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About a year ago I started trying out other genres of photography as a way to jump out of my comfort zone, reshape my style, and give my creativity a kickstart again after some pretty tough personal challenges and dark times that nearly ended my career. For whatever reason, after a few shoots I found myself drawn to model photography. Beyond the initial shock of having to work indoors while not spending almost all my day in swamp water, the biggest surprise of all was how much I enjoyed the challenges of working with people, lighting, and in the studio setting. Specifically, the sub-genres of boudoir, fine art nude, and erotic photography, which are about as far away from my original bird photography roots as you can get!

This article is a collection of do’s and don’t for photographers interested in working with models in these styles of photography, from the lessons I’ve learned collaborating with both professional models and photographers.  Remember also, this is written by a photographer for other photographers, but it in no way diminishes the role of the model in also maintaining a professional relationship and standards. Rather, it acts as a guideline for the photographer in this realm. While many of the concepts apply to models as well, that is for another article (stay tuned!).  There’s immeasurable value in just listening and developing a rapport with the people you work with to make sure you are acting professionally in their eyes, and they in yours. I hope this article is a way to help you do just that!

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Recently I came across a thread on social media proclaiming all cemetery shoots were disrespectful and should be prohibited.  Being a.) an artist and b.) someone who likes to debate everything, I was surprised by this stance.  I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories in these places, the history, and the artistry of the headstones and statues. So, personally, it had never occurred to me that photography in a cemetery would be a bad thing.  But, I understand how others might object, and I do have a personal set of guidelines to follow to make sure I am respecting the memory, families, and friends of those who are interred there.  

I know when Halloween approaches, the temptation to head to the nearest cemetery for a holiday themed photo shoot is very tempting.   This can be a very sensitive subject, and I certainly do not encourage people to seek out the nearest mausoleum for their photo shoot just because its October.  But, done with respect, photography in these places can be powerful, compelling, and artistic. Here are my “do’s and don’ts” of photographing cemeteries and other sacred places.

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