Monday, December 29, 2014

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.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

My very first shot

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.

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.

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


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.

Monday, December 8, 2014

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.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

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.

Monday, November 17, 2014


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.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shooting a pro

For our final day of shooting in New Mexico we had scouted a little park near Mountainair and agreed to meet the model at a nearby town so she could follow use in. In meeting her we took a few minutes to talk about the shoot and share some general information about ourselves. We soon discovered that C.J. is a very accomplished photographer in her own right. She has shot for a few state parks and was at the time making her living with photography. We had a great time and I was able to capture some wonderful images. As C.J.’s photography business got more popular I agreed to only use a few select photos of her so that clients booking her would not see her in the buff while researching her before deciding to employ her. I have no problem doing this and wish all Gods blessings to her and hope she is still very successful.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Joshua tree

This is the final photo from Shannon Purdy’s first shoot in Madrid, New Mexico and its my personal favorite. Shannon had climbed up into a Joshua tree and the wind picked up momentarily causing her hair to cover her face. The way her hair blew and only partially covered her face and eyes really made me stare at the image and get involved in it. We have this on hanging in our room printed very large, 20 X 30 inches. I know it is one of her favorite images and brings back fond memories.

Monday, October 27, 2014


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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

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. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wrapping up my first shoot

Today I would like to show a few more photos from that first shoot so many moons ago. I did not have a working knowledge of photoshop at that time and was just playing around with presets. One of them was a negative preset which I really enjoyed. I think the color image is better but the tattoo in the negative image really pops and draws my eye to it. The first two images feature Little Liz and the last image is of J.R. Both models were photographed in Fulshear, Texas in 2008 by JW Purdy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Luckiest shot

Here is another lucky shot from my first shoot back in March of 2008. This was the best image I captured for several months to come. I accidentally stumbled into a very well composed image with this one. The image features strong use of the rule of thirds, which I knew nothing about at the time as well as several strong geometric shapes. There are several implied triangles, which help to lead the viewer’s eye. The image is also strengthened due to the fact it is implied nudity which tends to make the viewer construct the unseen with the minds eye. Again it was a very lucky shot. Model: J.R. by JW Purdy in Fulshear Texas.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

This is a shot from my very first shoot. I had only owned a DSLR for about a week and had not practiced very much with it. I got lucky with the composition and the camera settings. I symmetry is broken by many details however I feel the model looking to camera left is the most eye catching element of the image yet balanced by the visible part of her tattoo. This image features model: Little Liz by ©JW Purdy