Friday, January 30, 2015

Model releases - photographers & models

This is a special post that should be of help to both photographers and models. I will address both parties individually.

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.

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Golden Mean within the photo of Shannon Purdy titled "On the Rocks."

This is the final element of composition I concentrated on within my photo of Shannon titled "On the Rocks." 

Principals of composition
One of the most difficult concepts in visual art is the Golden Mean also called the Golden Ratio.  The Golden Mean has been used in composition for centuries. It is a design principle based on the ratio of 1 to 1.618. The Golden Mean can assist in creating images that have a strong composition, which is perfectly balanced from a viewer’s perspective. Creating a photograph that is most pleasing to the eye using the Golden Mean can be difficult. We naturally prefer to look at an image that is balanced and harmonized, and the Golden Mean does this. The Golden Mean/Ratio is actually a mathematical term and can be broke down into simple lines. If you were to put points on a horizontal line A and B you can better visualize the Golden Mean. If line A was longer than Line B by almost double B you would notice that nearly 2XB would nearly equally segment A. Therefore this would nearly put a vertical line bisecting your original horizontal line on the third of the frame. The balance of this ratio is found in many things in nature. The most prominent is the human body. I believe this is why it is such a pleasing and strong visual queue to viewers when utilized.

Notes on this image
In this example Shannon’s head is in the first lower left section. The next section moving up and to the right contains her left breast and is completed by the junction of her thigh and torso. The final section moving in the same direction is filled with Shannon’s thigh, which travels the length of the final section ending at her knee.   

We are getting close to the end of the month and I’m working on a couple of different new tasks. I will be sending out my newsletter at the end of the month and encourage you to sign up. (

Next week we will be discussing a new photo. I am trying to get a video together which I hope will demonstrate these concepts a little easier. I’m going to put a few together and see how I do. If they come out okay I will post them online but if not forget I ever said anything about it. I am really going to give it my best so we can cover more ground in one lesson and I can describe the concepts we are working with better. I will also try to film a shoot or two and let everyone see how I work with models and give you a sense for the flow of a shoot.   

Thank you and see you next time,

JW Purdy

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Questions about shooting nudes outdoors


I really appreciate your approach to displaying the figure and how you take the time to explain why a composition works. I look forward to your future VLOGS and I'm sure I will be able to grow as I've just started my own journey into digital photography. I am curious about how you arrange certain outdoor shoots. Do you have to get permits, or is it a matter of learning/knowing the area and having help to look out for you and your model?

My Answer: 

Thank you so much for your question. My blog is changing back to the way it was in 2009. I have deleted all those old posts but I thought it was important for you to know. I will be breaking down the elements of composition in my photos week by week. It will take a while for me to build up a good amount of posts but I hope you will keep reading and enjoy them.

As for shooting outdoors, you really need to check your local laws. I’m not in a position to give you any advice regarding the legality of working with models nude outdoors. We live in south Texas and as long as you are not causing mayhem it is allowed as far as I know. Now the problem comes in with what is defined as mayhem. Depending on the officer or the judge you go before things could change drastically. Shannon and I have been caught once and it is a funny story we share from time to time.

We were working at an abandoned foundry after a studio shoot and were almost done. Shannon loves sunflowers and wanted to get a picture in a field of them within the property fence. With my back turned to the entrance and looking in the viewfinder to compose the shot things were going wrong without my knowledge. As soon as I pushed the shutter I noticed Shannon’s expression change. I lowered the camera and she was pointing behind me. I turned around to see a Houston police officer approaching. I reached into my back pocket and threw Shannon her shorts and shirt. I started toward the officer with a big grin and extended my hand to greet him. We shook hands and he said we were okay and could continue. I told him I had taken my last shot and we were done. We talked briefly and he said he was only worried about our safety since the property was know for the amount of homeless people that live there. He told us to be very careful when shoot in and around the area. Shannon and I packed up our stuff and started home. We were very near to downtown Houston but the road you have to travel is very hard to see. As we drove out we saw several police cars pass the road, then back up, and drive down to the site. Laughing I told her she would have been the most well guarded model in Houston that day.

This situation could have gone very differently though. The officer could have decided we where causing mayhem by shooting nude outdoors and given us a ticket. Depending on the judge we could have received a hefty fine or even jail time. All this being said know the law and be very careful.

I would recommend you scout around the area very well to insure the model and you will be safe while shooting. Know what animals live in the area and what the risks are if you run into one. Don’t be offensive and be mindful of what is around you. Don’t shoot near a school or church accidently. This I feel would really get you into trouble and is just rude. Don’t shoot in an area where you could cause and accident. We have all seen cool photos of models on overpasses. You really need to be careful with this since you could cause and accident by distracting the people below you driving at freeway speeds. Lookouts are great and there is safety in numbers. Make sure you explain what you are intending to accomplish by having a lookout to your model. Always invite your model to bring an escort even if the shoot is indoors. A red flag goes up as soon as you tell a model no escorts. Never bring your inappropriate buddy as a lookout. For one, they don’t make good lookouts and also the model will not appreciate it. Don't be surprised your model goes and tell all of their friends you’re a creep.

In closing I found a really good site regarding this a few years ago. You can read more about public nudity by going to I am not a legal expert so please consult a qualified person in your area for questions regarding the laws that could impact you.

Thanks and hope you come back for the next post,

JW Purdy

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 ( 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

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Question 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. You can view my blog at I will include a few self-shot photos I attempted a long time ago for your review.

JW Purdy

Monday, January 12, 2015

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

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dark eyes

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