About Michael Charles:

I’m a professional photographer based in Los Angeles. For nearly two decades, I’ve been shooting almost exclusively in the world of nude and erotic photography. My images have been featured in hundreds of national and international publications and appear on a wide variety of prominent websites.

Along the way, I’ve had some good people say some very kind things about me and my work:

Michael is one of the few photographers working today with the ability to create truly remarkable images of absolutely any type of woman. We’ve featured Michael’s work extensively in our varied publications.
– Elliot James, The Score Group

Michael’s talents are obvious. He has the rare skill of bringing out the sensual sides of young models while still capturing their innocence, playfulness, and true personalities.
– Louis B, Karups.com

I rely on Michael for provocative and unforgettable images of the world’s most beautiful women. And he always delivers.
– Publisher, 30+ Magazine, 40+ Magazine

I say with a certain amount of pride that I didn’t learn my photography skills at a prestigious school like Brooks Institute or CalArts. I learned from a combination of teaching myself through reading hundreds of books and assisting some of the top photographers in the world.

After graduating with a degree in psychology from The University of California at Berkeley, my girlfriend and I moved to West Hollywood and she started working in the advertising department for Guess Jeans. Those were the days when photographers like Wayne Maser and Ellen Von Unwerth were shooting unbelievably hip black and white ad campaigns for Guess featuring models like Claudia Schiffer and Carre Otis.

My girlfriend would often bring home marked-up contact sheets from these great photographers and it wasn’t long before I began to think that the whole process of fashion photography was the coolest thing ever.

I soon began reading every book I could find to teach myself photography. Looking back on things now, I wish I would have had my girlfriend simply ask Wayne Maser if he could use an assistant who would happily work for free. But instead, I simply continued to teach myself.

I eventually realized I’d learned all I could on my own. At this point, I sent out about a hundred letters to top photographers in Los Angeles asking if they could use an assistant.

From these letters, I ended up assisting quite a few different photographers over a two year span. I worked with Playboy photographer, Dick Zimmerman and legendary erotic shooter, Ken Marcus. However, the photographer I assisted most was Kal Yee. He was, and still is, an incredible photographer with exquisitely precise technique.

At the time, he was shooting the covers (and many of the editorial pages) for magazines like Muscle & Fitness, Men’s Fitness, and Shape. He was in huge demand for this type of work because he is so gifted at lighting bodies in ways that make them look virtually flawless. From him, I learned more than I can imagine.

During these years, my goal was to eventually become a fashion photographer. The thought of doing nude photography never even crossed my mind.

However, in retrospect, I realize that I was learning a lot from Kal about how to approach shooting bodies and how small details such as a model arching her back by just a few more degrees could make a huge difference in the final look of an image.

Eventually, I felt I was ready to start shooting my own stuff in the world of fashion photography. However, I very quickly came to the realization that I had absolutely no interest in “Women’s Fashion.”

Looking back on it now, it’s a little hard to believe. But the truth is that it never really dawned on me that fashion photographers have to put tons of effort into making the clothes look good (after all, that’s what the pictures are selling).

After my epiphany, it didn’t take long to realize that what I had liked about fashion photography all along were the boundary-pushing photography styles.

From my years of experience, I had a great deal of knowledge regarding how to light models well and how to make women look their best. This knowledge, combined with my utter lack of interest in women’s clothes, caused the world of nude photography to become a fairly logical field to get into.

I quickly began learning the process of shooting and selling this style of photography (once again, teaching myself as I went along). I must admit that there was a lot of trial and error involved in the beginning. However, I stuck with it and eventually found a great deal of success.

And you can do the same.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to do nude photography, you might want to check out my eBook, SKIN: How To Take Stunning Nude Photos.