by J. Rae Chipera, owner

Photographing nude models (glamour photography) requires more than simply recruiting a model who is willing to pose nude. Obviously there are the photographic staples: lighting, set planning, composition, post-processing, etc. but there is even more than that to consider.

<<<<<Right off the bat, let’s cover some essential legal topics. Always always always check the model’s identification before allowing him or her to pose nude for you. I recommend keeping a photograph of the driver’s license for your records in case someone challenges the age of your model.>>>>>

Ok… now that my lawyers are satisfied, here’s the real article:

The decision to venture into the world of glamour photography will require you as an entrepreneurial photographer to prepare some answers to a few questions you will undoubtedly encounter when working in this field.

First, most models require a payment to pose nude even if they typically do not ask for payment otherwise. Decide whether or not you are financially capable of paying a model, and if you are, you should determine how much you are willing to pay. Models typically have a rate in mind. The industry standard for an average model is about $100. If the model is published in glamour magazines like Maxim or Playboy, expect to pay more – maybe significantly more.

There are clients who will be uncomfortable working with you if you have glamour or nude photographs in your portfolio. If your primary business as a photographer comes from these clients, then you may not want to shoot glamour. Shooting nude models will probably rule out clients who are of certain religious persuasions, and it could rule out photographing minors. This is not to say that you must choose between photographing children and photographing glamour models, but more questions will arise if you have both genres in your portfolio, even if you have pictures of the models’ driver’s licenses.
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Model: Rebecca Carter, (C) 2014 J Rae Chip Productions
Earlier this year, I photographed Melissa Kat, one of the top models in the industry. She approached me about shooting topless in an interesting empty closet with a chain and punk wardrobe. She wanted something that was more edgy than other work in her portfolio, and I thought it was a great idea. So we shot it. It was artistic and beautiful, and I was very flattered when a glamour photographer I admire praised the image. However, that image has been a new kind of adventure for me as an entrepreneur. Although neither Melissa nor I intended it this way, it was seen as a “bondage image.” Some models are uncomfortable with that. The difference between art and pornography is sometimes in the eyes of the viewer.

I have already branded myself as an edgy photographer, and it’s perceived that there are few emotional lines I will not cross for the sake of art. The vast majority of the people I know from back home – who knew me as a kid – would say I pole vaulted across a line in 2011 when I photographed Kailtyn Roberts in the Linda Vista Hospital. Some ideas from that series were hers. Some were mine.

The decision to shoot a nude model for the first time is like getting a misdemeanor. It stays on your record, and it’s something you can never undo. And it can keep you from working for certain people. Now that I have shot those photographs, I can never become appealing to certain markets. I will forever be the photographer who shot "bondage," who shot a girl nude on the set of SAW IV, who shot the girl naked in church for Chrissakes, and who shot the naked zombie in the abandoned barber shop.

So in a nutshell, if the answer to any of these questions is no, then you might not want to shoot nude models:

  1. Do I want to be known as the photographer who shot that model nude, even if it was only once?
  2. Do I intend to photograph people who are under the age of 18 on a regular basis?
  3. Do I intend to work with a lot of clients who are Christian or Muslim?
  4. Am I prepared to have people call my art “pornography?”
  5. Do I want to ever work with clients who might be offended by what I am about to shoot?
  6. Am I prepared to get negative comments from the public if they are offended by my work?
  7. Would it bother me if certain organizations refused me as a member because I photographed nude models, even if it was artistic and not pornography?
  8. Do I want to become a controversial artist?

Finally, as I often say in my writing, it is important for you as a photographer to create what makes you happy. My reputation as a puritanical photographer was short-lived. But I’m glad.

Personally, I don’t get much joy out of shooting with children or puritans, so it doesn't bother me when people say my work is “not safe for work,” “of the devil” or “painful to the eyes.” I make it for me. And for the model. And seriously……. Not once has a model ever NOT had fun shooting with my crazy props. It’s like Halloween all the time over here, and who doesn’t like Halloween?

I will honestly say that I closed some doors to business that could be open if I had never taken those images in the hospital in 2011. That is something I will forever have to deal with. BUT it has been quite a lot of fun taking those images and all the “not safe for work” photographs after that. And like all things in life, some opportunities lost meant others were gained. I’ve met a lot of amazing models, photographers, and designers whose minds are similar to mine. And really, my art would be shit if I didn’t take photographs that I enjoy, so the clientele that is a “lost opportunity” probably wouldn’t be satisfied anyway.
 
 
by J Rae Chipera

Sometimes as a photographer, I get stuck in what I like to call "the abyss of the perfect frame." Film shooters might know more about what I'm saying. You go out with your camera and shoot 24 or 36 frames. Limiting yourself to just a few dozen photographs ensures you only shoot when everything is perfect. Then you develop the negatives, and when viewed under the enlarger, there is only one frame out of those few dozen that you think is worthy of your portfolio or just one that you think garners the vision you had for that particular shoot.

But that doesn't do if the client paid for more than one image. In fact, it can be a death sentence if you only have one frame you deem good enough. One saving grace is that inevitably, the client will always have a completely different opinion about which image is the perfect frame.
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"The Haunted Shower" - model: Calissa Lieben
For this particular shoot, I wanted to shoot glamour model Calissa Lieben as the ghost haunting the shower. Though I had many shots, this was the only one that I thought really captured that story. But I needed more than one to satisfy the shoot. So what do I do?

Well sometimes, even though one image tells the story just fine, adding a few other frames gets the story better. Calissa didn't get to see the images after I took them, as I had to scurry back to California right away, but I have a good idea of what models like, and I discerned that she would like the last image in my series the best - the one that looked the least like a ghost and the most like a model. 

These three images were not taken in this sequence, but when looking at each photo individually and rearranging the negatives or thumbnails in different ways, I was able to find the perfect three-photo series that tells the story of the sighting of the beautiful ghost and highlights just how beautiful Calissa is.
These are my two main objectives as a photographer who shoots horror: 1) Show the fear. 2) Show the beauty. The different emotions that Calissa was able to show on her face is an added bonus.

Adding the extra frames made me as the photographer - the creator - wonder what would happen if I took her hand in the last frame and followed her. I wondered how she died. What is she disgusted about in the second frame? If I as the photographer now have questions, the photo series tells the story needed.
 
 
by J. Rae Chip

Ok so this is a blog post about fake blood, so it should be common sense, but just in case...
THE IMAGE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BLOG POST (BELOW THE TEAR LINE) MIGHT BE DISTURBING TO SOME AUDIENCES. PEOPLE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 OR THOSE WHO ARE SENSITIVE TO GRAPHIC SCENES SHOULD NOT VIEW THE IMAGE BELOW THE TEAR LINE. For more information, please consult our terms of service.

 
 
by J. Rae Chip

The town of Danzig was located about halfway between the towns of Ashley and Wishek in south central North Dakota. In 1898, the Danzig Post Office opened, according to Ghost Towns of North Dakota. It closed and reopened again while the town struggled to populate. The population of Danzig never grew beyond 100 people, and one of the industries in the town, like most North Dakota towns, was agriculture. The remaining buildings of Danzig are two grain elevators (aside from the house of the two remaining inhabitants of Danzig.)

The book Danzig, North Dakota: 1906 - 2000: Gone But Not Forgotten by Geneva Roth Olstad, clarifies that Danzig was not really big enough to be a town until the Post Office's reopening in 1906. Olstad, a Danzig native, was born in 1944 on a farm just north of town. She said that most of the businesses in Danzig had already disappeared by then. She remembers attending a Christmas program at the Salem Evangelical Church. She attended the Danzig grade school and said it is said that she can never go back home again since Danzig no longer exists. However, she says that a piece of her heart will always remain in Danzig, North Dakota.
 
 
I, along with other photographers, was recently on Billy Wilson's online photography show, featuring horror photographers. Please watch it to learn more about the genre and my inspiration.
 
 
by J. Rae Chip

THIS POST HAS BEEN CHANGED / UPDATED AS OF MARCH 5, 2013. Portions have now been redacted.
The original has been archived as the same HTML code it came with. Given recent unethical activities by the person this was promoting, I had to change this to comply with the basic ethical codes of society.

Those who know me might be surprised to discover that I did a Christmas album this year. Needless to say, Christmas..... is not my niche. At. All. In fact, my artistic style and taste often clash with both social media, and Christmas.

It is for that reason precisely that I chose to do it.

Art is about expression of an emotion. Happiness is hard for me to uncover with film, so I mostly choose to convey the less-common (on social media anyway) portrayals anger, sadness, depression, deep anguish, and others of the like. For some, art is an expression of the emotion at the moment of the creation of the piece. That's not true for me. I decided I would try to put a bit of a lighter heart into this shoot.

Another reason for my album is because I don't often get to play with computer software for my photography. Most of my work is for the media, which has strict rules about software usage.  

 
 
by J. Rae Chip

These ten images have become the most popular of mine on social media platforms. Some have caused controversy.

BY CLICKING PLAY AND THEREFORE VIEWING THE ALBUM, YOU ARE AGREEING THAT YOU ARE OF APPROPRIATE AGE (AGE 18 OR OLDER) TO SEE THE IMAGES. SOME OF THE IMAGES IN THE ALBUM SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED BY SENSITIVE PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE, OLD PEOPLE, OR ANY PEOPLE, ACTUALLY.

Seriously. Some of my work is disturbing.
SOME OF THE IMAGES CONTAINED IN THIS ALBUM MIGHT BE TRIGGERING IF YOU HAVE POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.
[CLICK NSFW WARNING (ABOVE) TO ACCEPT TERMS AND VIEW SLIDESHOW]