Becoming a nude model has been one of the most rewarding, satisfying things I have ever done. I love the art I am able to create because I am a nude model. I love the people I have met and the opportunities that have arisen from my modeling. But as an experienced nude model who has done over 100 shoots with the majority of those being nude and having talked to many, many other nude models and read plenty of blogs and forum threads, these are the things that I think everyone who is considering posing as a nude model should probably know. As always these are my opinions and you may detect a hint of playful sarcasm.
1. Do not start posing nude in order to make money.
It is true that you can make money modeling nude in most markets, even if you do not have the stats for fashion and such, but every nude model I have ever spoken to agrees that posing nude just for the money is not a good idea. You should pose nude because you want to, not because you think it will make you money.
2. People will find out. Your mother/brother/boyfriend/husband/boss/etc may find out.
You need to be prepared for everyone you know to find out you pose nude. Even if you use a different name for your modeling, which I do generally recommend, you still need to assume that people will find out. You need to be prepared for this to happen. If you are going to lose your job or if your parents are going to kick you out of the house if you pose nude, you need to consider whether posing nude at this time in your current situation is a good idea.
3. You can always pose nude later, but you can not take it back once you do it.
If you are not sure, you can always wait, but once you pose nude, you can not take it back. So many times I hear of nude models who do a few shoots, then start dating a different guy or their parents find out, and they demand the photographers remove all photos of them. If a photographer does this, they are doing it out of kindness. They are not generally legally obligated to do so, at least in the US. If you think this may be your situation, you need to reconsider posing nude at this time. Many models do wait and I think most of them are quite alright with their decision to put it off until a better time.
4. You will be tempted to go outside your limits, but you really need to set hard limits that you will stick to.
At some point you may be tempted to break your limits for some reason (usually money), but this is not something you should do on a spur of the moment decision. You also need to know which of your limits are negotiable and which are hard limits. Hard limits are limits that you will not break. They are not negotiable. Only you can make these decisions, and I cannot tell you what they might be.
If you’re looking for more advice on this topic, please read my article on limits: New Model Guide: Your Modeling Limits.
5. Many models do have relationship/dating issues that have to do with their nude modeling.
Some significant others are very supportive and understanding. Some are jealous. In general, I do not think you should be in a relationship with someone who does not support you. But I also think you have to decide what is most important to you.
If you are dating and modeling nude, most people agree that you need to tell the other person at some point. When you do this up to you. Some people think it is best to do so right away, some think you should wait until it is more serious, others see the right time as somewhere in between. I think you know your relationship best and you probably have the best idea of when is a good time for you.
6. People will probably make some weird/incorrect/annoying/inappropriate assumptions about you.
When people find out you model nude, some of them will assume some things that probably are not true. For example, I have heard/experienced people assuming the following based solely on someone being a nude model: that you are sexually promiscuous, that you are a party animal, that you are anorexic, that you sleep with some/all of the photographers you shoot with, that you shoot porn, etc. We all handle these differently. I choose to find them amusing most of the time. Sometimes I will simply state that I feel confident in what I do and give them a short bit on my reasons for posing nude and in the styles I do.
7. You have to be comfortable in your skin and learn your body.
As a nude model you are completely exposed, often to people you do not really know. You have to be comfortable posing in your own skin.
You also need to learn about your body. Learn what angles and poses work for you. This is something that comes in time, but you do need to work on it. You cannot control the angles and lighting the photographer shoots with, but you can make sure you do not do things that are generally unattractive, such as hunching over making your stomach fold (unless that is the point of the shot).
8. You will need to be comfortable talking about your body.
I have talked to people about my butt, my breasts, my pubic hair, and my labia. I do this straight-faced, and matter-of-fact. It is just part of being a nude model. You have to be able to talk about your parts.
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