Model releases - photographers & models

Photographers: Please hear me and heed my warnings for your own good. Always get a proper model release. Get one for every shoot you are a part of. This is the only protection we have when posting work. It doesn’t matter if you are posting online or in print you need a model release. I personally recommend a Getty release. Getty releases are built proof and come in a lot of different languages. I have in recent years gone away from paper releases and have an app on my phone called the Easy Release. I believe the app is by Getty and is also the best in the business. You can fill out the release, snap a photo of the models ID and send a copy to the model all from a few clicks on you phone. It is one of the most convenient applications of technology I have found. I am not sponsored by, nor do I receive any money from them for recommending this. You can get the Getty release and the app by going here.

Models: Really we figure study artist love you guys. We would do anything in our power to help you in a second. I wanted to state that right away. We know many of you are very young and carefree and don’t think too much about the future. You really need to start thinking about your future and how working with us can change your life later on down the road.

Most of us photographers ask several times if you would like to use an alias for your photos. The reason we do this is so someone wanting to perform a little research on you doesn’t discover your stint as a figure study model 10 or 20 years ago. This can be very embarrassing for you as well as the person doing the research. It can have major effects on your life and livelihood. A large number of employers are doing online searches today to check out potential employees, be careful. If I or another photographer captures a great photo of you we may not be willing to remove it from our portfolio. Some images are just too strong to let go. I and many other photographers will try to work with you to the best of our ability, such as changing the name on the photo but once it is online we lose a lot of control of the photo.

For me personally, if I find another person’s photo that I really like I will share it with other photographers in my circle of online friends. They may agree the photo is really good and share it with their friends. This goes on and on until the photo is all over the Internet. Once this happens it really does not matter if we change the name of the image or even take it down, it’s out there. Most likely the strongest ranking of the photo will be on the photographers own website/stream and so by changing the name or removing the photo, many of the large search engines will stop putting it on their first page but you never can tell. We never want to cause you any trouble and have your best interests at heart. As visual artist we love to share our work and enjoy looking at others work. Please consider all of what I have said if you are considering modeling.

I hope this finds you all well and gives you a little food for thought,

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


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.


In this photo of model Shannon Purdy she is hanging from the bottom of a rail bridge built in the late 19th or the early 20th century. One of my favorite aspects of this photo is the sundog or lens flare near her right shoulder. The symmetry between her round butt and the round lens flare make an implied triangle. It doesn’t hurt that her butt is slightly out of focus and the sharp contrast really grabs the eye. 

On the Rocks

Today we are beginning to get to some of my favorite photos from Shannon’s first shoot. As a matter of fact I have this very image printed 20” X 30” in my office. It is the largest print in my office and the focal point from my desk. I love the tack sharp detail of Shannon and the rock she is lying on while the background is allowed to fall into soft focus. Shannon has been placed near a diagonal third and several implied triangles make up the photo. Having Shannon’s eyes so near to the edge of the image grab the viewer’s attention and then lead them through to the body and out to the distinct scenery.

Dark eyes

The boldness of the pose along with the slightly over-exposed models skin really grabs the viewer’s eye in this image. Speaking of eyes, since I was shooting in the mid day sun just out of the shadows Shannon’s eyes appear very dark, giving this photo its name. This image is slightly off center with the models body facing the camera yet her eyes are looking toward the center of the frame build tension in the viewers mind. Overall the harsh sunlight really makes this image and gives it a dramatic moon-like feel.

Texture and contrast

This is another photo from Shannon Purdy's coal tailing shoot in Madrid, New Mexico. There are a few things that really work well for this photo. The first and most striking element of composition is the contrast of Shannon's skin tone to that of the jet-black coal. Second, the contrast between the textures of the skin to the jagged environment really grabs the eyes attention. If you allow your eye to break the image down into parts you will notice several triangles or implied triangles throughout the image. From the large implied triangle of the coal mound itself the to small triangles created by the breast they are everywhere. In the background the elements of the tree and the sky give the photo depth. 

Flat photo

This is another image from our mountain shoot in New Mexico. I was trying to use some very basic rules of composition, which I did not have a very good understanding of yet. I tried to fill the frame but did not capture what I was expecting. This photo features descent side lighting and the parallel flow of Shannon’s arms and the nearby foothills works very well. The most notable part of the photo is the contrast of texture. The smooth lines of the model to the rugged surrounds really make her figure pop to the viewer’s eye. There are a lot of potential fixes to this image. The easiest and most notable would have been to have the model twist toward the light source while bending down a bit more. This would have placed a triangle of light on her breast and a little patch of light on her right butt cheek giving a little more depth and eye appeal to the photo.

Madrid, New Mexico

Just a short fifteen days after my first shoot we, my family, had a trip set to visit my parents in New Mexico. Prior to leaving I posted a few ads online looking for models to work with during our stay. I was able to find two interested in shooting with me. My wife and I traveled to Madrid, an old coal mining town, to meet one of the models I had confirmed for a shoot on the nearby coal tailings. We set to meet at The Mine Shaft Tavern est 1899 which is a local hot spot. During our meeting the amateur model stated it was too cold to shoot and we parted ways. Disappointed I asked my wife if she would be willing to give modeling a try. Shannon had always wanted to model but never got the opportunity. Now the chance was staring her in the face and she decided to give it a go. It was after a few photos I knew I had married the best women in the world and now had a new muse. We had so much fun together and still work together as photographer & model as well as photographer & assistant to this day. It has become our way of getting away from it all and spending quality time together. Shannon has gone on to be a very popular local figure model and has worked with some really talented photographers. It has been a fun journey.

In this first image I was concentrating on the rule of thirds as well as the contrast of texture. The thing that made this photo stick out to me was the beam of sun that by chance illuminated Shannon's left nipple.