Stuart Smith Guest Post following Fine Art Nude Workshop


I thought I would write and tell you all about my experiences at the Fine Art Nude Workshop at Film Photo Studios in Cheltenham recently, this was my first nude shoot (the models not me) and to say I was a little nervous was an understatement. First a little about the course, it's run by Simon Walden and takes place at a custom built studio just a few minutes from the centre of Cheltenham, I had a choice of either 1 day for £85 or 2 days for £160, I chose the latter. I booked 2 nights at the Travelodge for a cost of £50, I booked about a month in advance to get the cheaper rates, there is a KFC and Harvester restaurant on site so it makes for a great base but allow 20 mins to get from the hotel to the studio due to the early morning traffic.

The course itself runs from 10.00am to 5.00pm but registration on both days is at 9.30am, tea, coffee and biscuits are included. Over the 2 days you shoot 4 models alternating between several studio sets, there are 2 groups with up to 8 people in each group. Simon looks after one group and his colleague Graham looks after the other, we started with Graham and he told us we would be working on a low key lighting set up with our first model. Some time was then spent going through camera settings and finding out what level we shot at, beginner or intermediate. Next he explained a little about the lighting set up and what we were trying to achieve as an end result, then it was time for our model to come in.

Our first model Artemis Fauna comes in and chats to us and the first photographer is chosen, a tip for you, if you don't want to go first don't sit at the end of the line ;). Luckily I was sat in the middle so had a chance to watch others do their stuff, this helped a lot. We were given anything from 4-8 mins to shoot each model which doesn't sound a lot but is actually enough to get the shots you need. I just forgot the breathe most of the time so kept telling myself to relax.

So a little about Artemis, quite simply a lovely girl and a wonderful model who is more than happy to help and to improvise to ensure you get that shot you are after, she has a great look and flawless body that needs no retouching whatsoever. Have a look at her Purpleport page and you will see what I mean. She gave me a good tip and that was every so often show the model the photos you have taken, it gives them and you a good idea of how things are progressing.

After a brief tea break it was time to meet our second model Sharon, it was easier this time as we knew what to expect, the lighting set up was the same as before but Sharon provided some different poses and ideas.As you can see the images produced with Sharon were very different to those produced with Artemis, both great models but different body shapes and different personalities produce different results. Sharon's Purpleport Page is full of great images for this lovely model, book her and you won't regret it.

One of the options available was to book the models for extra time at the end of the day, a group of 4 did this and although it was only an extra hour we got some great images after the course finished. I thoroughly enjoyed day 1 and was extremely happy with the images we produced and couldn't wait for day 2.

Day 2 was fundamentally the same as the first but with 2 new models and a much better understanding of what to do and what NOT to do. I had spent the previous the night coming up with some ideas for day 2 and got up early and bought a full size hula hoop as a prop! Our new model was the lovely Katra Knight who yet again provided us all with some great ideas and poses, she is also trained in dance so spent a great deal of time jumping, spinning and twirling so much so we broke her! However like a true professional she didn't moan she just carried on. Loved working with her, great personality and just a little mischievous.Katra is great, another one full of ideas and her dance skills really add an extra dimension to her posing and in turn the photos that are produced, one thing we did that can be seen in the first photo above was to turn the flash lights off and use only continuous lighting, this resulted in the cool shadow behind Katra. Here are Katra's Purpleport pages.

Last and certainly not least is the very versatile Autumn Sapphire and I think she describes herself best.......stolen from her Purpleport profile, "I am a model, a performer, an unashamedly exuberant poser and (show off/exhibitionist)"I loved working with Kirsty and feel she really tested me as a photographer, she made me push my limits and think outside the box a little more than normal, hopefully that shows in some of the photos above. Her Purpleport page is full of some really great images that I'm sure you will love.

So once again a few of us stayed behind to get some extra time with the models and once again it was well worth it. All in all it was a fantastic 2 days and I'm really happy with all of the different images I got and loved working with all the models.

model models page purpleport working Simon Q. Walden,, sqw, FilmPhoto, photography

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