Compositional Elements of Erotic Photography

I know so many erotic content creators and I think that’s wonderful. I know writers, photographers, and artists that are busy making content so they can make a living or bring notoriety to their work.

It’s hard work, especially if you’re starting, and you want to make sure that whatever you create, it’s on par with what the “market” demands.

No matter what type of content you create (erotic or non-erotic), I find that photographers have it very hard. Mostly because many different variables affect the outcome of their images.

She hints that she’s nude underneath, perhaps she woke up as her lover was leaving?

However, if you have command and even mastery of the following three compositional elements, then you’re on a good path to making some great images.

I’m talking about lighting, mood, and posing.

These three compositional elements make up 90% of the photo, the remaining 10% are just camera settings, exposure, and ISO. While important, you can be forgiven by a noisy photograph more so than by being in a bad pose or having terrible lighting.

We’ll look at all three elements in a recent Instagram photo I came across from artist, poet, and writer .

© GB Rogut, 2021 — used with permission

First and foremost this is a beautiful and very sensual photograph. The lighting is a wonderful even light, diffused, with a gradual fall off into the background. I suspected that it was ambient light and possibly facing north and our Instagram chit chat revealed that it was a north-facing window.

One of the most distracting things you can do is force a viewer’s eyes to hunt around your image…

The beauty in this is that there are no blown highlights and there is sufficient detail in her dark hair, the blackest part of the photo. The point of exposure appears to be on her face.

When dealing with light we often have to be keenly aware of where the brightest and darkest parts of the photograph are, and balance between them (that’s the other 10%, exposure), but you can’t do any of that if you don’t have light.

The second element is mood. The mood is sensual, it’s tender, and it’s personal. She’s in a bedroom, on a bed, and wrapped in a blanket. She hints that she’s nude underneath, perhaps she woke up as her lover was leaving?

This mood is reminiscent of a boudoir-type photo, it’s not an explicit erotic photo but it communicates with the viewer that this “sexy photo is just for you” and that draws the viewer in.

The last big element is the pose. Her pose is a classic feminine pose and her eye contact makes this image so personal. She’s looking right at you and that locks your eyes instantly.

One of the most distracting things you can do is force a viewer’s eyes to hunt around your image, you want them to find a key focus point to lock on and then let them explore your photo. In this case, it’s her eyes and from that focus point, you become aware of the rest of the photo.

She’s looking over her shoulder and slightly up to you. You then notice her bare shoulder, her neck, and her long earrings.

Notice, I didn’t write about the camera or settings she used. The end image is what matters and by that extension your vision. No one asked Picasso what brushes he used, did they?

If you have command over lighting, mood, and pose, you’re well on your way to making an awesome photograph, erotic or not.


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