So you're tired of shooting in the studio (or in my case, you can't afford a studio) and there's some beautiful scenery in the area and you want to shoot outdoor nudes. Before you do there are several things you should know. A few helpful tips I learned from many years of shooting outside in northern Arizona. And while I shoot female models, these rules apply mostly the same regardless of the gender of model or photographer. With the help of a few of dA's nude photographers and models, I though I would illustrate a few key points to shooting outdoors.
Know your location
The first thing you need to know is your location. Go and scout it out before the shoot, preferable several times at different times of day and figure out when the lighting is best. While the Golden Hour is probably the best time of day it may not always work out that way and the model is probably on a schedule and she'll fit you in when she can so you need to know if you can get any descent shots at high noon. You may need to shoot during the week in case the area sees more people during the weekends. Learn if there is anything, like houses or powerlines, that you need to shoot around or hide.
Also give the model as much info beforehand as you can, that way she doesn't show up with a pair of pumps when you may be hiking a half-mile. Give her as complete an idea as possible what exactly the shoot will entail. Or if possible, send her a picture of the location ahead of time. You might try to consider not shooting with a new model and new location at the same time. Keep it simple: try the new locations with a model you've worked with before. Use a familiar location with a new model so you have a better handle on how to shoot her.
Know the local fauna and flora
I have had some experience with wildlife while shooting outdoors. Generally the pack of coyotes running past will give you a wide berth and leave you alone, but occasionally, you might scare a squirrel out of its nest or the hawk might swoop a little close. But if there are more dangerous animals around, make sure you know and the model knows as well if you are heading into bear or mountain lion country or even if there are rattlesnakes or other dangerous animals in the area.
You should know the local plant life as well. That shot of her standing in front of the tree with the tangle of vines may look awesome, but at least one of you should recognize when it's poison ivy. Know where the cacti are so she doesn't step into it while posing or more importantly you don't blunder into it while trying to get that perfect angle. You'll be wasting time pulling out cactus spines when you could be shooting.
Make sure the model feels safe
When she feels safe she will relax and you will get much better pictures. Remember, if this is the first time you are working with her, she may be a bit nervous going out into the wilderness to take her clothes off for a perfect stranger. So the first time shooting with a model, don't take her out to hell's half-acre far from anywhere. My preferred location is within walking distance from town.
If possible, pick a place where you have a view of the surrounding area, so you can see anyone approaching before they get there. Also make sure there are places where the model can duck around to hide from any passers by.
Watch the weather
When scheduling a shoot, you can have a good idea what the weather will be like but you can't know for sure. The weather can shift dramatically, even within just a few minutes. Which leads to...
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Bring some supplies in case you are delayed. In Arizona, that means making sure there is adequate water, as dehydration can happen quickly. While in most shoots everything will go off without a problem, all it takes is for one thing to go wrong. Find a way to keep orientation, bring a compass or GPS. Always bring a cell phone, although if you're going too far out, you may not have a signal.
Be aware of how much equipment (lenses, tripods, batteries, etc.) you need for this particular shoot, and don't bring any more than you need, as you may have to carry it some distance.
Always Have a Back-up Plan
Nothing is worse then when you are all ready for a nude shoot, and you and the model hike out to discover the local hiking club is already there. Or when a wanderer comes out to meditate in the cave you just shot in, that you left your model's clothes right next to it (this actually happened once). Have a nearby secondary location in mind, in case the first is occupied or unavailable.
In conclusion, shooting outdoor nudes can give you some unique and beautiful images, just make sure you know what you and the model know what you are doing and what you're in for.
Above all else: