One of the things we discussed in our workshop was the issue of model releases. The instructor insisted that the model should be asked (required) to sign the release before photography begins, but I suggested that it is wise to include a statement in the release to the effect that "the session was conducted professionally" and have the signing ceremony at the conclusion. The idea is that if the model signs a release that says that she was treated respectfully, it is much harder for her to claim something to the contrary later.
There are sites like Model Mayhem and One Model Place where you can find semi-professional models who will do nudes. Depending on your reputation and skill they will or will not charge you, but for just starting out the better more experienced models -- who will teach you a lot -- charge $100 per hour with a two hour minimum. Even though that may be steep, with a better model you will learn so much that you will save money in the long run. Model Mayhem is a friendlier site but most of the "pros" are on both sites.
It is extremely awkward to be an inexperienced photographer with an inexperienced model -- think about it.
The intimacy and erotic energy that comes from doing a nude shoot is completely obliterated by having a third party along, so unless you want boring uptight poses, either man up and do it right or go home. They aren't going to bite you, much less sue you unless you are an utter ass, so don't be a jerk and you'll be fine.
Women who tend to do this kind of modeling are pretty saavy and the best policy is just to honest and complimentary. Even the old pros need to hear encouragement, just don't go overboard either. They are friendly types but don't get the wrong idea either -- they are just more open than most other women you know. I mean jeez, they're naked and that often applies to their personalities as well.
Assuming that you are a straight male who wants to photograph attractive young women, you might a well just admit that the whole thing is erotic and you're thinking about sex just like any normal guy would. That doesn't mean that they are going to touch you or do anything, and you certainly need to be polite, respectful, and hands off. But don't beat around the bush either. If you weren't think erotic thoughts you'd be out photographing fat ugly people or landscapes or something else.
All that said, I don't think very highly of the whole genre. Posing and photographing for sake of nudity or "the beauty of the female form" is a dead end as far as I'm concerned -- most of the time it is a spectacular crutch that makes an otherwise mediocre photo superficially interesting. Save the nudes for someone you care about and are intimate with, and learn how to make moving portraits of people with clothes on. Then if they happen to lose some clothing it's for a particular reason and not just another gratuitous "art" photo.
At least that is my experience but you probably have to figure that out for yourself.
Proud owner of a Graflex Graphic View II and Speed Graphic
How many billions of images of nude women have already been made?
Do you have something original to add?
Proud owner of a Graflex Graphic View II and Speed Graphic
Using the web sites that Frank mentioned is a good way to start. Since you will have no portfolio to show, expect that the models will be a bit suspicious of your motivations. Some will want to bring a companion (some photographers hate this; I have not had a problem the few times I have allowed this but I do ask the companion to leave the general vicinity). A phone call in advance in warranted to discuss the details of what you want to achieve. Having well thought out ideas of how the shoot will go will go a long way towards putting the model at ease. You should do this anyway so that the model shows up with expectations in alignment with your goals. You can discuss whether or not you want make-up, props, types of poses, what her limits are, what you plan to do with the photos,... This conversation also helps you gauge if the model is likely to actually show up and if your personalities are compatible. I also share my model release in advance so that the model does not show up for the shoot and then have a problem with the release. I want the release signed before we start shooting so that I do not end up having spent a couple hours shooting and then not be able to use the photos because the model changed her mind about signing.
I also will occasionally post a tasteful flyer on the bulletin board in the Arts and Theater building of a local university asking for models. The flyer has a sample photo (an "implied" nude shot so that the poster will not be trashed by the administrators) that shows the quality of my work, and what I am looking for. I have been lucky at finding several good models this way and they generally expect no compensation (because i state that in the flyer) other than a few prints (although I generally give them gas money too). Having a portfolio of quality work helps a lot here. I don't think this would work if you don't already have samples that demonstrate that you're something more than a guy with a camera (GWC) who just wants a naked female to look at.
There is a huge difference between an experienced model and and beginner. With good experienced models they are generally able to strike more interesting poses than I can keep up with. So much of the time I am asking them to "hold that pose" and then fine tuning of the pose. It is very much a collaboration. With a beginner I generally spend the bulk of the shoot giving very detailed instructions on what to do with their body, arms, legs, hands, hair, what direction to look, smile or don't smile,... It can be difficult keeping the pose looking natural after all that direction. It can work though but I usually have a headache after an couple hours of that.
On the Model networking sites, such as ModelMayhem, you can do a search to find models within a geographic area convenient to you and the model. Many new models will do modeling for prints to expand their portfolios. Be SURE to get a signed model release before you shoot.which outlines your rights, and defines the payment the model will receive, be it money or prints or CD's. There are thousands of models, both men and women who are trying to break into the business and they NEED photos for their portfolios.
If amateur is ok.... Ask friends.
I mentioned to a friend a few months ago that I was looking for models. She eventually agreed (having never modeled before, and me being too busy to arrange it sooner). She enjoyed herself, we both got something from the session (experience, among other things). She then spoke to her friends and there is now the possibility of at least 1 or 2 more people willing.
Ask around, you might be surprised.... definitely check out Model Mayhem if you have cash to spend though, as many wannabe models are on there.
I have not figured out how to approach anyone to model in the nude either. I am going to try and get some images together, but at the moment, the majority of my portraits are nudes.