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To take nudes or not to take nudes, that is the question, isn’t it? And, well, it’s one that can only be answered on an individual, case by case basis. The early aughts were wrought with tabloid stories about the leaked nude photographs of women in Hollywood. These were deeply invasive, extremely inappropriate violations of women’s autonomy and ignited conversations about whether or not it was appropriate even to take nude photographs in the first place.

Let’s get one thing straight—the only thing inappropriate about leaked nudes is the leaking. Violating someone’s privacy by sharing, well, anything, shared in confidence, or not even shared in the first place is wrong. Full stop. On the other hand, taking nudes can be an extremely freeing, wonderful form of self-expression, bodily appreciation, and a way to enhance intimacy with your partner(s).

For all her faults, Samantha Jones of Sex in the City did make a salient point every now and then, particularly when it comes to appreciating her body in all its forms. In season four, episode two, Samantha has herself professionally photographed in the nude so that she can preserve in perpetuity the beauty of her naked form.

And to that, we say, yes yes a thousand times yes. Our bodies are wonderful, beautiful things. In all and every form they come in, each of our bodies deserves to be seen, loved, appreciated, and acknowledged for all they do for us. And pictures can be a wonderful way to do that, even if it is just something we do for ourselves, even if we’re the only ones who see it.

Commonly, nudes are thought of as quick snaps that are meant to be sent to a partner. And that varietal of naked photograph is definitely one to keep in mind. A steamy pic taken in the heat of a moment, just to send off to say you were thinking of someone (who you feel safe and comfortable sending it to), can be extremely hot. It can also be a fun and liberating experience to take a page out of Samantha’s book and just take them for yourself as a way of loving on your own body.

Whatever your nude-taking vibe is or your reason for taking them, it’s important to remember that pictures can end up anywhere, even when taken, stored, and sent carefully. Some people have even taken to copywriting their nudes to protect against potential leaks. As always, do what feels best for you and only what you’re comfortable with.

If you have decided to snap a couple of naked pictures, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to make sure that, whether just for yourself or to share with a partner, they’re the best they can be. Happy snapping!

Get familiar with your body

Sometimes, we’re moving so quickly we don’t take the time to slow down and see ourselves. Really see ourselves. Every outline, every curve, every meeting point on our bodies are little invitations to delight in ourselves. Don’t miss out on that opportunity.

Plus, when you know yourself well, you’ll know how you want to show yourself off. So go on, get up close and personal. Grab a hand mirror and start exploring. Find a full-length mirror and take all of yourself in. Today is a great day to stand naked in front of a mirror and say, hell yeah.

Pay attention to the setting

Nudes can be taken any time, anywhere (as long as you don’t surprise any non-consenting passersby), but insomuch as you can control it, make sure the background is cute too. Nothing steals focus from a perfectly positioned nude like a smugged mirror or a pile of dirty laundry in the background.

Make sure you’re comfortable

There’s absolutely no reason to contort yourself into strange positions in order to take gorgeous nudes. Truly, there’s nothing more attractive than seeing someone luxuriate in the fullness of who they are. So, when you’re getting ready to snap your next sexy picture, relax, take it easy, and let yourself just be.

Try laying on a bed or sitting comfortably on a chair in front of a mirror. If standing is more your thing, try taking a deep breath and then letting it all out. Take note of how your body is, how you hold yourself at your most comfortable. Remember, this is about celebrating your body, not contortionism (unless that’s your thing!).

Play with the lighting

When it comes to lighting, there’s just nothing better than the natural thing. If you can be by a window in indirect sunlight, just letting the glow radiate off your skin, well, chef’s kiss. It’s also a common misconception that golden hour was invented for taking selfies. Not true! If there’s a way for you to take your nudes at that time (again, without getting into trouble), that’s just, well, golden.

Not into the natural thing? Mood lighting can also be fun. Grab a red or purple light and replace the bulbs in one of your bedroom lamps and experiment with those. Red not your shade? Go for teal—it’s totally up to you!

Don’t be afraid to accessorize

Just because you don’t have any clothes on doesn’t mean you can have anything on. Or, at least, that’s our logic. A great pair of earrings, a killer pair of shoes (heels, boots, the vibe is up to you!)—again, just make sure it makes you feel great. Bonus points if you want to take accessorizing to the next level and get some props involved. Here are a few ideas!