Rona has quickly changed alot in our lives in a matter of two* months. The way we love each other (and ourselves), the way we date, the way we communicate and express ourselves is completely different now. Whether you’re in a relationship, dating or talking to someone, or single and (not) looking, the way we have sex and express wanting it has completely switched up.

Since the start column, I’ve gotten alot of questions about how to spice it up or initiate new things in the bedroom for couples in quarantine together. But, one question I haven’t touched on that I’m frequently asked is: How do I take good nudes? I know what you’re thinking— stand in front of the bathroom mirror, point, aim, shoot and send. It’s simple, until it’s not. Whether you’re taking pics to send to your now long distance boo or just to admire yourself, taking nudes can be a bit intimidating. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, I psyche myself out and just put the phone down before I even get a good photo. “Do I look fire?” “What about this angle?” “How does my ass look?” “Should my face be in it?” It’s alot! In fact, my groupchat has become the perfect place for art critiquing each other’s nudes. Remember, your body is fucking work of art no matter how it looks during quarantine.

This week, I’ve enlisted the help of a photographer, a sensual writer and poet, and a fruit loving tech girl to drop tips on how to take nudes. Now, whether you’ve got this mastered and want to learn something new or you’re new and want to be true to this, it’s your time to shine!

About This Week’s Contributors:

Dee Williams (She/Her) is a Cali native and NY/NJ based photographer with a focus on people and stories from the African diaspora and social media manager. Her work can be found on IG and her website. You can support Dee and her work via Venmo and Cash App: $ShotByDee, @Diahann-Williams 

Michele (She/Her) is a creative and writer with an interest in Afrofuturism novels and writing self-exploration essays, poetry, and short stories. For updates on Michele’s work, follow her IG.  

Shay (She/Her) is a Brooklyn based tech girl! Follow @shay_lojay on Instagram and Twitter.

First Things First — Set the Mood:

Don’t force it! I only take nudes when I’m in the mood. On days where my confidence and body are hitting in the ways I like it, I take advantage and start snapping right away no matter where I am. The shower (DO NOT DROP YOUR PHONE), a fitting room, wherever; I love range and different settings. I usually hold onto the photos (or drop them in my group chat for feedback and sometimes validation) like Pokemon cards for when the time is right. —JRDN

As Zacari said, “And I ain’t in the mood if I ain’t in my bag.” It doesn’t hurt to set a mood or create an aesthetic for your nudes. Shadow play has become a recent favorite of mine. It brings enchantment and lure to the photo with ease. All you have to do is pose. — Michele

Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

Remember your nude is a privilege and gift. Don’t be hard on yourself and remember the other person receiving your nudes (or yourself) is lucky. — Shay

Engage your senses. It helps to convey the appeal you are seeking. Try lighting warm, woody incense, or burning your favorite candle. Listening to songs or sounds that will surely activate your Sacral Charka. — Michele

Get The Light Right! :

When it comes to taking the perfect photo—nude or fully clothed— the number one rule is: Lighting is Everything. The key to finding the “right” light is to face your light source. — Michele

For airy or sunny photos, the best lighting is 8AM to 11AM— perfect for a morning text or mid-afternoon pick me up. If you’re looking for a more glow, take a pic during 5PM to 7PM during the golden hour. — Dee

Oil up! Nothing’s worse than an ashy nude! Reapply your favorite shea butter right before taking your nudes— even if you’re not ashy! The light reflecting on your skin will amplify your assets! — JRDN

Want to play up darker images? Take advantage of shadows and darkness to accentuate your curves or hide certain body parts. — Dee

Pose for Me! :

Go for poses that compliment your form while engaging the viewer. When I’m taking sultry photos or nudes, I focus on parts of my body that I feel most confident while simultaneously holding space for body parts, that I would like to direct more love and confidence to. For example, my breasts are full and heavy, so gravity does not work in their favor. I elongate my neck and back, lower my shoulders, and gently lift my breast. This brings a natural seduction to the photo, while also complimenting my bosom in a way that gravity could not. Remember to soften the face as facial muscles will tense when you are focusing keenly on getting the “perfect” photo. — Michele

Don’t forget to highlight what you LOVE about your body in nudes. I’ve been taking mirror pics from the back with only my butt exposed and dressed in my stupid WFH crew neck and sweats. Do you have excellent breasts? Work it. You have a great collarbone? Give it to ’em. You don’t have to show your face either. — Shay

Before snapping the shot, try this face softening technique: squeeze the inner sides of your mouth together to make a “fish face,” hold this pose for 10 seconds then release. This helps to relax the muscles of your face. — Michele

To make your butt look larger, put your camera or phone below your knee and aim up! If you are taking photos against a wall, take a big step forward don’t lean against the wall/background. This will help you great depth of field and the image won’t look flat. Also, use a mirror to help with your posing. — Dee

For the “I Look Better in Motion” Folks:

A wise woman once told me “Make that shit jump,” and the rest goes down in nude history. Don’t be afraid of making a gif or short video! The art to making a gif is knowing how and when to move which means it may take a couple of tries. If you have a tripod or a few things to prop your phone up, utilize it! Also, make sure your camera settings are set to give you the best quality possible. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings; Camera; Record Video; 4K at 60fps, and thank me later! — JRDN

Don’t be afraid to add a little production and personality to your nudes because you are a work of art. Depending on the scene, I like to upload the photo or video to IG stories (DON’T SEND TO STORY) and add emojis or draw swirls around my curves.  — Shay

There’s nothing wrong with edits! Only like a particular part of a video or want to make it a teaser? Cut the clip short by hitting edit on iPhone or use an app like Inshot. Video coming out grainy? Give it an old school feel with apps like VSCO or Huji. — JRDN

Use your imagination! Send a 15-sec video with a little music in the background of just your torso onscreen as you’ve just stepped out the shower and are oiling your body. Be a tease. — Shay 

For a Little Razzle Dazzle:

Incorporate Food & Props! I like to add fruits, food and even plants to my nude photo shoots because I’m extremely corny and like to allude to the fact that I’m a meal. My favorite is to use any fruit that I have on-hand like clementines, lemons, mangos, etc. and position on my nipples, vagina, or stomach. It doesn’t have to be a cornucopia of fruit. Placing a single lemon over one nipple with the other one exposed is hot. — Shay

Mood lighting is your friend! The best nudes I’ve ever taken and received were in purple mood lighting. If you mood lights in your home, add to the drama and switch it up! Try red for passion, desire, and love. Or, blue for a Keisha in “Belly” look. — JRDN

Be Playful: Send playful captions like “You eat yet?” or “Can’t wait to give you a taste” and wait for the responses. No matter what type of nudes you send, have a witty or engaging note to go along with it! — Shay

I am a huge believer in “no face, no case” when it comes to nudes. Not because I’m afraid of getting them leaked, but because I want to focus on my body! I like to zone in and focus on particular areas of my body with my chains on or showcasing my tattoos to add a little personalization with a little mystery. — JRDN

Clean your background! Make sure the area you’re shooting in is clear of junk. We want your body to be the focal point! — Shay

If I’m sending a photo to my crush, I’ll wear something of theirs (i.e. hoodie or t-shirt) while exposing myself to let them know I’m thinking of them. — JRDN

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One of those "I like MF DOOM" type girls trying to figure out life in her 20's.