Some on this site don't seem to understand why there are so many nudes on this site. It's easy to dismiss this wonder as mostly GWCs ("Guys with Camera") or Fauxtographers using their gear to take advantage of naive young women, proliferating the Internet with horrible snapshots. While, I'll concede there is a fair amount of that happening, think the main reason for the glut of nude work on social media sites like DA is more practical.
I posit that the nude genres, specifically the art nudes, offers the most value than any other genres when it comes to shooting portrait photography. Here is why:
With the advent of social media, it's much easier to create buzz with a nude image than a non-nude one. Nudes draw more attention for a less talented Photographer
Whenever I get asked about why I don't shoot fashion work as much as I shoot nudes, I simply reply by stating that shooting fashion that's worth shooting usually means casting a team which I compare to herding cats. Since every person at the shoot is a potential single point of failure, casting for a full team just adds to the complexity of the shoot. With a art nude Model it's usually just arranging with the Model.
- Hair and Make Up Styling
Art nude typically don't require the use of a a Stylist for a high quality production. In fact it may be antithetical to the captures. Glamour, Commercial and Fashion definitely need that and for Beauty it's a requirement. You may luck up and have a Model that is skilled at styling themselves but most are proficient at best.
- Wardrobe Styling
Art nudes don't require much wardrobe, if any at all. Glamour, Commercial and Fashion definitely need wardrobe. That leaves you with either making the investment in obtaining wardrobe or relying on the Model's wardrobe (which she's likely shot to death already).
Hiring a Wardrobe Stylist is unlikely. The good ones are usually located near primary and secondary fashion and commercial centers (e.g. New York , LA, London, etc.) so that they can have access to a number of good designers. You may get some that use the "buy and return"model (btw, NOT RECOMMENDED) to get fashion items that are available at retail or you may get those that shop e-bay, thrift stores or consignment shops to get vintage items. These Stylists tend to be very selective with who they want to work with and add another layer of management that the Photographer has to deal with.
- Model's Rate
Art Models tend to be much more affordable than the Glamour Models that also do nude work. Art Models are usually between $50-$100 per hour versus the Glamour Model that go for $75-$150 per hour. Art Models tend to be more flexible with rates as well. Now if you are a freelance Model, it's much more challenging to get paid work for Fashion or Commercial work, especially given that all most all Models want to do that work and are willing to do it at low cost or trade unless they are agency repped.
Just looking at the above mentioned factors, working with an Art Model shooting nudes is a less stressful, more manageable and potentially more affordable option than the other genres. With Fashion, Beauty and Commercial work, you may be able to get everyone to do trade but you are going to pay with the time you spend trying to herd all the cats together for your shoot and every single person involved is a single point of failure versus dealing with just the Model and no one else (save their escort, but that's another post...lol). Also with those types of shoots, you are more likely going to have a massive shoot investment Glamour Models are awesome to work with but can be among the more costly in terms of hiring them for shoots. In my opinion, for the value, art nudes offer the most for the investment given the potential variable for shoot production.
What do you think? Let's propose that you have access to an awesome Model and a complete team of Stylist and access to designer wardrobe that are willing to trade with you but you can only shoot one genre. Which one of these would you shoot and why?