Bodyscapes depict high-contrast artistic style nudes where close-up framing of the human form conveys the impression of pure nature.

More broadly defined I would say it’s about the lines, curves and forms of the subject.

In order to support the rather abstract captured forms, a contrasting lighting is necessary to blank out excessive visual information.

What Makes a Bodyscape Look?

Look Cheat Sheet for Your “Bodyscapes” Shoot
  1. Beautifying & Styling: None. Just pull-up the model’s hair so it does not interfere with the depicted body parts.
  2. Lighting: Setup a very narrow light beam using a striplight with a fabric grid. As an alternative, use a standard reflector with barn doors or even a spot tube (snoot) for very small illuminated areas.
    Important is the light’s direction coming from the side or diagonal behind the model (in relation to the camera).
  3. Posing & Composition: Use high heels to push out the model’s lower back and achieve an overall stronger body tension. Curves get much more carved out, bent and visual attractive. Carefully search for
    sections, angles and axes that exactly picture the message or forms you want to express.
  4. Tip: If the model is able to pose on her tiptoes for a longer time, you can forget about using heels. Sometimes models are tired of high heels and welcome this change…
  5. Look Enhancement: Let the model use baby oil to add shine to her skin. In addition, you can brighten up her body parts with a reflector. This also creates yet a totally different effect.
    So you have three absolutely awesome, different stories with just one single light setting!

Final Image - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini

Beautifying & Styling

We apply no make-up and styling at all for this series (it’s just not necessary).

There are just two things you should be taking care of:

  • First of all, hair is never visible in the framing. So pull it up and fixate it. This also nicely reveals the neckline.
  • Second, it helps when the model is wearing high heels. This pushes her back up and intensifies her body tension – and therefore also the curves that are being much more carved out. As we are mostly focusing on upper body parts, feet will never be visible.

Beautyfing & Styling - Bodyscapes - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini

For this shoot the model’s hair is just tied-up to prevent it from being visible in the shots. Furthermore, Kristina decided not to wear any shoes. She feels more comfortable to pose on her tiptoes like a ballerina.

Lighting Setup: Rim Light as a Key

Lighting Setup Bodyscapes - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini
I have selected a stripbox modifier which has another form than a normal softbox. The form is narrower but still elongated which allows for an evenly lit three-quarter to full body shoot.

In order to selectively illuminate the model’s lines, I have added a fabric grid for the purpose of gaining a better control of the light beam and avoid any spill to the backdrop.

Lighting Position: In this set, the light is being directed on the model from diagonal behind. We do this so we only create a streak of light on the model’s body and curves. The goal is to illuminate the various body parts in a very narrow way.

If we, for example, were to position the light to be coming from the front, we would also get a light projection on the black background. In turn, it would brighten up and become grey – and we would lose the contrasts. Therefore, I place it to the side from behind and now we are going to check how a test shot with exactly this simple setup will turn out.

Testing the Light: Axis and Angle are Important

Lighting, The Right Angle & Position - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini
Because in this setting, it is important that the model is placed diagonal in relation to the very narrow light, I need to find a position that lets me see both of her breast lines!

It is also important to find my exact position that provides me with those lines in the way I imagine them. Reminder: I also said that the shot is always impersonal.

Posing: Body Tension, Body Tension, Body Tension

Body Tension & Angle - Bodyscapes - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini
In the above left picture, Kristina is standing too relaxed; her body lines are rather flat. We really need to highlight, develop and carve out the curves in combination with this very much accentuated light.

Regarding the posing, this means that the body needs more tension, visually enhanced curves…
It’s not only about stretching the back and pushing out the bum but also about trying out poses where the model pulls her shoulders to the front while keeping the rest of her body tension steady. For the model, it might feel awkward and unnatural to do so but it actually looks very good.

I am asking Kristina to stretch her body even more, to stand stronger and taller on her toes, to further straighten her back and push out the small of her back. At the same time, I want her to slightly bend over in order to create some variations.

By comparison you can now see that the improved posing indeed leads to a tension and curve!
So aside from the lighting, we are now specifically supporting the overall curve shape with this posing. It appears to be much more attractive than a simple standing pose.

Look Enhancement: Shine & Fill-In

Look Enhancement with Oil & Reflector Fill-In 1- Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini
Now I would yet like to elaborate this look; namely, by making this whole appearance even shinier and smoother. Therefore, Kristina applied some baby oil. The skin should immediately look quite different.

For bringing some more light into the scene we have several corrective options:

Look Enhancement with Oil & Reflector Fill-In 2- Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini y

  • First, position the model further back and turn her more into the light. This creates a bigger area of light that is necessary in order to actually emphasize the shine at all. The point is that if I accentuate the light too much – meaning limit it – there is no chance for the shine effect to emerge. So it in fact takes a bigger area to achieve a reflection and shine.
  • Second: In order to increase and expand the shiny effect – that only occurs on the side that’s facing the light – I will now add a fill-in on the opposite side of our light source. This will help to further spread the area of light and shine over the whole body. For the fill-in volume, I am using a simple disc reflector, bouncing back some key light.

Lighting Gear & Specs Used

Lighting Setup Plan - Bodyscape Art Nudes with Melisa Mendini

  • 1x Monolight 400 Ws @190 WS
  • 1x Stripbox 40x180cm/1.3x6‘
  • 1x Disc Reflector 5-in-1

Camera Gear & Specs Used

  • 1x Full frame
  • 50-85mm focal length range
  • f/8
  • 1/200
  • ISO 100
  • 4900°K
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