After a spate of recently-hacked phone nudes, it's clear our advice to never shoot pictures of your own junk isn't going to catch on. So if you're going to do it, at least do it well. Here's how to make your naked shots shine.
Take care of lighting
Aside from using a phone built after, say, 2004, this is probably the most important strategy: snap your pictures where the light is good. Turn on lamps at roughly the same height as the parts you want to accentuate, and avoid stark overhead lights—no naked human has ever looked great shrouded in shadows. Low light settings also fill your pictures with distracting (and horribly unsexy) digital noise. For bright light options, choose daylight over fluorescent light. You want your self-snap to be amateurish, but not like some security camera capture from a crime scene. Christina Hendricks pulled off lighting perfectly.
Important caveat: No flashes. Ever. Ever. A camera flash will turn the most regal peepee or veevee into a blinding physiological hell demon, exploding forth from the screen. You should never look terrifying naked. A flash will clinch this.
Always use a mirror
Whether you're shooting the whole chassis or just a piston, a reflection promises the best frame of reference for clarity and composition. Somewhere in your house, you have a mirror. And if you don't have a mirror in your house, why did you spend money on a smartphone? Use that mirror to set up your pose—no matter what kind of sexyface you put on, pulling off an attractively-framed portrait when you can't see what the hell you're doing is nigh-impossible. It made Scarlett Johansson look bad. And she's a lot better looking than you.
Clean up your disgusting room
Ugh, come on, Heather Morris the Cheerleader from Glee: clear all that crap off of your bed. Detritus is distracting.
Probably don't take a picture of your penis
No matter who you are, it'll probably underwhelm. It's not your fault. It's not your body. Blame the technology. Save it for IRL. Why? You're probably setting yourself up for failure. Take it from our anonymous source at Adult Friend Finder, a frequent recipient of dong shots:
"In general, it's not always repulsive. It is, however, ALWAYS hilarious, and yes, I always show all my friends. And just for online dating dudes in general, I feel like a lot of dudes pull the dick picture trigger WAY too early. We've never met? I probably don't need to see it. One date, didn't go that well, but I'm being polite answering your texts? I don't need to see it. And really, I'm a grown woman, if I want to see it, touch it, or be anywhere around it, you can bet your ass I'll ask for it."
But, if you insist, fine—here's how. Just follow the advice of our adult friend from Adult Friend Finder: "Pics taken of your meat laid across the toilet seat are just gross. First off, we know why you're still sitting down (ew). Second, we can usually also see the ring in your toilet AND your toenail fungus. Really... just say no." Dear god.
Leave something to the imagination
The naked self-shot is inherently a little gross, but it's at its crassest when you're pouring it all out. Chandra, Lead Writer for gossip blog Celebitchy explains, "Leave some mystery... I thought Blake Lively's "alleged" nudes were the best, just because her (alleged) body is incredible and the way the angles were chosen, there was still some mystery and that was sexy." The anonymous former manager at Adult Friend Finder concurs: "Teasing is better. It's much sexier to see some tummy and a treasure trail leading down into a slightly pulled-down pair of jeans than to actually see everything."
Smile like a normal person
This might sound intuitive, but don't pull any facial stunts, or you will look like our dear friend iPad Mirror Prostitute. "If your face is in the photo, try to avoid the look of desperate famewhoring ("OMG, THESE WILL BE ON TMZ SOON!!")," agrees Chandra.
Never use a webcam
Not only is the quality far worse, but you'll have to sort of disquietingly crouch-lean over the camera to get yourself in the shot. You'll probably have a frustrated look on your face and your body will be wrinkly and strange and mirrored. Plus, a phone gives you an opportunity to show off your phone. "Check out my phone."
Don't use vintage filters
Christ, have some self-respect.
Be prepared for them to be everywhere
You're not famous, so odds are nobody will be shameless enough to post your hacked phone pictures on Gizmodo. But! There's nothing stopping your ex/fling/OKCupid interlocutor/etc from forwarding the picture to everyone they know. Nothing. This is a very large plunge to plunge into.
One last thing that we're horrified even needs mentioning but apparently happens because the Adult Friend Finder expert warned against it
"Make sure there are no kids in the room. Really. You'd be amazed."
Now go forth—go forth and do what we all know you'll regret.
User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette. It appears as if by magic every Friday.