With a recent surge in nude photographs hitting social media and the web, is it becoming normal to see the naked form in casual selfies and candid shots? Are we becoming more liberal with our bodies?

Nude-loving celebs

One of the most notable celebs who has taken the nude selfie to the masses is reality star Kim Kardashian. Although already known for sexy photoshoots for over a decade now, it wasn’t until her cover of Paper magazine in 2014 that she ‘broke the internet’ with her naked photographs by Jean Paul Goude.

Since then, she has used her social media platforms – most notably her Instagram account with 109 million followers – to post selfies and photographs of her nearly nude. She has also released a collection of merchandise that uses the ‘send nudes’ message…

Model Emily Ratajkowski is also well-known for her nearly nudes on Instagram. Fashion Industry Broadcast (FIB) says that she thinks of herself as a ‘passionate advocate for women owning, exploring and presenting their sexualities as a form of empowerment’.

It seems that women are using their social media accounts to share the images they want to, in the context they want to, and with the caption they have chosen. The power has shifted from magazine editors and male photographers back to the subject themselves. This freedom has obviously given women the platform to share as much or as little of themselves as they please.

When nudity has different meanings

As a photographer, it is up to you to capture the image and story you want to represent to the world. Whether this is a portraiture or candid image, or even a selfie, the message needs to be clear. Our post on visual storytelling explains how to get to grips with this.

So, what message are you giving with a nude photograph? There are many ways to go with this topic and the results can provoke very different reactions.

Sex appeal: The most obvious motive behind the nude photograph is sex appeal. The old adage ‘sex sells’ comes in to play and many photographers can make a decent living from this type of nude photograph. Nearly nude photographs are also popular in the beauty industry to sell products.

Empowerment: Whether promoting how amazing the human body is – pregnancy, overcoming illness, high-levels of fitness – or exercising your right to show off your body in the way you wish to, this is a very positive form of nudity and is very popular with viewers.

Fashion: Within the fashion industry, models are seen as coat hangers for designers to drape their clothing over. Some designers are keen on partial nudity when walking the catwalk, such as this selection of images shows for New York Fashion Week 2015.

Have you considered a photography apprenticeship? It could be the step up you need, as well as giving a wealth of experience, towards becoming a professional photographer.