Response of inspiration I hope

A few weeks ago now I received a message from a photographer that had worked with my muse several years ago. Dan and experienced something that scares us all to death, hard drive failure. He wrote me asking if I still had a copy of the photos he had taken and if I could send them to him. I did have a copy and transferred them his way. In our discussion I asked him how things had been going knowing that our experience level and situation was very similar. He stated that he needed more experience and was not satisfied with the results he was achieving. I would like to share my response to him with you in hopes you might gain something from my message to him. I know this is not my regular type of post but I hope you will indulge me.


JW Purdy

Response to Dan:

All I can say is that we are very hard on ourselves as artists. Just keep on plugging away. If you look at and study many of the greats it took decades to prefect their style. I still am at the phase of watching and reading daily about photography. I shoot everyday which really helps. Books, articles and videos only go so far in your learning. I have taken a photo per day for almost two straight years now. I work more now than any other time in the past 5 years but I make myself shoot daily. Our new daily nude photo was started for this purpose. I shot daily the year before but they were not well thought out photos. I really wasn't trying if you know what I mean. I wanted to make myself work harder and be more accountable so I started the site back up and invited people to join in on the project. Go give Ted Forbes and his show "The Art of Photography" a look. It gives you a good look at many of the greats and their process of growth and the struggle they had to overcome. Everyone has to pay their dues. I am still just an amateur but am paying my dues now.

I have a wonderful mentor that has been helping me since I got started back in 08'. RJ Warren is awesome and gives me suggestions on what I should be doing next at each step of my journey. Every few years or a couple of times a year we will get together and he always gives me advise on my shooting development. He is such a great teacher and inspiration. He is a very well know fine art/figure study photographer in the Houston area and very generous with his time. I am still a long way off I feel but I am growing. All we can do as photographers is grow. I have, based on his advice, just started the next step in my growth. I can see the following step ahead but I'm not in a rush to get there. Go slow and allow time and experience to train you. Wisdom is earned and not attained in any other way. I know this message is long winded but I really want to encourage you. I think you have great potential. I also think you need to really focus on the task at hand and put in some more effort at improving you skills. Once we master the technical then we can move into showing our own voice. Find the artists that speak to you and copy them, I mean really copy them. Get everything perfect from the lighting, pose, emotion and feel of the photo. Don't worry about the set/background, since they can be very elaborate and out of our means, but get everything else exact. Once you master camera settings, pose, lighting and feel/emotion you will be ready to have people really look at your work. I know we show people our work all the time on social media groups but I mean show people with experience our work and get their feelings and input about it. They have been tested by time and reached levels we dream of reaching.

Once we master this part then we move onto attaining our own voice. We start showing people who we are with our images then we can start trying for putting our work in front of curators. I'm guessing at some of these last steps and may be leaving some out; I'm not there yet.  I have had a few gallery showings, won some awards but I think they were right time right place types of events. Identify someone you truly admire in your area and reach out to them. Most people into photography are the most generous people you will ever meet and love helping someone looking to grow. If I remember correctly you are somewhat like me and make a part of you living behind the lens. If this is the case don't let that lull you into thinking you are a master. The ability to deliver a good product to a client doesn't mean you are at the level of getting your work on a gallery wall. Being a pro-am means you have learned the business of photography and have technical skills but not necessarily a voice. In my last meeting with Mr. Warren he told me to stop taking pretty pictures and start telling stories. As pro-am's we tend to take pretty pictures but not tell stories. I am still working on the technical side while working on my story telling abilities. Again I realize I have used myself as an example a lot in this long reply but please don't take that as I'm a master but just trying to convey where I am in the journey. Keep putting in the hard work and it will pay off in the long run. Let me know when you want to get together and we can get something worked out.

Best wishes,

JW Purdy

Hiring an Art Nude Model

Hiring an Art Nude Model USA Sources

An art model is a person who poses for an artist for the purpose of creativity. There are many types of art works but the most common types used in modelling are figure drawing, figure painting, sculpture and photography. You may also use any other medium depending on your personal preferences. Art models are usually paid professionals who pose and provide the human figure in a work of art. Nude art models have been around for a long time and they go way back to the ancient Greece. There are many things which you should do for you to become a successful nude model. First, you have to be comfortable with your body, know a variety of poses and understand the proper protocol. On the other hand, as a photographer, there are many things which you should consider before hiring an art nude model.

What a photographer should expect from a figure model

Professional photographers will always know what to look for in a figure model. However, if you are a new photographer, there are some few things which you should expect from a figure model. By knowing some of these things, your photography will be excellent and your work will be much easier.

As a photographer, you should not be attracted by beauty or unique body types at first glance. These will come later after selecting your figure models. Therefore, you should always go for a model who is comfortable with his/her body. A model who blushes, covers up or tries to show off some flattering parts of the body is not a good candidate. The best candidate should always be comfortable in front of the camera at all times.

Secondly, you should ensure that the figure model is comfortable with the terms and conditions of work. In most cases, nude art modelling sessions run for about three hours with breaks of 10 minutes in average. Your model figure should know the number of poses, types of poses and the amount of breaks granted.

Third, as a photographer, you should know that art is dynamic. This means that your figure model should be expressive from their fingertips to the bottom of their feet. If any of the figure models is good at Yoga, that would be the best choice. Why? Because Yoga exposes most of the muscle reflexes in the body.

Fourth, you should know that each of the different poses can be held for short or long periods. Your figure model should therefore understand these poses. For instance, there are three kinds of poses; gestures, short poses and long poses.

What is the proper edict with shooting a figure model?

As a photographer, you should know that there is a lot of pressure which you will have to deal with when shooting. If you fail, then everything else goes down with you. Yes, you are that important. Therefore, there are some few things which you should do as a photographer:

·        You should agree with your model on time, location and rate. Time is very important in every aspect in life hence both parties should be punctual. In addition, the venue on which the shooting will take place should be convenient for both the photographer and model. For instance, there are some models who are interested in nature or landscape venues. The rate refers to the amount of money to be paid to the model. It may be hourly or fixed price.

·        Next, you should take a photo of the photographer holding his/her ID. In case the model is under age, the parent or guardian should be with them.

·        There is usually a model release which should be signed by the model before the shooting commences.

·        Figure models are not machines, hence you should have a schedule for breaks of say 10 or 20 minutes. There should also be water, light snacks and a changing room.

·        As a photographer you should not touch the model when suggesting poses. Experienced model will always have a variety of poses therefore you will have an easy time. But for new models, you may come with poses from magazines. Music is not always essential.

How to find a figure model

If you have money, you can always go to an agency and hire a model but there are always other options of finding a figure model in USA:

The easiest way is by joining a modelling community website. There are many good websites which will allow you a free membership level. Some of the best website sources include:






After you locate your model, you should contact them via email. Here, you should let them know what you want and if you are new to model photography you should say so. You should also be prepared for disappointments as some models may not respond while others may never turn up for the shoot.

As a new photographer or new to figure study you should know a few things that can feel intimidating at first. You should encourage the model to bring an escort, especially new models. This will generally make the model feel more at ease. One thing I always tell new models it that jealous boyfriends and husbands don’t make good escorts. If the model will not be able to bring an escort I let them know I will find someone to be my escort. Key Note: If you are shooting a female model you need a female escort and vice-verse. I personally am lucky and have a female assistant that attends all of my shoots and is a semi-retired figure model. Even if you don’t have this built in feature know that two sets of eyes are better than one. As you escort to do a little research prior to the shoot. Ask them to come up with a few ideas on their own.

Once the model arrives introduce yourself and possible your escort. Spend a few minutes learning about your model. Actually listen to your model and don’t just try to over sell yourself. Hopefully you have been honest with the model and he/she knows you are not that experienced at figure study work. Ask the model what they would like to get out of the shoot other than just a few dollars. I have built several long and quality relationships with models I consider to be some of them to be the most awesome people I have ever met.

I recommend you pay your model. I used to shoot TFP (Trade for Print). TFP is where you arrange a trade of the models time for a copy of your prints. I generally don’t do this anymore on the advice of a friend. He stated that it is a pretty hard sell to a judge if a model ever takes you to court. Most judges feel the model is sacrificing so much but fail to see the quality or work you provide. It doesn’t seem right but that is the way the ball bounces. I have at times paid models all I could afford $15 per hour. I know it’s not much but as long as they agree to the rate most people will find it acceptable in my opinion. For your typical shoot this would be a total of $30 plus a copy of the photos. This was the amateur model and you are both benefiting from the work. They are covering the expenses to drive to the location plus makeup as well as getting a few prints for a portfolio. You are getting to meet a potential great model and working partner, images for your portfolio and experience working with the nude figure.

Just take it slow and you will do fine. Now get out there and take a chance. You never know it may be the best thing you have done in a very long time.


Happy shooting,

JW Purdy

Fired for amateur modeling completed as a college student.

I submitted a reply to an article I read today in which a teacher was fired from her job due to some amateur model she had done in the past. Please heed my words near the end of my response. Thank you JW Purdy

This doesn't just happen to teachers. I lost a very large banking client due to a web search many years ago. I was receiving a lot of work from them and then it just stopped. I contacted the person in charge of my account and she started looking at my account status to get some clue why I wasn't getting any more work. In the recent notes on my account, a web researcher in India had found my name associated with a nude photo site. The site was indeed my personal website confirmed by the listed URL she gave me. I asked the contact why my hobby caused me to lose them as a client and she had no response. I did receive an official reply from the company weeks later stating that they did not want to be associated with a deviant. A deviant, really, are you kidding me. My site is very professional looking in my opinion and I shoot fine art. I have been mentored by one of the best fine art photographers in Houston. Due to this lost client I changed my working name to my initials and have never looked back. I highly recommend both photographers and models to use pen-names for their figure work just to protect their online reputation. Companies are really starting to use the internet to research every detail of your life before working with you, be careful. Thanks for posting this article.

Use of negative space in Fine Art Nude Figure Study

Use of Negative Space in Photography

What is negative space?

Negative space refers to the area between or around objects in a photo. It is mainly important if you wish to get a clear visualization of shapes and sizes more effectively hence producing more composed images.

To be more precise, negative space is the area, which surrounds the main object in your photo. On the other hand, the positive space is the main object in your photo. Taking a photo in which the main objects are power lines, the negative space is the sky while the positive space is the power lines.

The negative space is important in a photo since not only defines the main object but also emphasizes it thereby drawing it to the eye. It provides the ‘breathing space’ hence giving your eyes somewhere to rest – this prevents the photo from appearing congested.

How to use the negative space  

Negative space can give your photograph an entirely opposite atmosphere than another photo of the same object. The simple explanation for this is that our brains will always have lots of ideas of how objects appear to our eyes especially in terms of size, shape, color, texture, etc. The bad news is that these ideas alter how we view a scene. Therefore, photos can look better in our minds while in reality they are not that appealing.

By using the negative space in photography we can overcome these problems. How? By ignoring the objects at the scene and focusing on the gaps between and around them. This will enable you to pay more attention to your composition hence seeing the shapes and sizes more clearly.

When you are shooting, you should always adjust your composition until the positive and negative spaces in the frame feel balanced. Don’t be mean on the amount of empty space you will be leaving out. It is not always a good idea to cram in something, which you feel is important to every inch of the photo frame.

You can always use software like Photoshop or Light-room to experiment on different types of crops. You will be amazed how small changes may give a significant change on the appearance of an image.

In addition, the negative space also leaves a very nice area, which can be filled with texts without interfering with the main object.

Importance of Negative Space 

The negative space can change the mood of an image. The mood refers to the emotion and the negative space is what creates them. The negative space can:

·      Act as a context

·      Create a sense of lightness

·      Can create airiness

·      Strengthen the positive emotions in a photograph.

·      Bring out the feelings of your main object – can be romantic or just happy.

·      Also add sad feelings like loneliness or despair.

Therefore, whichever message you wish to send out to your viewers, be it feelings or emotions, whichever story you wish to share, the negative space will play a huge role in this. When used correctly it can emphasize these aspects otherwise, everything can turn around.

In basic drawing classes students are usually told that there are three basic elements of a composition: The Frame, the positive space and negative space.

Of the three elements, the positive space is the easiest to understand since it the space occupied by your object. Contrary to that, the negative space is the one which is not occupied by the main object. I wish it were that easy to understand. The negative space is usually defined by the edges of the positive space and the frame. In other cases, the negative space may be completely bound by the positive space.

As a reminder, composition will always be best if there is a balance between the negative and positive. The frame is the main factor which controls the balance between the positive and negative space. When drawing, the frame is usually represented by the edge of the paper while in a camera it is the edge of the viewfinder. Therefore, the viewfinder is what gives the definition to our composition. Composition is therefore a skilled use of positive and negative spaces interacting with the edges of your work. It has effects which are noticeable by the viewer’s eye. You should know that the main objective of a good composition is to control your viewer’s eye. You want him or her to notice the things which are not straightforward.

Most photographers tend to put more focus on the positive space while the negative space comes just like an afterthought. From what we have discussed above, you will not neglect the negative space while shooting.

Benefits of using negative space in photos

1.     The negative space helps in molding and emphasizing the positive space. Here, you should also know that there are two kinds of negative space – the macro and micro negative spaces. The macro negative space defines the space between major elements while the latter defines space between smaller elements.

2.     It guides the viewer’s eye to where you want it to be. This way you can communicate your message effectively.

3.     It brings out the mood of the photo.

4.     In design, if there is insufficient negative space the photo might appear overcrowded and at times very complex.

How can we create a better negative space?

First, you can always make a better art with the negative space. For instance, the sky can provide a good composition when shooting from the bottom of buildings.

Secondly, you make the negative space the subject and this way you will not distract the main subject.

Third, you can use the positive space to define the negative space. Take a look at the Rubin’s vase to get a clear understanding on this.

Fourth, you can always use negative space to create logo designs.


It is always easy for us to focus on the main subject of the photograph. However, the negative space is a very powerful tool in each photo as it is the one which will bring out the core message of mood of the image.


Think of items of interest you can include in your framing of a photo other than the subject that will add to your composition or lead your viewer through the photo. As you practice this make sure that you don’t allow the items in the negative space to become to cluttered, too many objects in your photo will just confuse your audience and muddy your photo composition.  


In the example below I have used the shadow cast by Shannon’s figure to add interest to the negative space. Shannon is indeed the subject of the photo however the silhouette on the wall features her prominent curves and grabs the viewer’s eye. Shannon added emphasis to the shadow by pointing to it as well as looking over her shoulder. The viewer’s eye is lead straight to the negative part of the image.  

Just a quick final item to talk about, I have added a set from our “My Nude Year” project to my store and it is available for download. Your kind purchase makes it possible for me to continue bringing you content on a regular basis. If you enjoy my blog please considered purchasing the set.

Thank you,

JW Purdy