Dear Di

Taking the perfect nude doesn’t require a photography degree. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dear Ty,

I’ve been seeing a prospective partner for about a month now, and we’re really hitting it off. Unfortunately, they’re going to be out of town for the next month, but I want to keep our sexual energy going in the meantime. I’m thinking of swapping nudes every once in a while to remind them what they have waiting for them back in Ottawa. Any advice on how to take the perfect nude photo?

Click, Flash

Dear CF,

While taking the perfect nude photo can be quite intimidating, all you need to do is keep in mind a few basic legal and photographic guidelines to get some safe and great shots—no photography degree or DSLR camera required.

You’re joining quite the larger cohort of budding artists. One study from 2015 found close to 90 per cent of student respondents at Drexel University in the United States had sexted.

Before we get into how to get that perfect shot, I want to talk safety first.

Taking nudes can be very sexually arousing and full of excitement, but there’s always the worst case scenario that they end up in the hands of the wrong person. The legal sphere comes into play here.

If you’re both over 18, sexting between two voluntarily participating adults where no intimate image is shared without the permission of the person in a picture in question is completely legal. Note that it’s rightfully illegal to show or threaten to show an intimate picture of someone to others without their permission. It’s also rightly illegal to secretly take someone’s intimate photo, a crime called voyeurism.

If you’re under 18, don’t send or take nudes, full-stop: A picture of someone under 18 who is naked, semi-naked, or engaging in sex is considered child pornography. In turn, it’s illegal to take a nude of yourself, of someone else, or to share this image.

If, in the worst case scenario, your photo does get into the hands of the wrong person or is being shared online, try to act as fast as you possibly can to get it taken down. This means contacting a legal expert and reaching out to the websites on which your photos are being shared. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family members for support. If legal experts suggest going to the authorities, this might be your best option.

As a general rule of thumb, before sending any nude triple check in with yourself that you actually want to send this photo and that you feel comfortable doing so. Do you trust this person? If there’s even the slightest feeling that you don’t, it’s probably not worth it to send the nude.

To prevent a leaked nude being traced back to you, be mindful of the environment around your body, looking out for any identifying objects, such as your driver’s license, or any framed photos of yourself or your acquaintances. While this might sound over the top, be mindful of anything identifying on your bodies, such as a tattoo, a mole, or even your favourite watch.   

Take some time and consider the platform in which you’re sending your nude photos over. My recommendation is to send nudes over Snapchat if possible. Other good options are explained here. Instagram DMs are a good second choice since photos disappear after if sent from within the app. Avoid platforms that permanently save photos in chat or make sent photos hard to delete, such as Facebook.

As a final thought, if you’re using an iPhone or Android, it’s a good idea to turn iCloud and Google Drive off during your photoshoot so these intimate shots aren’t uploaded to a shared folder your family member might have access to (yikes).

Now, let’s get that perfect shot. I’ll start with your equipment (no, not your genitals).

As I said above, you don’t need a $700 DSLR camera or professional training to get a great shot, especially since your partner won’t be closely examining your photos for proper aperture and focus, but will be admiring you instead.

Like most post-secondary students, I’m going to assume you’re working with your smartphone, and that’s perfectly ok: The cameras on some of those bad boys are quickly becoming equivalent to DSLR cameras, some even surpassing them. Before taking your shots, do make sure you have ample room on your phone for a wide variety of shots. Additionally, take a minute and clean the lens on your smartphone so the final products don’t accidentally come out blurry or grainy. Nobody likes a nipple covered by a giant dust particle.

Now, let’s work on your equipment (yes, this time I’m referring to your genitals).

Spend some time before you actually pose for the camera to give yourself a good grooming, which looks different from person-to-person. If you keep your pubic hair longer, trim and style it the way you like. If you prefer keeping yourself cleanly shaven or waxed, do so before you take your photos and moisturize so no shaving cuts or burns develop. Finish off by giving yourself a good wash so your genitals are looking nice and sparkly clean.

Next, let’s get that money shot.

Lighting is your best friend when it comes to taking a great nude, but it’s all based on personal preference. Some like to take their shot in front of a very well-lit mirror, while others prefer to keep things more dramatic, using lamps or even flashlights to bring out dramatic shadows on the body. Play around with different coloured lights and hit those angles.

You can also bring props into the big picture, such as sex toys, costumes, or lingerie. A fun thing to play with is steam accumulated on a mirror after a hot shower. Tease your partner with some blurry images, or carve out different clear spots in the mirror.

Happy snapping, and remember, keeping your own safety in mind while taking and sending nudes is sexy too!