Photo by bymuratdeniz via Getty Images
Advice on the finer points of having great sex.
To find out how to shoot hot, high-quality amateur porn videos when you're just at home with a phone or computer camera, VICE talked to the experts: OnlyFans models and amateur porn creators who make a living doing exactly that. Here's their advice on what to do with your camera, your lighting, and, of course, your hot self.
In terms of your backdrop, "A plain wall can go a long way. It's simple and doesn't distract from what you're doing," said Kendra James, an adult performer who specializes in fetish content on OnlyFans and other platforms.
"You'd be surprised how good a simple, clean background will work. [As long as you don't have] clothes on the floor [or] pet hair everywhere, you'll do just fine," said Asia Drake, an adult performer and OnlyFans creator.
Think about not just the background, but the foreground of your shot, too. "Do not have clutter and random garbage in your shots!" said OnlyFans creator and cam performer Michelle T. "This is incredibly important, as clutter can be distracting to the buyer"-or any viewer-"and off- putting. You want the focus to be on you-not your dirty laundry."
If space is limited or it's tough to keep your room clean, OnlyFans creator and XBIZ Award nominee Savannah Solo suggested using Airbrush, a free retouching app, to blur out any stray clutter. "[The app] makes [the video] look more professional, and sometimes I am very messy, so it helps me not feel distraught over the cluttered background," she said.
"Set up your camera and just film yourself moving-you'll learn what you like best," said Michelle T. "Don't film a whole video without [trying out] test shots first, because you never know what you'll get. It can be upsetting to film a whole video and look back while editing to find you don't really like it."
Figuring out your best lighting conditions, colors, and tones are just as important as knowing your angles, according to every person VICE spoke to. "Just a few bright lamps and a small boost from a dimmable LED light, like this one, make everything look warm, and really makes my dark skin pop," said Drake. Coupled with free low-light photo and video apps like Night Mode, she continued, "Magic is made."
"The dream is to be able to shoot with natural daylight all the time, but, sadly, we aren't all blessed with floor to ceiling windows and perfect weather," said Michelle T. "When natural light fails, ring lights are helpful," she added, referring to the " selfie lights " that are also typically used for portraits and beauty shots, which you can buy for about $10.
If finding a good lighting setup still sounds expensive or intimidating, don't worry-there are even more affordable options available. Solo uses a simple $30 light kit with a mini ring light, tripod, and phone holder ( like this one). "It's worked like a charm for me. You do not have to splurge on a fancy light kit to take good pictures, but you do need good lighting."
According to Michelle T., a fancy camera isn't required to make a hot video. "These days, a good phone will do just fine," she said-people "seem to appreciate a more 'amateur' feel to content," meaning videos that have a homemade, spontaneous feel.
Solo said that she chose to update her phone to improve the definition and sound quality of her videos. "I started out on my iPhone 8 before I saved up to buy the 11 Pro Max, and it works like a dream," she said. Solo uses her tripod to experiment with different camera heights, angles, and poses. "It definitely takes a lot of practice to memorize what angles are the most flattering," she said.
"[The camera] positioning really depends on what you want to accentuate," said Michelle T. For instance, she likes to feature what she calls her "large butt," so, she said, "When I film it, I usually do an upward angle to show all the curves."
James recommends incorporating a few different angles and perspectives into the video. This takes more time, she explained, but it allows you to show off your assets from all sides. You'll create a more immersive experience, and your viewer will feel like they're right there with you. "Changing angles can make the video more impactful and offer a different perspective," said James. "Go from [a] full-body [shot] to a mid-shot-[from the waist up]-or close-up, then back to full-body. This takes more time, but can make for a better video."
Camera positioning can also vary depending on the style of content-meaning, what sort of porn you're making. Whether you're going for a voyeuristic vibe, setting up a role play scenario, or enjoy giving sexy verbal narration, the right camera positioning can give your video a more intimate, realistic feel.
"If it's a solo JOI"-jerk-off instruction, which is a kind of instructional video where the performer gives verbal and visual prompts about how to masturbate and when to orgasm-"then the camera is usually front and center," she said.
According to James, "Having the camera lower is great for femdom POV"-aka, domination videos filmed from the viewer's perspective-"and can give the impression they're a lowly servant staring up at their mistress."
If you're still getting a feel for how to look on camera and want to take peeks as you go, use your phone's front-facing camera so you can see how you look, as James recommended-but try not to get too distracted checking yourself out, no matter how good you look. "Don't stare at yourself the whole time!" James said. "Look at the lens as though [you're looking into] the other person's eyes."
When it comes to the wardrobe for your solo sex video: "It really depends on your comfort and what you're selling," said Drake. "As a BBW that does mostly roleplay, I try to pick outfits that make sense for the scenario, but also [look like] something I'd wear in real life...something sexy enough for the video that compliments my curves-fishnets look great on thick thighs."
No matter your body type, said Drake, "[What you wear] really depends on your comfort and what you're selling." What you're "selling" in a homemade video for your partner or other lucky recipient is your own style of sexiness, whether that's soft and sensual, playful and flirty, or bold and provocative.
The most important thing to consider when choosing an outfit is how it makes you feel. "It doesn't have to be all about finding the sexiest or most expensive lingerie pieces. I say, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and sexy," said Solo. "I have [content] in my Star Wars pajamas that turn out better [than they do when I'm wearing lingerie], just because I'm having fun."
Michelle T. agreed, "[There's] nothing worse than seeing pain on your face from a too-tight outfit." (Unless, of course, you're into that. "Maybe you're like me and love latex and cosplay, and find yourself the most comfortable shined up in skintight rubber," James said.)
Solo had similar advice. "Unless you have a completely controlled environment to shoot your daily content in, there will be variables" while making a home sex video, she said. "You'll have to adjust for mood, time of day, the subject of the content, all sorts of things will be different from shoot to shoot."
So: Don't worry if you're not a pro. A lot of the time, that's what makes watching people-like you, and including you-on camera so hot to begin with.