The work of an artist is always sensual in one way or another. Unlike most professions that are driven by thinking and logic, the role of an artist is to lead with feeling and instinct- therefore, it is a sensual process. For example, a painter might create a painting in a sudden burst of emotion and only after they have made it, do they start to understand the meaning behind the painting. 

Whilst it can be argued that the work of an artist is always sensual, the pieces of art themselves vary in sensuality. Some artwork is a lot more overtly sensual. These works are part of the genre of sensual art. It’s not just the process here that is inherently sensual, but the art itself. A growing form of sensual art today is sensual photography. But what exactly is sensual photography?


Helmut Newton, sensual photography
The photography of Helmut Newton, one of the OG sensual photographers.


What is sensual photography?

Sensual photography is an artistic form of photography that aims to capture the sensuality of the human form.  Sensual photography explores the natural, erotic and intimate aspects of human emotions, relationships, and expressions, focusing on sensuality rather than explicit sexuality.


Nobuyoshi Araki, known for his boundary pushing sensual photography.


Nobuyoshi Araki, sensual photography: a short introduction
Here Araki shows that sensual photography doesn’t have to focus on the body.


What makes sensual photography ‘sensual’?

Sensual photography can often involve nudity or implied nudity, but what separates it from being purely sexual photography is the intimate and sensory mood created in the photo. But how is this mood achieved? Here are some key pointers. 

Emotional Connection: Establishing a connection between the photographer and the model is crucial to bring out authentic emotions and create the intimate mood that makes it a work sensual photography. 

Lighting and Composition: Skillful use of lighting and composition enhances the mood and aesthetics of sensual photography, creating visually appealing and emotionally evocative images.

Focusing on Details: Sensual photography often focuses on subtle details, such as skin texture, curves, and expressions, capturing the essence of the subject’s sensuality. Some people differentiate sensuality from sexuality by it being more subtle and less explicit, the unsaid, rather than the said. Therefore, focusing on details and leaving some things hidden can help achieve this. 

Post-Processing: Careful post-processing can enhance the sensuality of photographs. Common editing techniques in sensual photography are softening and blurring, warm colour tones, adding contrast and shadows, the use of vignettes, texture enhancement, colour saturation and vibrancy, plus cropping and composition. 


ellen von unwerth, sensual photography
Ellen Von Unwerth, the female fashion photographer known for her erotic boudoir-esque photos of famous female models and celebrities.


Exploring sensual photography means having:

Artistic expression: Erotic photography is about expression like any other art form. If you want to explore sensual photography, the first thing is having a genuine appreciation in the human form as something artful and completely separate to your own sexual desire. It’s about understanding the body in an emotive way. 

Understanding of consent: Ethical considerations are vital in sensual photography. Sensual photography is not just about the photographer’s expression, but the model’s too. Therefore, photographers must prioritise the model’s comfort and boundaries, ensuring they give informed consent and feel that they too can artistically express themselves. 

Respect for privacy: If you want your photos to go public, the decision to share these images, even with just one person, should be made collaboratively between the photographer and model.


Herb Ritts, the fashion photographer known for his sensual eye.



Discover erotic photography with artful sensualists today on Sensuali.

sensual photography
Sensuali Defines



Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.

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