Are You Ready For a Nude with Tarantula Photo Shoot?

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Are You Ready For a Nude with Tarantula Photo Shoot?

The model search for a woman to pose nude with a Chilean Rose tarantula was interesting. It was only the 4th client I asked that was thrilled to do it.

Freya is a large 12-year-old Tarantula. She will fill the palm of your hand. Freya is a rescue pet owned by Krista. Desirea is my enthused client turned model; she also brought a friend who joined in for a few shots at the end.

We warmed up the studio for Freya then turned off all of the fans. Moving air makes her wary and uncomfortable. Tarantulas are very fragile, and they know they are. So they are cautious, we had to be too.

My original idea was to create some shadowy black and white studies. Seeing Freya’s pink coloring I did not want to lose that in the BW.

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We only had a two hour window for our session.  So the studio was set up pretty much ready to go before the talent arrived.

I assembled a platform with a black plexi surface for posing on. Black fabric hung about 8 feet from the platform. For light I had a 6 foot Profoto softbox suspended by a boom over the platform. This gave us a soft directional light. I really enjoy the quality of this light. At the other end of the studio a Profoto was set up with a white reflective umbrella to give us a delicate fill light.

Krista took Freya out of her traveling home and she put her on a bright towel so she would be easy to see. Our spider model was content to just rest there. No Diva demands from her!

Desirea arrived just abuzz with excitement. She is one of the leanest, fittest women I have ever photographed; power yoga with clean eating does have its results.

We started with Desirea stretched out on her back. We placed Freya in different places. She made delicate slow movements that slightly tickled our model.

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We found the one spot Freya was not happy was on Desirea’s tummy. We think it was her breathing, the gentle rise and fall of her abs, that was unsettling.

I worked with different lenses; one of my favorites for this was the Canon 100 macro lens. The wide-angle lens created some very unusual effects. Raised up in the palm of her hands, so it was close to the lens Freya got really big. In some of the images, the camera angle give a slight illusion that Desirea’s limbs were a bit spidery as the lens elongated her.

When you are working with such delicate pets the model needs to be very calm, move slowly and cautiously. Getting  a woman who is completely comfortable with no apprehension is critical. They also need to be patient since searching for angles, gently nudging our spider model into place takes time.

I love the long lens landscapes of her figure with Freya perched on her bum or legs or shoulder. The light really made each hair on Freya stand out, bringing out her delicate coloring. These images don’t come into their own until they get up to wall size.

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Desirea brought along some jewelry, my favorite was a gold chain piece that looked like a web, worn over her shoulders. It seemed really fitting. With the jewelry in place, we moved the light to vertical, up close. Freya took up her perch on the web-covered shoulders.

With spiders, like other pets, you want their heads facing towards the light. As we moved Desirea in different angles to the light, Freya would be nudged into position. Krista would gently nudge her around, speaking softly. With no reluctance, Freya would move to where I needed her.

In the last half hour Desirea’s friend appeared. She was as excited as Desirea. With the light setup on the side, time ticking down, we stayed with the standing poses. She had some very slinky looks for the camera.

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I liked the nonchalant way the girls posed with Freya. It gives the image a very natural look. Freya just settled in wherever Krista put her.

Working with spiders is on the fringe of things. While spiders are not popular they have a place in the scheme of things. They are delightful to photograph. The contrast with a landscape of skin makes for very interesting imagery.

These images will become part of our fine art collection. Rare opportunities come along with more frequency than most photographers notice. Take advantage of them. At the very least you will have a conversation piece while exercising your photographic eye.

Then again, you might get something as cool as a pink tarantula on a naked woman.

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