How To Take Sexy, Sensual Nudes: 10 Tips & Tricks From Sex Experts
There are lots of reasons someone might want to take a nude picture. For couples, snapping and sharing nudes can be a powerful way to minimize the miles between them, initiate intimacy, spice up a sext, and celebrate (or tease) one another. For influencers, models, and sex workers, nudes and partial nudes can also act as an effective marketing tool and income generator.
"But nobody has to see the nude for the picture taking to have benefit," says Megan Ixim, branding expert, fat activist, and the founder and performer behind That Fat Babe. "Taking a photo can be a powerful way to celebrate your body, fight against body dysmorphia, and cultivate self-love."
But how do you take a good nude, exactly? Ahead, your ultimate guide to snapping a saucy, sensual, or seductive selfie from the very first click.
What to know beforehand.
Angles and lighting aren't the only things you need to worry about while playing director, model, and photographer of your own little photo shoot. (Though, don't worry, we'll outline the perfect angles and lighting below.)
You also need to worry about security and privacy, according to Javay Frye-Nekrasova, M.Ed., a sex educator with sex toy retailer Lovehoney. And that stands even if you're never planning to send it to someone on your contact list or post the pictures to a public (or semipublic) page. "If you are someone who regularly passes your phone to others, you may want to store your nudes in a hidden folder or in a secure app like Photo Vault, which is password protected," she says.
Unfortunately, if you're planning to message your nude to someone else, experts say you have to assume the worst. "You need to assume any picture you're sending out will one day be seen by another person," says Carly S., a pleasure expert, founder of Dildo or Dildon't, and educator with Spectrum Boutique. "If the idea that the picture you're taking might be seen by another person is upsetting to you, don't send it to anyone." If you snap a saucy pic that needs another set of eyes on it, you might just want to slide your phone to them while you're together in person. Bonus: That allows you to see their reaction live.
Keep the virility of nude photos in mind when you're trying to figure out what part of your body to snap, Carly S. suggests. "Consider that unique moles, scars, tattoos, and piercings can be used to identify you," she adds. If you don't want your body to be spotted, either angle those parts of your body out of frame, or cover them up either with makeup or in an editing app. PhotoDiva and RetouchMe are good apps for this.
Finally, if you do plan to share your photo, make sure you get consent first. "You always need to ask before you send nudes to someone," says Frye-Nekrasova. Yes, even if this is a person who has enjoyed your hotshots previously. "You need to make sure the timing is OK. After all, probably not the best idea to send a bunch of nudes when your partner is sitting in a meeting about a promotion." Fair point! A simple, "Can I send you a nude right now?" works fine. But the more elaborate, "I got a little hot and bothered thinking about you and the fun we had together and took some pics of how you make me feel; is it OK if I send them to you?" works, too.
Tips to take the best pics:
Give yourself a pep talk ahead of time.
Before you start snapping, list out some of the things you like about your body, suggests Carly. S. "Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend before a photo shoot," she says. "You would never talk shit about your best friend or their body, so don't talk shit about yourself or your own body."
This pre-picture practice can help ease any self-consciousness you may be feeling. "If you're feeling confident, that will shine through in the picture," she adds.
Clean your space.
You wouldn't take your wedding pics in front of a Dumpster, would you? Well, you shouldn't take nudes in front of a pile of trash, either. Ahead of click-click-clicking away, Frye-Nekrasova recommends cleaning your space.
"If you are trying to remain anonymous, you may also want to make sure the background of your photo won't have any signifiers in the background," she notes. College university paraphernalia, photos of friends and family, and piles of mail should all be removed from the room.
Find your light.
Fear not, finding the best lighting is easier than it sounds at first! "Set your phone to the front-facing camera. Then, take 20 seconds and spin around the room paying attention to the way your body reflects the light," suggests Ixim.
Generally, it's considered best practice to position the light in front of your body, according to Carly S. For instance, taking a selfie in front of a window can result in some *fire emoji* shots.
"But there's also something to be said about backlighting," according to Ixim. "Backlighting can help create a very specific moodiness, so it's worth playing around with." Emo babes, this option is for you!
Experiment with angle.
"Having your phone slightly above you is typically the more flattering angle," according to Carly S. Shooting high above your body typically allows you to capture more of your silhouette compared to at face or eye level.
"But play around with what feels good for you and best highlights the parts of your body you want to highlight," she adds. For instance, if you want to accentuate the length, tone, or strength of your legs, you might experiment with shooting from the ground up.
Don't feel like you need to drop dough on equipment.
If you want to drop big bucks on a fancy camera and tripod, go for it. But Ixim says it's really not necessary. "Honestly, you can get some really great shots with just a water bottle to prop your phone against and the self-timer feature," says Ixim.
Bring in blankets.
"There is something to be said about having the majority of your body covered while still giving off an aura of sexuality," says Ixim. One of the best ways to do that, she says, is by lying on your bed and draping a throw blanket or sheet over your body artfully. "You might play around with showcasing some side hip and neck," she says. Or maybe you experiment with flashing a little side boob or bum.
Make bath bubbles your best friend.
If you want to take a playful partial nude, consider grabbing a bottle of bubbles and running yourself a bath. "Covering your nipples and genitals with bubbles is an incredibly fun way to give the illusion of sending a nude, without actually sending a nude," says Ixim.
Because your hands are going to get soapy, set your phone up on a tripod and start a video. Then, splish, splash, and smile as the video records you connecting with your inner child. When the bathtub is over, dry your hands, scroll through the video, and screenshot the best stills.
Of course, you could also just invest in a waterproof phone case and go nuts taking selfies while splashing about.
Post up post-shower.
Even if a bath isn't your thing or isn't accessible, there are ways for you to snap steamy nudes, too. "Attach your camera or phone to the mirror across from your shower, and allow yourself to be captured stepping out of the shower," suggests Ixim. Whether your shower is enclosed with a shower curtain or sliding door, this option allows you to show off as much or as little of your just-washed body as you'd like.
"You can also play with the steam on the mirror or shower door [if it's glass] so that you can only make out certain parts of your body," she says.
Don't snooze on the mirror selfie.
"Sometimes a mirror selfie really is the best way to get a booty picture," says Carly S. Furthermore, it's fast! All you have to do is pose, take, and send.
Not sure how to pose in front of the mirror? If you're feeling submissive, try kneeling in front of the mirror and position the camera at eye height. This position is a great way of showing the receiver how good you look on your knees.
If you're feeling more dominant, stay standing and hold the phone closer to your hips—this will make you look taller.
Nude selfies may be best known as dirty talk and phone sex enhancers, but sensual snaps can do far more than help a faraway partner finish. They can also improve confidence, reduce body shame, and even help you make bank.
No matter what the nude is for and how many other people are going to see it, don't stress too much about getting the perfect shot. A clean background, experimentation, and a little creativity are all you need to have a successful solo photo shoot.
Gabrielle Kassel is a sex and wellness writer and certified CrossFit trainer. She has a degree in English and Women & Gender from Smith College, and her writing on sex, identity, and wellness have appeared on Cosmopolitan, Well Good, Health, Shape, Women’s Health, Greatist, Healthline, and more. She's become a morning person, tested over 300 vibrators, and worn her vaginal ~essence~ as perfume—all in the name of journalism. In her free time, Gabrielle can be found reading romance novels, bench-pressing, and pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.