In many areas, I crave consistency. I like when the subway comes on time and how my hair will be reliably perfect on the third day since my last wash. Sometimes the lighting is dim or the camera lens on my phone is dirty. Other times, I can't convince my face and body to do something sexy at the same time. The result is always a weirdly cropped, uncomfortable-looking photo that I'd rather delete than send to anyone else. And that sort of defeats the purpose of a nude selfie—at least, the ones I'm taking. Instead of continuing to suffer from my chronic inability to take a hot nude, I turned to the experts: three New York City-area boudoir photographers who set, light, and shoot sexy photos as their actual jobs. Then I did an IRL boudoir shoot with one of them. Their first lesson: Mood matters, as much as any pose or facial expression. This shocked me.
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Image: Cathryn Virginia. VICE Media makes a small commission on products linked in this article. Taking a good naked photo is harder than it looks, even if professionals Instagram influencers, sex workers, and Reddit models make it look easy. Grabbing your smartphone and pointing it at yourself isn't going to give you good results—you're going to need to buy some better stuff. I asked nude selfie experts for advice on how to strike the perfect naked pic, and their suggestions apply to anyone with a body and a desire to get flirty with their camera phone. A lot of the art of taking nudes is about the angles and experimenting with which angles are most flattering for your body. And if you do drop it, you'll want a screen protector.
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