A Moment of Vanity

Dating the beautiful model Kristina Nikitina, has caused me to look at myself in another way. I'm used to being behind the camera, safely away from scrutiny in today's image infested world - of which I take my portion of responsibility as a photographer of course. I have the utmost respect for models, and am in awe of the confidence, dedication and patience of putting up with us photographers striving for the perfect image. This was made no more apparent to me, than in a challenge Kristina recently posed.

As a model, she is (and I am) lucky to have a fantastic selection of beautiful and sexy pictures of her. I couldn't be luckier and prouder as a boyfriend. But in the interest of balance, I had nothing to reciprocate when she asked for a 'sexy selfie'. Nothing I was proud of at least. Now, a simple iPhone selfie wouldn't cut it for me. I had to create something I hoped she'd remember.

iPhone picture of the set-up. Nikon D7000 with Sigma 35mm F1.4, tethered to Lightoom 5 on iMac. Camera set at 1/25, f8, ISO160. SB600 triggered by Cactus V5's balanced in ceiling lamp shade.

Behind the Scenes

The next day, I hit the gym. Hard.

Suitably knackered, I set everything up for my turn in front of the camera. I tethered my D7000 to Lightroom 5 on my iMac, with my beautiful Sigma 35mm F1.4 attached. The camera was nearly always set at 1/25, f8, ISO160. 

I balanced my trusty, 7 year old Nikon SB600 with diffuser, just outside the ceiling lamp shade, attached to my Cactus V5 triggers, at approximately 1/16 power.

Sadly my Nikon radio trigger was out of battery, and I didn't fancy running back and forth to press the self-timer. No, that would be the silly part of a grown man posing in his underwear for a mini photoshoot, just so he can impress his girlfriend. Especially when you see some of the poses I tried...

I used the wireless Apple mouse under my foot to trigger the camera, by pressing the tether capture button on screen. This made things heaps easier, and it was incredibly helpful to see on screen just how awful most of the poses, lighting and facial expressions were, immediately after each shot.

After a couple hundred attempts, I was left with a few pictures that didn't make me cringe quite so much. I processed them using Lightroom to remove blemishes, and Alienskin Exposure 6 to desaturate and add a bit of contrast, but that's about it.

So that's it. Me... naked. In every sense of the word.

What's your experience of self-portraits, particularly nude ones?