Touching subjects and models

The subject comes up many times about photographers touching subjects and models during photoshoots, not just nude, intimate, or boudoir photoshoots. It’s been discussed in various social media groups and modeling related websites and there will be a variety of viewpoints. I am here to share mine, it’s really quite simple. When I am photographing a model, or a private client for any kind of intimate work, I am asking them for their trust based on my work, reputation, and personality. Many don’t have much time to know me well prior to working with me, only feeling me out in the initial vetting process. I refuse to take part in the silly stigmas that male photographers have to automatically be up to something, always bring bodyguards, all that fear mongering horse shit. But in return, I make sure that my reputation stays above board.

Every subject that comes to me for any nude or other intimate photos comes to me for my ability to capture the female form in it’s simple but elegant beauty. I want it to be a fun, and discreet experience for them. A photographer touching a scantily dressed or nude subject can make even an experienced model uncomfortable. Usually I ask the subject to move her shoulder back, space her fingers apart, loosen her grip, etc. Just simple yet important details to a photograph and it’s mood….and that usually suffices. If I need them to do something complex or if they are having difficulty understanding what I need them to do, I simply ask if I can adjust them. I’ve never been told no. I’ve never asked unless necessary, and it’s fairly rare. And even then, it’s adjusting an arm or shoulder. So in short…touching a subject isn’t usually necessary. But if it is necessary, only do so after asking. It removes any element of surprise and only buys the photographer credibility. Part of the accountability process.

artistic nude Nashville

Inspirations for your boudoir shoot

Or other nude / intimate photoshoot. A little free advice on this subject, by your friendly Nashville female form artist. Selecting the right photographer for this very personal project is very important. That you feel passionate about their style of capture of the body, lighting, mood, anything else that is distinctive about their style. Also, their level of respect and discretion towards their clients.

When making these selections, you should be able to give examples to that photographer about what inspires you about their work, whether it’s about a specific angle, lighting style, mood of a specific photo or series. That way they know what motivates you the most and be able to use that to help personalize your intimate photoshoot effectively.

Boudoir photography Nashville

In other words, if you want a specific result or style, that you have seen from other photographers, and see none of that in the photographer’s work you are looking at, it’s a clear sign that you need to go to the photographers who created the work you are most passionate about. Usually, clients who come to me are looking or my style specifically instead of the standard boudoir photographer / pillow arrangers. But it’s happened, where prospective clients show me a slew of ideas they send me on Pinterest or from other local photographers, and most of which, are NOT even my style. In that case, it’s clear that if that’s what they are looking for, we’re a mismatch.

Logic should prevail here, but it’s not about our fragile artist egos, it’s about hiring the right person for the right job. Use that person for their strengths that you are most passionate about. If that person doesn’t have it, and you have other preferences, find a way to hire those people. Going to a photographer and asking them to recreate the work of another is limiting, unfair, and often not do-able. Not to mention rude, though most don’t mean it to be. If a client is talking to me about completing her project, I’d want to know what it is about MY style thy like and want to incorporate into my shoot. It’s a specific choice.


Dating observations

Occasionally I bring my iPad to coffee shops, parks, or other random place for an hour or two for a change of scenery and do some writing / blogging away from home. I’m definitely an observer as people are present on the streets and in establishments, but with my photojournalism experience, I can do so without staring or being obvious. There are also times when I don’t care to, and focus on my own projects. I can tell a lot by how people interact with one another, about how mutually rewarding their relationship may be. I stay tuned in for very limited amounts of time, sometimes what I see is inspiring and I learn from it, and other times it’s depressing.

street photography

It’s always rewarding to see two people of any age, totally connected and tuned in to one another, just by subtle body language and a simple but loving touch. There should be someone for everyone, and it’s nice to see those people found it. Sometimes I also see the “relationship of convenience” couple, that are slouchy and look like the soul got zapped out of them. Neither exude happiness, as if both are down on their luck and they’re both over it. Perhaps, given the opportunity, one or both would go out on the other, if one didn’t monitor the other’s phone or watch their every move. Let’s not forget the shallow girl who always picks a certain type of guy, who is divided and disinterested towards her in public. After a string of them, you’d think a connection would be made and it wouldn’t be a surprise when they experience the same result with the next. Nope. Instead, oh all men are so horrible, boo hoo. Own your mess cupcake.

street photography

Occasionally we witness other peoples’ first dates while out and about. It’s great to see two people engaged in conversation, eager to hear about the other, no bored looks while the other speaks, etc. Eye contact even while taking a sip of coffee, wine, water with lemon slice, whatever their pleasure. Not to mention natural laughter as opposed to obligatory or nervous laughter. Always refreshing to know this still exists, without having to vie for second place to a phone. I only hope for both of them that one isn’t rebounding and not ready to date just because they can’t be alone. Always my biggest pet peeve when dating, meeting someone who has no business even dating because she too recently got out of another relationship. Neither the collateral damage to the other person they bring into their mess, or them making themselves the victim helps the overall health of themselves and society.


Occasionally you see the sophomoric dick joke guy meeting his soon to be mortified date. You’d think he’s with his buddies from high school, not a lady he is meeting for the first time. SO….either Shallow Hal is looking for an exit because her photo didn’t match up close enough for him, or he really is as smooth as sandpaper. LOL. Always see full body photos if dating online. Perhaps the girl mentioned in the second paragraph would be all over him? Hm….maybe I should offer this service, for a large fee 🙂

street photography

Let’s not forget the first date that is more like a job interview. The woman walks in there with the same body language as she would a business meeting, trying to select a candidate for a certain position. She’s not about the idle chit chat, she wants to get to the core of the guy quickly so her time isn’t wasted, and so she can interview the host of other men on her list. This poor guy is pretty much eliminated before they sit down together. She is either jaded by the past or is taking advantage of supply and demand and enjoys that control. He’s trying to break the ice with her and lighten the mood, by asking questions about her and covering one thing at a time to keep it organic. But nope, she’s got to act like a douche bag and give him the speed dating quizzes so to speak. Almost looking for a difference of opinion on social issues or politics, or not like the way he holds his fork, coffee mug, etc. If he “passes” that rigorous test maybe he does have a shot, if he’s not turned off.

street photography

I get it, when you meet people to date, you want to make sure something is there, but honestly, there should be an inkling of that feeling before going on an actual date. Any instant incompatibilities and red flags can reveal themselves quickly if some conversation takes place on the phone etc. It also takes time to get to know people. Loud mouthed political and religious discussions do not belong on a first date. Before any conversation like that happens, I’d want to know I’m with someone who keeps an open minded approach to all subjects and knows how to interact with those who feel differently. Of course certain core values need to match up, but what fun is life if everyone thinks the same? I’m fine with being asked some questions, as well as random interests / conversation, and I ask her about herself, it’s all a healthy balance.

street photography

It’s pretty obvious to me when I’m being borderline interrogated, and it will not only make me think this chick is manipulative, but probably what I can offer her wouldn’t be enough. I may intentionally blow the date using a subtle approach that will seem very random but ambiguous to her. Not everyone is oblivious to, or will play your game honey 🙂 Take it down a notch, you might just find some good people. Fortunately, there are all kinds.

street photography


Zombie apocalypse in Kentucky

I got together with Sarah Jane, a muse and friend of mine, to do her senior portraits, and we decided to also do a styled, but dark artistic photoshoot. As we have before, and will do again, LOL. She is a talented theatrical and special effects makeup artist, so we combine that with my knowledge of long exposure photography to do a successful conceptual photoshoot. These were done at a cemetery in Bowling Green, just before sundown. We literally had maybe 30 minutes for her to throw makeup on, get her contacts in, tatter her dress, etc. and for me to get the tripod and camera ready, etc. Gates would be locked at sundown, but we made it 🙂


These were all captured with my Fuji XT-1 and zeiss 32 1.8 . This one was a 2 second shutter speed.


zombiezombie photo

I had her make a couple abrupt motions and stay still in each transition, 4 second shutter speed.


This may look like extensive post production, not really. My Photoshop skills are more skin and people repair and color / black and white work, far more so than background manipulation. I did no work to change the “ghosting of the subject” I simply played with highlights and shadows a little, played with colors, film grain in some, and used either or both a PSD texture background with scratches and another with a textured building with cracks in it. In which case, I add a layer and adjust opacity and add as a background layer. Just mainly to dirty it up and add a little background texture but not change the overall photo or subject matter. The Zombie apocalypse in Kentucky has come. 🙂





Travel expense for collaborations

I only offer a very limited amount TF, trade or collaborative photoshoots. When I do, I am careful to make sure that model has the right look for the project, our styles of work would benefit one another, and our terms match up. If we’re both investing our time and talents it may as well be worth our efforts, right? One topic I’ve seen come up multiple times in various online model and photographer community discussions, travel expense for collaborations. I saw one topic where the model asked if she could ask for gas money to travel to a photographer 50 miles away for a trade shoot. Of course she got a myriad of answers.

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Of course a lot of it depends on who approaches who about the shoot, etc. but if both parties don’t equally value the shoot, why do it? There have been times I’ve traveled to shoot with a specific model and I never asked them for gas money. If it were a true collaborative shoot. Other times they’ve traveled to me. If a private client, I add any applicable travel expense to the job. My answer to this model was, is it worth a 50 mile trip to have this photographer’s work in your portfolio or not? If not, why do the shoot?

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If it were me, I’d think it’s a bit petty. Even if I don’t vocalize this exactly as I’m writing it….My thought would be, I am collaborating with you when clients pay a minimum of $300.00 for me to shoot for them. And I’m not asking you to help me pay to heat and cool my studio, wear and tear on camera gear, time spent retouching photos after you’re long gone, etc. We all live in the same economy, but if you can’t suck it up and cover 15 or 20 dollars worth of fuel for our shoot, clearly you don’t value having my work in your portfolio. It keeps things on an even playing field if no money is exchanged, we all have our investments in our crafts. If one paid the other for travel, it’s not a true collaboration or TF shoot. If it’s a condition to do the shoot, it’s up to both parties to decide.


Boudoir photoshoot at Hotel Preston

I met a new aspiring model recently who was in need of some portfolio development, and was interested in exploring boudoir and implied nude photography. But she has had a couple disappointing experiences and needed to discuss first, which was smart. I explained to her that as she finds herself as a model, she will be conscious of angles and know her own body better, and will know more about vetting photographers and freelance assignments. She knows that part of her search criteria for a photographer involved in intimate art and female form has to understand body angles as well as building trust with the subject. Especially before a subject or model has lots of experience being photographed in any stage of undress, they are vulnerable and it’s the photographer’s responsibility to provide a good experience. That doesn’t mean be a white knight, etc. But just to respect the fact that they are trusting us to be discreet, not cross lines, and to capture them in a flattering light.

We used the Hotel Preston near the Nashville International Airport. Hair and makeup artistry by Jordan Breetz Nashville.

boudoir photography Nashville

Boudoir nashville

Boudoir Nashville

Boudoir Nashville

The hotel offered a nice furnished boutique setting especially since it was a little chilly outside to use abandoned locations….and this particular setting fit her look better. I offer hair and makeup and option to use boutique hotel for my clients’ boudoir shoots. The goal was to capture mood, beauty, softness, and sensuality, yet retain elegance. Female form in it’s glory.

Boudoir Nashville

Boudoir Nashville

Boudoir nashville

Boudoir photography nashville

Boudoir Nashville

Boudoir nashville

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the boudoir and implied nude photos of Kaila, it was rewarding to me that she was pleased with the photos and experience she had, win 🙂


Location photoshoot safety

This is a different part of the safety discussion than the whole tired escort debate, bringing butthurt boyfriends and chatty friends to save models from the big ogre evil pants photographers, le sigh, LOL. But more rather physical safety for both the model and photographer at the location. Basic location photoshoot safety. My particular choice of locations makes this a pertinent discussion in that extreme I suppose. It’s my job as a project coordinator and photographer to prepare my subjects for potential hazards. That by the way a location like this isn’t my pick for every client or model, it doesn’t fit everyone’s look or the end result styling they’re going for.

edgy model

I’m no white knight who has to over protect the damsels in distress….they’re not children and I don’t treat them like it or mollycoddle them. But I’ve seen photographers ask models to get in cold or nasty water with no thought of them getting sick or hurt, etc. Total other extreme…That’s tool-ish. But some care should be given. When I use these abandoned and distressed locations, sure it’s fun and creates a dramatic mood to the photos, as well as a nice contrast with the beauty of the female form and subject matter. But there are dangers. Debris, broken glass, nails, needles, etc. strewn about the floor….nails sticking out of the walls, etc. exposed hazardous materials etc. Poking, cutting, or falling hazards exist. I always let them know that possibility and look over the shooting area we are using before bringing them in. But they know the risks. And we together determine they’re worth the reward. I encourage them to be very careful about where they go barefoot or not do it at all. Just a little chivalry and not to the point of knighthood. 😀

Farm house nude series finale

I’m sad to see this series end, but this was indeed a very special artistic nude photoshoot that will serve me well for a portfolio update. That just makes me work harder to bring the next shoot up to par, progression 🙂 I feel the timing of this article is just right, the day after Thanksgiving! I am not only thankful for family and friends that I get to spend time with whether it’s Thanksgiving or not, but also I am thankful for all the things that go into nude art. The brave and confident subjects, their trust in me to capture them in an elegant and flattering way, light, color, and texture. Most of all….the efforts of all involved to change public ignorance so that more would see nude and intimate photography as art and not something dirty. These are inside the workshop with lovely beadboard walls. The way the paths of light entered through the open doorway and the cracks in the corners of the building really gave me an ideal shadowed mood lighting.

Nude photography Nashville

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Nude photography Nashville

I hope at least some of you spend what is known in the states as black Friday carrying on your thankfulness for the people in your lives and the art that inspires us. Or whatever else gets you through the day. Something other, I hope than feeding the greed of the corporate machine by participating in the savage black Friday shopping day. I am thankful for every day I can create and for the clients and models I am blessed to have 🙂 Hope you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

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intimate photos


Farm house nude series 3

Thank you for joining us for another exclusive Farrell Gallery Nashville edition of Farm House Nudes series 3. We move now to in front of the workshop and enjoy perspectives of the tall grass, distressed architecture and wood of the structure. Capturing the graceful motions of her body as she takes in the Kentucky countryside where a family once worked, rested, and made their life. We were going for organic, fly on the wall and intimate perspective. Not a garish contrived over glamour feel. Gentle and fluid it goes.

Nashville nude photography

Nude photography Nashville

Nude photography Nashville

Nude photography Nashville

The setting sun and the lens flare to help add some dreamy mood to the photo 🙂

boudoir photography Nashville

Only in the beginning and ending moments of the day can you get the low and soft sun with such warm tones. Shadows are soft, light is soft and warm and not hard and cold as it is hours before. Light and color, texture, as well as composition are very important elements in creating dynamic boudoir and nude photography. Every turn of the model’s neck, toes, fingers, head, etc and motion / expression captured has to work with the aesthetic values of the photograph. Plus the comfort and confidence level of the subject is told in the photograph. Intimate photoshoots of any kind require a balance of paying attention to the subject and instilling the mood you need and paying attention to body elements and angles, as well as technical and lighting aspects of the photography. This is what separates a craftsman or woman from a snapshot artist. 🙂 Now for some facing the corn field, and that defining moment as the sun said good night 🙂

Nude photography Nashville

Nude photography Nashville

nude photography Nashville


Farm house nude series 2

Welcome back for another episode of Farm house nude series 2! I really love this rich location, complete with a Victorian house, a storage shed, and a garage / workshop. All had been uninhabited for years…The corn field behind it had been mowed, the grass had been mower periodically. Seldom does a car pass by. There’s nothing to stop the wind. No sounds of the city that usually just become white noise in my ears. This 45 minute journey from my home in East Nashville reminds me Americana still exists, and it’s comforting. It’s healthy for us to explore worlds that are different or new to us. No matter how country this location is, the right mood and sensuality from the nude model’s face and body, combined with proper use and control of lighting can still bring a cosmopolitan feel to this Southern Kentucky farm house nude photoshoot.

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boudoir photographer Nashville

I love the perspective of this boudoir photography in nature look. The blades of grass providing their foreground perspective. The windswept hair, alone with her spirit and nature. The background texture, the model displaying confidence and sexy but modesty at the same time is what I think makes the above image. More to come soon 🙂