Taking your Best Bums photo: The Ultimate Guide

Or, how many arse-related puns can I crack in one article?

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It’s no secret that Cambridge is one of the most competitive universities in the world.

The process we go through in order to get a place to study here, and indeed the atmosphere we’re met with once we arrive, are extremely pressurised. However, the real competition is only just beginning.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, Cambridge’s Best Bums 2016 is here. But how to take that cheeky winning photo? Besides making sure that the quality of your camera is greater than the quality of your Week 5 supervision work, here are some things to consider:

Location, Location, Location

Follow the lead of Channel 4’s programme – which itself features a massive arse in the form of presenter Phil Spencer – and recognise the importance of your surroundings.

The architecture in Cambridge is beautiful for a reason, and that reason is so it can hold its own in a photo which is predominantly of an ASSthetically-pleasing bum. Use it to your advantage.

How very Pre-Raphaelite.

The general rule is the more risky the location, the more impressive the photo. Crowded, quiet or particularly revered places (such as the market square, the UL, or outside the Van of Life, respectively) are going to be difficult to pull off. But remember, you’re at Cambridge. You’re good at rising to a challenge.

Other possible locations could include:

  1. The banks of the Cam
  2. Outside a boathouse
  3. Your supervisor’s office
  4. High table
  5. Trinity fountain
  6. The Law Faculty
  7. Peterhouse wine cellars
  8. Fitzbillies
  9. King’s Chapel roof


A picture says a thousand words, and well-chosen props can be an excellent way to convey your personality (because personality is what competitions like this are all about, obvs). How about holding up a book to show just how into 18th century Agrarian land reform you are, or perhaps a Girton mug to explain those powerful thighs?

Or hold a blade to show that nobody can remember the last time you talked about anything other than rowing.


Coco Chanel said that a woman is closest to being naked when she is well-dressed. While it’s obviously important to be pretty much naked for this competition – at least in the relevant area – you should never underestimate the aesthetic appeal of a few accessories here and there.

College stash is an excellent way of displaying some college pride, so perhaps throw a scarf over your shoulder or pull up a pair of crested socks. A couple of past entrants have even worn underwear – but(t) if you have any clean pairs left by this point in term without having bought any replacements, you clearly have your shit together way more than I do. Which admittedly isn’t saying much.

I don’t remember this scene in “Titanic”?

And finally… How not to get caught

Besides giving the pretty obvious advice that you go to your chosen location at an off-peak time, I’d say that it’s best to be armed with a solid excuse or two in case anyone confronts you mid-photo. Not having located your accommodation’s laundry room yet (pls say I’m not the only one) is a perfectly valid reason to be walking around with nothing on.

Alternatively, say you’re taking a leaf out of Benjamin Franklin’s book – he apparently used to take what he called “air baths” by being naked in a cold room whilst he wrote. Supposedly this was inspirational, and anything to avoid that Week 5 essay crisis amirite?

At least you won’t catch leptospirosis from an air bath.

The deadline for your entries is November 11th, so use your Week 5 wisely. You could be the proud winner of a newfound BNOC status and inflated ego.

Send your submissions to [email protected] by this Friday.