Beautiful erotic images must be carefully managed. A surprisingly small divide separates tasteful images from those that are in poor taste - and even pornography. The purpose of sensual photography is to capture the natural beauty and sexual allure of a model, so great care should be taken to that high standards are never compromised. Anyone can take tasteless, revealing or explicit images that serve only to degrade both the subject and the photographer. Don't go there! Be creative and produce pictures that the model would be pleased to show his or her Mum!
Erotic images are of course intended to be suggestive or provocative, but this can be achieved using quite modest approaches. It is not necessarily the case that a model should be photographed naked. Indeed, partial nudity can be more alluring and exciting that total exposure for both men and women. An image of a model photographed in delicate nightwear or underwear is likely to have much greater and wider appeal than a straight shot of the same model completely naked. Try posing models in modest positions, and in each case ask honestly whether less exposure would detract in any way from the overall effect. Of course it is always important to bear in mind the purpose for which images are being created. If the answer is unclear, perhaps the photography should be postponed until ideas crystallize.
When planning a shoot a photographer should always keep his or her feet on the ground. Straight pictures that viewers understand, and can relate to, are likely to be of more value in every sense. Also remember that the model is a thinking, feeling, beautiful human being and make sure that the ideas and poses do not place them in uncomfortable or degrading positions. Some photographers never ask a model to do anything they would not themselves be prepared to do. Don't let the imagination run too wild. The best shots are obtained when the subject is comfortable in mind and body, and hence relaxed and enjoying their work.
The worst thing a photographer can do is make suggestive remarks or flirt with the model. Imagine how that must feel for the model! A lot of confidence is required to take off most or all of your clothes in front of a camera. it is also vital that the model can trust the photographer when feeling so vulnerable. The issue of mutual trust lies at the heart of all people photography, but nowhere is it more important than when working within the nude, glamour and erotic genres.
As in most areas of photography, lighting is a key to success. However in the case of sensual work a small change in lighting has the potential to change beauty in to ugliness or even something sordid. Lighting generally needs to be soft, warm and subtle, and should be used to conceal as often as it is used to reveal. Think about the appropriate lighting well before the shoot and have in mind a number of options to try. Avoid keeping the model waiting while lights are shifted here and there as experimentation continues.
Finally, make sure the model is warm, comfortable, fed and watered. Provide him or her with a private area for changing and access to at least snacks and drinks. Also plan in to a session a couple of short breaks so the model can get a drink, check make-up, make a phone call etc.to this end, is a good idea for the model to have available a dressing gown or similar cover-up so that they are more able to relax during breaks.