up. Within the hour the first model pulled up into the drive of the model home I had commissioned to shoot in. Jennifer R came to the door and we sat and talked for about ten minutes. After having her sign the proper model release and getting a photo of her driver’s license we decided to start the shoot. Jennifer, who had modeling experience, undressed and stated she was ready to begin. I told her the shots I would like to start with and she got into pose. Raising the camera to my eye all my fears disappeared and I found it easy to push the shutter release.

The moment my eye reached the viewfinder my whole personality changed into work mode and everything else fell away. A lot of people hide behind the viewfinder but that was not the case with me. I felt just as comfortable with the camera in hand as I did when I was directing her or just talking while taking a break. I don’t know if that is how it is for everyone but it was for me. Something about shoot just came natural to me. Having wrapped up the shoot I was ready and eager for the next model.

Little Liz showed up and did not look completely comfortable. I asked her if she had ever modeled before and she told me she hadn’t. Now my confidence was already high from the first shoot but I had to elevate it even more so that she would relax and work well with the photos. I took a few shots and showed her the best of the photos we had just taken while talking to her the entire time. After see the photos she completely relaxed and I captured some of the best photos I have taken. I still feature some of those photos in my portfolio.

After the shoot Shannon and I came home and looked at the images I had taken. I was really surprised at how good some of them looked. A friend of ours came by and gave me a few quick pointers on how to work in Photoshop. I did my best to edit the photos but it was my first time using the program and it has a huge learning curve. I did what I could with the knowledge I had acquired form a book overview and sent a copy to the models. Little Liz was very pleased but Jennifer wished I had captured a few from a little different angle. Over all the experience was fantastic and I have never looked back since that first day of March 2008.

Two of the photos from that first shoot have been published on different sites and in the next two posts I will break down each photo and why I think it works. Thank you again for the visit and I hope this will encourage you to step outside of your comfort level and just shoot. Every shoot is a learning experience and you can never know it all lets Figure it Out.


First and foremost, sorry for being so late with my post this week everyone. I am an active working photographer and it is a really busy time of year for me. I have been shooting and editing for days without end. Don’t get me wrong I love it however it does not leave much time for anything else.

For this weeks photo we have one of my first bodyscape images. I was focusing on the gentle curves of models Little Liz and Shannon Purdy. I place the models head to foot to create a contrast between the stocking colors and placed Shannon in the background so that the viewer would be forced to look at Liz’s curves. Had I place Shannon in the foreground your eye would have naturally gone to Shannon first due to her pail skin tone and you would almost overlook Liz completely. The arch of Liz’s back gives us an implied triangle and the soft curves of the photo act as leading lines.

(Example photo below)

Principals of composition - One of the keys to this being a successful photo is the framing of the models. If we segment the photo into two golden triangles you will notice the strong use of diagonal lines. On the right side of the image Little Liz's foremost nipple connects to the junction of Shannon's leg and buttock on a diagonal line. This junction is located on the intersection of the golden triangle. On the corresponding left side of the photo you will notice the intersection of Little Liz's back to upper buttock is at the intersection of the golden triangle and then connects to Shannon's far shoulder.

Notes on working with two models - When shooting two models together with different skin tones it is important to visualize the placement of the models to create a powerful photo that leads your viewers eye in a way you want. As described above if I had placed Shannon in the foreground your eye would have simply blocked out Liz or just skimmed over her. With careful placement and a little forethought to composition you can create an image that is very pleasing and intriguing to your viewer. 

I am thinking about starting a VLOG and would like to know if any of you would be interested in watching a detailed breakdown of how I view composition in a art nude photo. Please shoot me a message of your thoughts on what kind of content you would love to see in a VLOG. Since I have only recently restarted this blog I have noticed that I have not discussed any rules of composition yet. I will be dedicating my next few posts to some rules of composition I personally focus on.

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend.

Loving servant

I have loved this photo for many years now. I keep coming back to it time and time again. I would edit it a little differently today due to my increased knowledge of Photoshop and other editing software but the core of the image is still intriguing to me. This is another photo taken during my shoot with models Shannon Purdy and Little Liz. I placed Shannon’s butt near the bottom left side of the frame making the viewers eye want to gravitate to that spot. Shannon’s gentle lines and curves lead the viewer’s eye through the image to Little Liz’s soft breasts. The lighting was left warm to compliment the tender nature of the pose. It is not an embrace of lovers but that of servant to a loving master. As with all of my photos line and shape are the key elements to entice the viewer to look follow a path of my desire. Although we are all different a predictable path can to accomplish with a little lighting and placement.


This is a photo of Little Liz taken during our second shoot together. I was using soft side lighting and I loved the circles or implied circles in the photo once I changed the image to black and white. The large circle of the chair back was similar to the circle formed by her breasts and the buttons seemed to my eye similar to her nipples. The composition of the image was strengthened by the implied triangle formed by the models legs.

Back bend

I really like this image of model Little Liz. We got tired of waiting for Shannon to return and decided to take a couple of shots until she got back. Liz started to stretch and get ready for some more advance yoga poses and I quickly pushed the shutter while she was in a slight back bend. I duplicated the pose and flipped it onto itself. I think it turned out to be a very interesting abstract piece.


I had such a great time working with Little Liz I decided to have her come back for another shoot. This time I asked her if you would be willing to shoot with Shannon and she agreed. After working for a little while Shannon excused herself for a few minutes and while we waited for her I caught this photo of Liz just looking off camera quietly waiting for Shannon to return. This was one of the highest complimented images I had reviewed by a local photography organization and gave me the inspiration to continue shooting with models.