One of the most frequent requests I hear is to keep a client's face unrecognizable in her photos. There are now many places on the internet where a woman might want to post sexy photos without exposing her true identity, so naughty photographers need to understand how to do this well.
It can be a real challenge to make a client look sexy without showing her face, since the face is what shows the personality and gives the viewer a sense of connection. If possible, I always like to include eye contact with the camera in my boudoir and erotic images. I feel they are much more powerful that way. But sometimes with a paying client you must be able to hide the face while still creating sexy photos.
Here's my pet peeve: The worst possible way is to use an editing program to blur out the face or put a black spot over it, just like the old fashioned censors used to do with body parts that would be too shocking for public view. I hate that! And it is certainly very poor advertising for the woman in the photo. I'm not even going to post an example, you've seen hundreds of those on the net. Ugh!
There are many methods to capture a good erotic photo without showing the face and I will demonstrate a few of my favorites. The simplest is just to crop below the face. This works great if you have a shapely body and some nice exposed skin, like these three images:
You can use the hair to hide the face, if it's long enough. It's up to the client to decide how much of her face must be obscured, so I always discuss this with her in advance, then try to provide several variations for her to choose from. If the client has very long hair, it is tempting to just let it hang down in front of the face, like this example:
My problem with this pose it that there is too much hair in a rather featureless mass. It reminds me of "Cousin It" from the Addams Family. See what I mean?
I think the photo below is a somewhat better example of hiding the face with the hair. The black hair with reflected highlights forms a more three dimensional, sculpted head of hair.
Another way to avoid the Cousin It look is to break up the mass of hair with an arm or other object, so that the hair doesn't overwhelm the other elements of the composition, which are the various curves of the body.
I like the example below, because the hair is a good size in relation to the other elements, the hair has a nice three dimensional look and there are other sexy details to catch the eye.
My favorite method for hiding the face with the hair is to allow an eye, a mouth or a nose to show as you can see in the photo below. This can be tricky, because everyone has their own thoughts about how much of the face has to be hidden to protect someone's identity. I always discuss this with my client in advance to avoid creating photos she can't use.
If you have a shapely back and/or derriere to work with, you can simply have the model face away from the camera. But remember, the camera adds weight, so this works better for thinner and more toned subjects.
One of the easiest ways to avoid showing the face is to shoot close ups of the body parts that are traditionally considered erotic. Here is a rather tame example. FYI, most of my clients prefer something more graphic.
There are many other ways to hide the face during an erotic photoshoot. The subject can wear a mask, hold a scarf in front of her face or wear a wide brimmed hat tilted down.
The hardest situation to work with is when the client says she wants to look really sexy, but does not want to show her face or body. Yes, I've actually been asked to do that several times. It is possible to zoom in on a pair of feet in high heeled shoes, a pretty piece of jewelry or simply the subject's hands and make them look interesting, even elegant, but sexy? My guess is that many women would say yes, but most men would say no, so it depends on your target audience.
And one last thought about hiding the client's identity. It all depends on who she is hiding it from. If you are just trying to avoid the face-recognition software on social media sites, simply hiding most of the face is probably enough. But if you are trying to hide from an ex-lover, don't forget those pesky tattoos!
A sex-positive photographer serving your private photography needs.
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