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I’ll be honest, I’m a lover of a good selfie—but when it comes to self-love, belfies are the move. Belfies, otherwise known as “butt selfies,” have taken the world by storm, so we’re here to share with you some of the best tips for how to take a belfie so you, too, can hop aboard this 21st Century phenomenon.
A quick scroll through Instagram will remind you everyone loves a good butt photo, but belfies aren’t merely a thirst-trappy ploy to get a ton of likes—they’re also a way to revel in the beauty of our bodies. While the word “belfie” is beyond cringe-worthy, the concept itself is far from it. I’m all for taking photos of your butt—in fact, taking nude photos of my body has been crucial to my eating disorder and body dysmorphia recovery over the last several years.
The only issue with belfies, of course, is that they’re hard to take. Nailing the angle in a mirror selfie is always tough and lighting is hard to manage there, too. Using your phone’s hands-free feature is a nice way to create a more curated composition, but because you can’t see what you’re shooting as you shoot it, the entire process tends to involve a lot of trial and error.
I’m of the mind that our world would be better with more beautiful belfies in it; taking seriously hot shots of your tush shouldn’t be as challenging as it is! So, I reached out to two New York City-based boudoir photographers—Irina Mednik of French Kiss Boudoir Photography and Evgenia Ribinik of Evgenia Ribinik Boudoir Photography—to get their tushy tips and tricks for taking the best belfie possible.
Oh, and BTW, I included a bit of belfie inspo below with photos displaying women, but I want to remind and encourage you that everyone can celebrate their booty with a belfie! This isn’t just for the ladies—we’ve all got belfie-ready bums!
1. Know Your Angles
When taking a photo of, well, anything, angles make all the difference. This is especially true when it comes to your butt. Mednik notes that while butts come in a variety of shapes and sizes, many women strive for the same ideal. “Most clients want a round, plump behind that’s perfectly situated between a thin waist and lean legs,” she explains.
But instead of striving for a stretchmark- and cellulite-free backside that looks like Kim Kardashian’s, you’d be better off working with what you’ve got. Part of the beauty of belfies—and really, any nude photos at all—is that they capture you exactly as you are. They’re honest, they’re real, they’re a little bit vulnerable—and that’s what makes them so special. Odds are, the person on the receiving end of your belfie already knows what you look like, anyway. And if you’re taking them for yourself, you definitely do.
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This compact cell phone holder not only allows you to stabilize your phone for hands-free selfies and photos, but it’s also equipped with three small ring light add-ons to enhancing the lighting and overall look of your imagery.
So instead of forcing everybody into some pop-culturally defined ideal, Mednik looks at each client individually. “Photographing their behind really depends on their bottom,” she says. Each shoot is the unique result of what a client looks like and what they value aesthetically, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of angles.
But one tried-and-true angle Mednik turns to again and again? Having the client lie on their belly and arch their back so their tushy can “pop out.” You can use your back and your hips to add some serious shape (read: roundness) to your booty, and it’ll make the difference between your butt and waist more defined. “It’s a great optical illusion for those who don’t have much junk in the trunk—but it also works perfectly for those who do,” she says.
2. Use Belfie Inspo
Since boudoir photos tend to sit at the intersection of what a person looks like and what they want to look like, there’s a lot of variation in go-to angles and posing. For this reason, a lot of boudoir photographers ask their clients to make a moodboard of their favorite boudoir shots—that way, the photographer can get a sense of the client’s aesthetic (regarding everything from poses and angles to lighting and composition).
It might seem weird to make a Pinterest board dedicated to booty shots, but odds are, you’ve already bookmarked a few Instagrams you’re interested in recreating. So start there. What do those photos have in common? Do they skew more Kim Kardashian break-the-internet Paper cover, or more artsy and authentic? Maybe something in between? Knowing what you’re trying to do will keep your belfie process moving along smoothly.
But either way, if you’re in need of a little inspo, Mednik and Ribinik shared some of their go-to poses, below:
Stand with your legs crossed. This will emphasize the shape of your tush, giving you that hourglass look so many people are fond of.
Sit It Down
Sitting might seem like a weird move for a belfie, but according to Mednik, it’s a great choice for people with butts on the flatter side. The trick is to sit with your body angled slightly away from the camera, creating a beautiful curve to your backside—even if that curve is practically non-existent when you’re standing. (No shame—remember, flat butts can be just as beautiful as juicy ones. Your body isn’t wrong just because it doesn’t meet our current, trendy ideal.)
From The Side
Side selfies are also a great option—just make sure to vary what your legs are doing. “The booty always looks rounder if the leg facing the camera is super straight while you take a side selfie,” Ribinik advises. “Popping it while in that pose also helps!” (She specifically vouched for a lower-angle set-up in this pose. “I feel like it gives the booty such a cool, round heart shape,” she says.)
I know what you’re thinking—these poses are all good and well for boudoir photography. But how am I supposed to snap anything like this without the help of a personal butt photographer? Your phone’s self-timer is your best friend. Make a day out of it and have some fun practicing poses and angles. Just find something to prop it up against, and you’ll be in business in no time.
3. Mind Your Lighting
When lighting your belfies, revisit your moodboard (or your bookmarked Instagrams, or wherever else your belfie treasure trove lies). What do the photos you’ve saved look like? Is the lighting soft and romantic? Is it harsh? Different lighting set-ups can give photos entirely different vibes, so spend some time figuring out what you want on the front-end.
If you’re not sure, Mednik and Ribinik recommend starting with soft, natural light. Harsh, bright light (the kind of thing you’d get from a flash, or from a spotlight) tends to flatten your curves, leaving them blended into the background. It also tends to cast dark shadows that accentuate cellulite and uneven skin (which we’re basically all dealing with—we’re humans, after all).
Soft, natural light, on the other hand, creates a more romantic mood—and it’s easier to work with. Not only can you simply open a window (no equipment, required), but you can also be a little less precise with your angles and composition and still end up with something that looks good.
Since we don’t all have professional lighting kits at our disposal, a little planning will pay off. Mednik recommends setting an earlier alarm and snapping some belfies at sunrise, “when the light is really soft and flattering.” She recommends lying on the bed with your booty up, window behind you.
Situate the phone across the room so you’re sandwiched between the window and the phone. “That’s the safest light to work with,” she says. “It’s typically amazing on everyone and can even have a moody feel to it, too.”
Tip 4: Consider your composition—and what clothes you’re wearing.
You don’t have to take a photography class to learn what the “rule of thirds” is—it’s already built into your phone camera. You know that grid that pops up when you’re posting a photo on Instagram? That’s your rule of thirds grid. Situating the focal point of an image at the intersection of two of those lines will draw the viewer’s eye into the composition, making your photo more compelling.
“If I’m getting a super close-up I usually go with the rule of thirds, but the negative space to the side does look interesting as long as there isn’t clutter,” Mednik says. “You want to make sure the background is as clean and simple as possible as to not distract your eye from the real beauty in the photo—the butt.”
As far as clothing, Mednik and Ribinik both agree: The less, the better. If you’re not completely comfortable taking a nude photo, both photographers recommend a thong or cheeky panties to emphasize the curve of your booty. If you’re not quite there yet, pull a Kylie Jenner (as seen above) and let your panties peek out of some low-cut jeans. I know, right—the only time low-rise jeans will come in handy.
A version of this article was originally published in April 2020.