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Creative Outdoor Nudes: Shoot On The Run

- Concept Insights, Production Notes & Behind The Scenes -
Creative Outdoor Nudes: Shoot On The Run

Shooting outside certainly has lots of challenges. Not unsurmountable ones, of course, but challenges all the same. Which is why many photographers avoid or never attempt to shoot outdoors. But: Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Setting Up The Project

I have never ever shot an idea like this, let alone in a country that I have never visited before, in a natural environment that I have never experienced. So more than a half year before actually flying “Down Under”, I started looking for a local partner and I found Sydneysider, Stephen Wong , a competent, experienced, keen photographer and a wonderful, humble human being.

What Does “Shoot On The Run” Mean?

Our “shoot on the run” is not about adopting guerrilla-style tactics and applying them to photography. Nothing so dramatic. Instead, it’s about

  • shooting lean and mean
  • shooting quickly
  • having only (very) limited equipment in place
  • being on location for as long as necessary and for as short as possible
  • and, last, but not least, operating “on budget”.

Finding The Right Location

One of the truly great things about the outdoors is the variety of locations that you can find. Obviously, this will depend on where you live but you will be able to find at least one or two suitable locations. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of looking a bit harder. Persistent can work wonders.

Applying this to our project, Stephen and I had lengthy discussions about location. I wanted to avoid greenery and vegetation in the selection of settings. After some first brainstorming it became clear that we needed a location that would not be challenging logistically, somewhere that we could access easily with a short walk. We anticipated that there would be a significant amount of additional equipment needed to shoot the video. We only had a day to shoot this, so the location needed to be less than an hour’s drive from the city center. The added costs of overnight travel, accommodation, modelling and assistant fees, food, and other items would have made this impractical and expensive.

BTS Location & Various Sets - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

At the same time, the proximity to the city meant a higher probability of spectators. And, we wanted somewhere that would not require us to obtain permission or apply for permits. To maximize seclusion, we decided that an early morning weekday shoot offered us the best chance of seclusion.

Our shooting schedule was extremely ambitious, with very little wriggle room. The La Perouse peninsula (located about 14 kilometres south-east from the city center) presented us with a perfectly suitable location that offered us the best combination of options to achieve our objectives.

BTS - Docutorial Style - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Artistic Nudes With A Twist Of Glam (Styling & Beautifying)

Once we had settled on the location, we needed to decide on the genre for the shoot. Obviously, landscape nudes were the primary objective. But, given that this would be a tutorial, we needed to expand the concept to include variations to keep the tutorial interesting and varied.

Because we knew that we’d be aiming to shoot a few different looks throughout the day, we asked model Taliah Campbell to apply a little more makeup than usual, specifically to create a more glamorous look with strong lipstick – but no smoky eyes, or anything too intense. With the weather conditions on the day, re-applying makeup would be quite difficult, so we decided against altering the makeup throughout the day.

With her hair, we wanted two styles: hair loose and free, and tied back. With her images wearing her ballet shoes, we felt that having her hair in a bun was more in keeping with the general look of a dancer. Other than that, we kept the selection of outfits, props, and accessories to a minimum. A red dress and a purple wrap provided elements with strong colour, which contrasted well against the blander coloured backgrounds. The swimwear items, while they did not have strong colour, had strong design elements.

BTS - Challenging Weather & Great Photo Locations - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Weather & Time To Shoot

While we were hoping for (and relying on) stable, even sunny, weather conditions it wasn´t clear at all how the day would actual turn out. As the day of the shoot got closer, and the weather forecast became more reliable, it became quite clear that the conditions were going to be anything but clear skies. Our tight schedule meant that we did not have the luxury of time to reschedule the shoot. Furthermore, the whole premise of the project was to shoot at outdoor locations with an Australian flavour. Shooting in a hotel room or in a studio would defeat the purpose. With few options left, we had to stick to our original schedule, despite the weather, and to do the best we could.

BTS - Photo Gear & Lighting - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Gear: Bring ONLY What You REALLY Need

Photographers love technology. We love gadgets and we usually have lots of equipment. Cameras, lens, lighting equipment, light modifiers. You name it, we’ve probably got it. That’s great when you’re shooting in a studio. When you’re out on location, it’s a different story. The secret is to bring as little as you need. Remember, shooting lean and quick?

Keeping to the shoot on the run minimalist philosophy, we kept our lighting design to a single battery-powered strobe. In this case, a Godox AS600BM, with radio triggers for Canon and Nikon.
If the weather was fine and calm, we would have attached a shoot-through white translucent umbrella.

However, given the strong blustery conditions on the day, that was out of the question. As it was an overcast sky, the ambient light was soft, diffused and even. Shooting with the hard light from the strobe has helped to add shadow and contrast.

The 6 Sets We Shot

Results - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography ConceptsResults - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts
Results - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography ConceptsResults - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts
Results - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography ConceptsResults - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Complete Shooting Timetable & Location Map

Location Map & Production SChedule - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Conclusion: Worth an Adventure!

The weather was not exactly what we were hoping for. But hey, shooting with blue skies would be just too easy anyway, right? Taliah did an outstanding modelling job, and Stephen has been a real mentor to me and I would not have missed a single minute of our adventure together.

The location that we finally chose was most versatile and convenient to explore. Let me mention just one more time: Whatever location you might have in front of your door step – cityscapes, parks, desert, mountain, oceans, beaches, farm, rural neighborhood, or cornfield, – just go with it! The fun, experience and excitement is to get creative with the given conditions, nasty weather included.

I learned an invaluable lesson, got endless insights, practical tips and heard about topics I would have never thought about in first place. I have been a good apprentice and for the next time I can plan, prepare and shoot a concept like this on my own…: A model and me, wandering with a bag of supplies, a single strobe, one camera and 2 lenses through the scenery and looking out for the next best spot.

Please try it. It is magnificent!

BTS - Model Taliah Campbell & Team Interaction - Outdoor Nudes Shoot On The Run Photography Concepts

Tutorial “Outdoor Nudes: Shoot On The Run”

Tutorial: ‘Outdoor Nude Photography’ – Shoot On The Run

6 Films. 113 Min Runtime. FullHD
How to Shoot Lean, Quickly, And Effectively at Any Location. Starring: Taliah Campbell (AUS).
You, your model, any location and just one strobe – that’s all it takes. This video docutorial is showcasing six real-world outdoor photo shoots created in public spaces while coping with ever-changing weather conditions. Any outdoor location offers many opportunities and even more challenges. When the nudity aspect is thrown in, it makes it even more interesting…
Stephen Wong, an experienced Australian pro photographer has been Dan’s mentor along the ride.


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Dan Hostettler

A traveler at heart, inspired by women, working along Swiss precision. Dan is a mediapreneur, photographer, author of several books and founder + Editor in Chief of SexyWomenPhotography.com.

Being a successful photographer for more than 15 years Dan got internationally published and featured on/in GQ Online, The India Times, FashionONE TV, FotoTV, GoodLight Mag, amongst many others. Dan is currently residing and working in Prague, CZ.

Dan will talk about his projects, provide insights in shootings & concepts, produce webinars, create Academy content, explain styles, emphasize the importance of working with models and any other exciting topic he discovers along the way.

Have you ever had to shoot with challenging weather conditions? And how do you cope with that?

10 Comments

  1. Joe Rooney

    Sounds like a fun adventure Dan. I’ve only had the chance to shoot on the beach a couple of times, and I can attest that “shooting light” is an absolute must. Lugging heavy gear over rough terrain isn’t fun. The image below was shot on a similarly overcast day, using natural light, on Polaroid instant film. I even got to bring a little bit of the beach back with me as the wind blew sand on the image just after I peeled the film apart after development.


    Attachments:
    Reply
  2. Dave

    Hi Dan!

    Love this type of photography. I’m attaching a shot from the Utah dessert done in this style. I do a variation in a series I call “Naked in the City,” guerrilla shots around Chicago. Tomorrow I leave for Mexico where I will be working with a model who has scouted locations we can shoot—similar to your approach in Sydney. Definitely a different creative challenge to get out “in the wild” with much less control than in a studio and figure out how to get the shots.

    Dave

    Reply
    • Joe Rooney

      Sasha, Floofie and Olive. I’ve shot with all three of these excellent models before! Nice shot!

      Reply
      • Dan Hostettler

        Identifying the models from having the back view only…awesome!

        Reply
        • Joe Rooney

          I can’t take that much credit. The file name includes the models’ names;)

          Reply
          • Dan Hostettler

            LOL, I see. Missed that. Very very smart my dear 🙂

            Reply
          • Joe Rooney

            But knowing the names, I can place them in order: Dasha is the blonde, Olive is the middle one, and Floofie is last in line, on the right. It’s hard to mistake those dimples! 😉

            Reply
      • Dave

        Thanks. They are three of the best! If you can’t get great shots working with them, you probably need a new hobby/profession!

        Reply
  3. Hi Dan,

    Outstanding work and images. How many people are on your team?

    My only concern was that these images could have actually been captured in Europe Spain. Nothing screams out that they were captured in Australia. As beaches and coastlines are very similar all around the world. Do you think when doing exotic location fine art nudes? That the photographer must strategically pick a location and have a background view of the location. Same thing that defines the location. Unless there is something in the image that defines its location straight away. An image of a nude model on the beach in Thailand could be mistaken for a nude model in California. Unless it distinctly has an aspect in the fore and background that highlight the fact about its actual location.

    Reply
    • Dan Hostettler

      Hi GlamPhotomag,
      thanks for reading, commenting and the compliment.

      1) Team: The photo shoot team were just Stephen Wong (my mentor), Taliah Campbell (model) and I. Actually these concepts can be shot with just 2 people; model & photographer.
      For the video docutorial we had Bjorn Hansen on set so there were just 4 of us.

      2) Location: Since I was already in Australia the goal was that the outdoor shoot will not look like it was done in the Czech Republic. So no simple greenery or industry ruins or the like. Here in Prague we most definitely don’t have coast lines, cliffs, beaches etc. The second goal of this concept is “take what you get”. So since I was in Sydney for a few days and the shoot was scheduled for this period we chose locations that are in reach within a tolerable effort. We had a 15 hours day (complete) and that was what we could do.
      It’s not about showcasing Australian typical locations but take what one’s get and – important – looking different to an outdoor production done in Czech Republic.

      Cheers,
      Dan

      Reply

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