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Indecent Exposure

By Iridiumphotographics, written 1549385519


We've all seen those lovely black and white low key images and silhouettes of nude models. The right ones can look very striking. But can there be more to these images than meets the eye?

Often, sadly, yes.

Modern digital cameras (including some of the high end phones like iPhones) have a very dynamic range when it comes to the amount of light gathered when taking an image. People shooting in RAW will know exactly what I mean. Images that are accidentally over or under exposed, are more often than not completely salvageable in Photoshop or a similar application. It's a good thing on the whole! Many a time that 'perfect' shot that initially looks badly exposed can be rescued and shown in its true glory.

This wonderful feature does have a drawback though. That is, that just as the photographer is able to drop the exposure on an image to conceal various private areas, it is often possible to download that image and push it back the other way.

Below is an image that I have been given permission to use by photographer TwistedPix. It shows a nice silhoette, with some detail hidden in the shadows.

Whilst some details are able to be seen on the image, it's actually quite discreet in what it does show.

Were the model to be naked (rather than wearing a leotard) I'm sure she would be quite happy that this image isn't particularly revealing.

However, download this image and push it up a few stops in Photoshop and the result is somewhat different.

Whilst I have deliberately used an image that hopefully isn't too graphic for this article, the point is that if this model had been nude, then it would certainly be a lot more graphic than intended. Take the tattoos on her right arm for example. These aren't even visible on the original image. Other details would show themselves in a similar manner.

How do you protect yourself against this? Well, that depends whether you're the model or the photographer.

TwistedPix told me of a shoot she was on where another photographer took an image of a nude model, with instructions not to show any of her genetalia. Sure enough the images appeared on the back of the camera to be so dark in that area so as not to be a concern. Later, however, the photographer cropped the image to just that area, brought the exposure up and sent the model a rather graphic image of herself!

So, as a model, just be conscious of this possibility when you are shooting implied or concealed nude work. It's always a good idea to ask the photographer to show you what shots they are taking. This doesn't have to be done in a confrontational way. I always show models the images as I go along anyway, as it helps the model to know how things are going, what she's doing right (or wrong) in order to get the most from the shoot. Asking from this point of view should never be met with refusal. If a photographer does refuse to show you the shots they're taking, especially if you are working nude, then I would be hearing alarm bells in my head.

As a photographer or model looking to publish your images to a website like Purpleport, it's quite easy to remedy these issues.

When you are editing your images, add an adjustment layer and pull the exposure up yourself to see what reveals itself. If something obviously needs covering, then using the paint brush tool with a black brush (or grey, depending on the exposure levels of the area in question) can permanently cover up any problem areas.. a bit like using a marker pen to censor a real photograph.

You can remove the exposure layer when you're done, but will be left with a suitably corrected image.

So there you have it. Be aware of the amazing features of Photoshop. Whilst extremely useful on the whole, some of those features can sometimes be used to your disadvantage.


Good luck with your careers!