Coming from a strong background in fine art landscape photography as well as studio photography for advertising, I’m keenly aware of the effect great lighting has in creating images.
Because of that, when I am shooting fine art nudes, I always try to scout locations in advance so that I can pick the time of day when the light on the figure and the light on the background is optimal.
Here’s a great example. While teaching the Joshua Tree Nude Workshop, I saw this location late afternoon. The sun was setting off to the left, so the rocks and the model were in shadow. And because I had to open up to expose properly for them, the sky was very light. In fact, I had to pull back the highlights from the raw file in Lightroom during processing.
Notice the difference in the image when I returned the next morning. Now the sun was in off to the right, allowing me to make a full sun exposure so the sky was properly exposed. And the light coming from the side also put the model in full light while the cave was in shadow, creating wonderful separation of values. In addition, the oblique angle of the sun also accentuated the texture and dimensionality of the rock.
Shooting great fine art nude photography is really no different that shooting any other subject. Have patience, shop for the light, and plan accordingly.