It’s time to end the crusade on nudes – by learning how to take them properly

So we’ve done an illustrated guide


Today Playboy announced, to the horror of creepy uncles and anyone who still thinks you have to pay to download porn, that they’ll no longer be publishing pictures of nude women. Apparently after a 62-year stint as a top shelf mag, Playboy now wants to move to more tasteful non-naked glamour — and it’s because we’re all taking more of our own nudes ourselves. Here’s how to take a nude.

Chief content officer (that’s an actual thing) Cory Jones dejectedly told the New York Times the move away from total nudity in the magazine was “the right one”, because nobody actually needs to pay to look at naked pictures anymore. He said: “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable, so it’s just passé”.

Jones is right in a way: Playboy’s glossy blow-dried centrefolds are passé. They’re old-fashioned and out of date and a bit sleazy, but banning them from magazines is only part of a wider anti-nudes culture, the same culture which shames women for participating in Free The Nipple campaigns.

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Actually, the tan, nails and lighting that go into creating this aesthetic is nothing short of art

Everyone cringed in collective horror when “the fappening” dropped nude photos of hundreds of celebs. They were glad it hadn’t happened to them – but they still looked at them. Nobody admits to taking them, or having them on their phone, but they’d be horrified to have them discovered. Why?

Why is there a stigma around taking and keeping photos of yourself looking absolutely banging? Why are we so terrified to admit that when you see a picture of Jennifer Lawrence or Emily Ratajkowski with their boobs out, the real reaction isn’t to say “well they shouldn’t have been so stupid to take them”, but actually “Jesus, they look good, how’d they manage those angles?”. By shaming nudes, saying they’re too easy to take and consume, pulling them out of mainstream mags, we fail to see them for the art-form they are.

Actually, it’s fucking hard to nail a good picture. And rather than hearing that from Hugh Hefner’s chief content officer, or from the keyboards of sticky-fingered fappening viewers, it’s better to hear it reclaimed and explained by the experts themselves.

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Just make sure to clean the mirror first – it’s crucial

The mirror selfie is a nude staple, perfect for getting the whole thing in and going full frontal. But there a few ways to mix it up. Nudes are serious business, but you want to show you’re breezy, that you get it, that you can be funny too. Emojis are the easiest way to put some personality into your nudes. Think green hearts, monkeys with their eyes covered, moon emojis. You’re not just naked. Oh no, you’re funny too.

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If you’re sending funny nudes on Snapchat, take advantage of the three second length and get creative

The key for less serious nudes, and nudes in general, is confidence. It’s not about looking sexual, it’s about owning a memorable shot. Acrobatic Amber, from the above shot, says: “I like my body. And what.”

But the original and arguably best is the classic mirror selfie. Avoid the obvious fuck up areas before you get down to it: crucially, clean your mirror, or risk ending up distracted by smudges all over your canvas. As with all nudes, nothing higher than the nose in shot to retain some element of mystery, and forgo the emojis or Snapchat text to keep the attention focused in. Arms in, back arched, lips slightly parted, job done.

There’s some debate in the artisan nude world about the use of props. Like very-obviously-matching-and-fancy underwear, props are a way of amping up your nudes. Maybe you want to seem more mysterious. Maybe you’ve sent lots of nudes to the one person and you’re worried they’re getting sick of your nipples. Maybe you want to be naked without being overtly sexual. Bring in some props, you’ll see your own body in a new exciting light.

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Props: Adding a personal touch to your hand coverage

Nudes fan Izzy said: “Playboy is dropping naked photos because internet porn has taken over and in doing so they’re successfully teaching women that their bodies are only desirable and interesting when they are being used in a pornographic setting. Bodies are beautiful – nudes don’t always have to be sexual.

“Sexualising bodies too much will only encourage people to feel their bodies and other people’s bodies are inadequate. Don’t be ashamed of your body and don’t let anybody tell you that it’s only worth something when it’s being used for sex. Free your nipples and free your bodies. Spread the love.”

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You can even use your own specially-purchased underwear for a prop – nobody would appreciate it as much as you and the front camera already do

But for others, props are just a detraction from the main event. Mirror nudes lover Carrie argues: “The whole point of props is mystery and concealment but why can’t you be your own mystery? You’re already concealing part of yourself, you don’t need a prop to be sexy.”

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Liz (left) illustrating the art of a partly submerged lovely bum

But it’s not all about nipples in this game.

Belfie enthusiast Liz* skilfully explains: “Boobs, you’d think, are the keystone of any nude. Primely positioned for the front camera, they can be carefully crafted into what you want your recipient to see. But for the more unconventional there are bum nudes.

“Some tips for the bottom heavy: arch your back, hips forward, take your shot from directly behind (you’ll need a third party or a self timer). Use a golden filter to hide embarrassing tan lines.

“Crucially, never go full moon. Get creative with sheets, towels, gowns, or steadily position yourself in water.”

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For those who can’t emulate Liz’s exotic jacuzzi setting, there are other ways to nail your belfies. Get the whole thing in there with a jaunty angle on the bed, or crane from behind to get a standing up bum shot. The effort put into this is worth it, from below everything will be exaggerated, and your bum will look anything but flat.

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The more classic of belfies – just remember to get the lighting nailed down first

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The angles it takes to get this are an art in itself

It goes without saying though, that the main event is on the torso. There are a few way to capture your boobs properly in nudes. The classic though, is the from above shot.

For most of your prized photos, setting is important. You on a luxury yacht on holiday, you smiling and glitter-strewn at Glasto. But nudes are another thing entirely. It doesn’t matter that the setting is your dull bedroom if you plump the pillows and maximise your sepia tone lighting.

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Pouts and mermaid hair are the dream

Boob nude devotee Laurie says: “From above is the best shot. Lie down on a few stacked pillows to give you the right raised angles, pout and cross your arms. It’ll make your chest look bigger, and it’ll give you something to do with the awkward extra hand which isn’t taking the photo.

“The dream of course, is nipple length hair, so you can artfully hide the bits you don’t want in the shot.”

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Shots lying down give an important new dimension (they make your chest look bigger), and you can always include arrows to make it clear where exactly the focus is