How to Take Better Naked Selfies

Cartoon of naked Bert Reynolds on a bearskin rug with an iPhone taking his picture
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

You should get down on your knees every day and thank whichever god you believe in for bringing the iPhone into your hands. Never before has remote foreplay been so easy, making the sexy selfie a standard in hormone-fueled texting.

However, not unlike celebrated photographers in the field, mediocrity should not be tolerated. Do you think a National Geographic photographer has ever turned in a badly cropped, out-of-focus picture of an eagle? No way. Standards should be in place for any type of photograph taken, including naked body shots.

With the help and expertise of Thrillist’s clearly-adept-at-sending-naked-pictures photographer Cole Saladino, I put together a list of tips and tricks for sending naked pictures that would make Annie Leibovitz weep with joy.

Always use natural light

We get that a lot of sexting takes place under the curtain of nightfall, but one should always embrace the flattering light that comes from Mr. Sun. Natural light is far kinder to bare flesh than artificial bulbs, and offers a softer glow that won't create nasty shadows in the wrong places. Sure, you might flash your neighbors by exposing your naked bod in front of the window -- but the temporary embarrassment won't hold a candle to the unequivocal joy from the recipient of your sext.

Avoid overhead light

Both men and women should avoid nasty overhead light. For ladies, it'll add an extra-unflattering shadow to the boob region, while men will experience a harsh darkness that could cover up the testicular portions of the frame. A dick pic isn't a dick pic without a smidgen of testicles, am I right guys? If a harsh fluorescent environment is unavoidable, turn your flash on to drown out the awful lighting.

Mind your framing

Keep your background clear, don’t have anything too weird behind you that'll take the focus away from your naked body. There’s no mise-en-scene to practice when taking a naked picture -- you're not Orson Welles -- you just want to ensure that a messy bathroom with a toilet that's clearly full of puke won't draw attention away from any nudity. Obviously, you don’t need to take a road trip to a photography studio, just shoot in front of a bare wall.

Get your angles right

This all depends on the context of your naked picture. If you're going for a classy straight-forward shot of your naked body, don’t use any angles -- just shoot straight-on. If you're going for the type of dick pic that features the sheer strength and magnitude of the dick in question, try a low-angle shot to make everything in frame look larger.

Stand up straight

Your body is going to look its best when presented upright -- that is: standing. Taking a sexy selfie while sitting will give any normal person unwanted flab or rolls and take away from the inherent beauty of the genitals on display.

Naked woman in bathtub taking a selfie
Shutterstock/Olga Rosi

Get creative

On the other hand, not everybody wants the kind of nudity you'd see in a PG-13 movie. Try getting creative: go for the behind-the-shoulder-in-the-mirror butt shot or the laying-facedown-on-the-bed-to-accentuate-the-ass shot. When in doubt, add a butt.

But don't get too creative

It’ll look weird if it looks like a professional photographer stepped into your apartment, asked you to take off your clothes, and directed you into a series of poses. So, for instance, it's probably not worth getting out your Canon 7D Mark II, shooting 1,000 photos, editing them on Photoshop, sending the 50 best to your phone, and texting the winner to someone else. It's not a contest, it's just flesh.

Vertical is always better

It's called portrait style for a reason: you want your body to be the main subject in the frame. Again, there's no need to treat your sexting routine like a perverted Alfred Hitchcock -- redundant, because Hitchcock was a little gross.

Upgrade your phone

The camera on your iPhone 3 isn’t going to stand a chance to the behemoth monster that is the iPhone 6s' five-megapixel, front-facing camera.

Use a timer

Something that’ll blow your sexting buddy out of this world is a photo taken by your phone's other camera. The iPhone 6s' main camera is a stunning 12 megapixels, seven more than its front-facing camera. So, the question is, how do you take a picture when you can't see what you're doing? Use a timer and a makeshift tripod. You can prop your iPhone up against a book or even buy a miniature tripod to take your nudity to the next level. Of course, you can also take a picture in front of a mirror, but that's making it too easy.


Edit, but don't over-edit. You don't want to waste your time fawning over a picture of your own naked body while there are millions of starving naked people in the world. Still, it can't hurt to tweak your pictures for the purpose of making yourself look better. There are plenty of apps for iPhone and Android that’ll take your selfie game to the next level. Because, when it comes down to it, no one looks bad in a photo with a little bit of clarity and contrast.

Cover all the bases

The Godfather: Part II didn’t win an Oscar for Best Picture by telling the exact story of The Godfather over again -- it presented a new movie with a new storyline, but featured the characters the audience was used to.

That being said, you don't want to send the same picture over and over and over again. Give your recipient a look into the life of the person they're spending the night sexting with. Send them the whole naked body catalog -- give them a full-body shot, send a close-up of the good stuff, give them a little PG-13, give them some XXX, cover all your bases. They're at a rock show and you’re the main event, so give them backstage access.

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and prefers faxing his nudes.