Since there is no school for adult content creators, probably every single one of us has some embarrassingly bad photos from our early days in the industry that we keep buried in some random laptop folder and never look at again. Or, if you are like me, you have deleted all the embarrassing evidence of the fact that you didn’t come into the industry knowing it all.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there’d been some simple tips to guide you in your early days, even just a little? Well, here is my contribution to the “Fewer Embarrassing Pics” effort!
A short pep talk before we dive in
Before I share the photography tips with you, I think there is a need for a short pep talk beforehand.
A lot of us start online sex work without a lot of prior knowledge in photography, video editing and many other skills we acquire in this job pretty much every day. Though all work comes with a learning curve, online sex work is heavily a “learn as you go” type of journey. Since there is no university degree you can get to become a sex worker, it is okay to not know everything. It does not mean that you are a bad sex worker if you don’t have all the knowledge at the beginning of your journey. Enthusiasm and the willingness to learn are way more important to become a successful online sex worker.
Now let’s get to the tips!
1. Make sure you have a nice and tidy background
The background of a photo can either make it look incredible or ruin the whole picture. A lot of times a pile of laundry or scattered makeup items can be distracting and ruin the viewer’s overall impression of the photo. However, don’t feel like your background has to be blank and boring. You can use items like pillows, house plants or fairy lights to liven up the photo.
2. Take advantage of natural lighting (or, use a ring light)
Use natural lighting to your advantage if possible. You can definitely create gorgeous photos without a ring light if the place you create content is bright enough.
3. Invest in a tripod
I can’t even name all the items I used as tripod replacements before I invested in an actual tripod. I have used stacks of books, flowerpots, Amazon boxes… but nothing works quite as well as an actual tripod — and you can find a smartphone tripod on Amazon for about $20.
A tripod with a Bluetooth remote can make a huge difference in the quality of your content and will pay off long term. It lets you to take advantage of different angles and find the ones that work the best for you.
4. Learn basic photo editing
Would you believe me if I told you there was a time when I used to upload completely unedited pictures? Yes, I didn’t even crop them. As someone who was never big on using a ton of filters on my pictures, I didn’t even think of editing them. But editing is what makes a good photo amazing. A bit of cropping and small adjustments of brightness, contrast, highlight and shadow can go a long way. There is no need to go overboard with filters and stickers because all it takes are some small changes to visibly improve your self portraits.
If you are editing photos on your phone, I recommend using an app like Snapseed which is available on both Android and Apple devices. It lets you edit your photos quickly and easily. My photo editing process consists of cropping, adjusting brightness, contrast, highlight and shadow and blurring out occasional blemishes if needed.
5. Experiment with props
Even if you are limited to only one location (which most likely is your bedroom), you can still find ways to make your content more interesting — and one of the ways to do it is by using props. These can vary from flowers and fruit to mirrors, lollipops and books.
Think of the type of aesthetic you are trying to achieve. If you are going for a “girl next door” look, consider something sensual. If you are going for a more gothic look, you might use a spiky chokers or skulls. Some others props to consider are hats, fans, whips, handcuffs, a leather jacket or whipped cream. In this case, the sky really is the limit. You can use anything that you already own in a creative way to show who your sex work persona really is and to make your content more interesting.
Try implementing these five things and see how much better your content gets. Also, maybe don’t delete the photos you took at the beginning of your online sex work journey. This way, you can compare them with the most recent ones and see how far you have come. Or, you might find some useful gems in there that you can work with with your new skills!