Over the past years I have become more and more in awe of my body; the way my breasts lay, the way my bum sits, the way my body is shaped, the outlines of my stretch marks, the unique shapes of my hyperpigmentation and how my scars are a gentle physical reminder of my perseverance through life.
Two years ago I suffered such severe eczema that my face would just bleed and peel off. Fortunately, I am now almost eczema free but last December, I was diagnosed with alopecia universalis, an autoimmune disease which causes your body to attack itself and lose hair. But despite these obstacles, my body confidence has skyrocketed and I have never loved myself more.
When people ask how I was able to achieve such confidence, I let them know it was partially by taking photos of myself. Whether it be taking nudes or thirst traps, whenever I was in front of the camera I felt beautiful. It allowed me to embrace every part of me that I previously thought were flaws. It made me feel sexy and empowered. So with that in mind, here’s a step by step guide on how to take thirst traps.
It’s called self-care, baby
Self-care is crucial for our physical, mental and emotional health. It allows us to boost our confidence and self-esteem, and remind ourselves that our needs are important. Therefore, before I take any photos I make sure I practise self-care by taking a shower, prepping my skin, (i.e. splashing some The Ordinary acids on my face), doing my makeup, and playing music.
I am not a makeup connoisseur, but one or two tricks I do to make sure my thirst traps are 10/10, is to oil my body up, especially the body parts I am trying to accentuate. I use olive oil, but you can also use coconut oil. Additionally, I smear Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife on top of my cheekbones, collarbone and breasts – making me look like honey.
Sexy and comfortable
Now that you feel good inside, the next step is to decide what to wear. Choose clothing that makes you feel beautiful. Sometimes a simple tank top is enough to make you feel like you can take over the world, but don’t be scared to slip into something sexy. When I slip into sexy lace, I become the thirst trap queen.
The next step in crafting the perfect thirst trap is to practice your angles. Spend time playing around with your phone taking photos from all angles. You’ll be shocked as to what angle makes you feel sexy. Once you perfect your angle, figure out what pose you want to go for. Which part of your body do you want to accentuate: boobs, legs, lips, hips, bum, back? Remind yourself this isn’t a competition. Play around with your poses!.
I have two favourite poses, one where I am lying down on my bed on my front and the camera is in front of me focusing on my bum, whilst my second is me sitting on my bent knees emphasising my hips and thighs.
The perfect background
The wrong background can ruin a photo whether it be for a thirst trap or for any photo in general. You don’t need much space, but ensure you find somewhere where the focus can solely be on you. A plain background is good, but add in a few props you can. I like to keep my background as plain as possible, so I’m either against my wall, or on the floor with nothing behind me. Either way I ensure my room and mirror is clean. A sock on the floor or a dirty smudge on the mirror can definitely ruin a picture.
It should be noted you don’t need fancy equipment to take thirst traps. I simply place my phone against the window sill and use the self-time feature, or hold the phone itself and take the photo using my mirror. My mirror has become an iconic part of my visual brand. You can’t think of Meera without thinking of my huge mirror.
Thirst traps don’t necessarily have to be taken inside. I’ve once taken my handmade mirror outside, placed it on the garden chair with the trees in the background, oiled up my body and used the camera to take the image. The sun against my body made me look and feel amazing.
Lighting is key, so test it. Use different coloured lights, see which one suits you. Don’t be afraid to get artsy – I once used blue Christmas lights! If you haven’t got access to coloured lights, natural light is always a winner. If you do use natural light, make sure you position yourself so the light falls on you. Look around you and consider other locations for improved light.
Golden hour is beautiful on anyone, so if you plan to take photos between that period please do plan ahead. Once I attempted to take a picture during Golden hour and by the time I was ready I missed it!
Your picture, your choice
Thirst traps should be taken primarily for yourself and for no one else. In my view, it’s an image that boosts your self-confidence and allows you to become more in love with yourself, a way of capturing your beauty. If you want to show some nudity DO IT! It’s your body, your art, your picture, your choice.
Many of us choose to post our thirst traps on social media, and if you choose to do so remember that no one can tell you anything. No one can shame you. No one can label you. No one can make you feel a certain way. If it gets attention, then it gets attention but the photo was for you.
Now let’s get on to safeguarding. Although you have taken these photos and now want to post on social media or share with certain people, it is vital you ensure you protect yourself. The online world can be very scary. These basic tips can protect yourself from any unwanted cyber attacks or abuse:
• Have strong passwords for all your accounts, ensuring the passwords are unique to each account. I use a password manager to help assist me.
• Avoid sharing your personal information online i.e. home address, phone number. There are a lot of creeps out there.
• Customise your privacy settings – think about who can see what you post online.
• If you receive any form of harassment, BLOCK & REPORT!
• To prevent someone from using your image without your consent add a watermark or even add your name. If you can afford to, copyright your pictures!
• Make sure your electronic devices are up-to-date and free of malware, and please back up your data regularly in secure locations.
• I advise anyone who is underage to refrain from posting images of themselves that can be classed as child pornography, i.e. any form of nudity.
Thirst traps are important. They might seem silly to some people, but they’ve given me a different perspective on body confidence. They allowed me to embrace my so-called flaws and feel liberated.
By posting these images on my own personal Instagram and writing this step by step, I hope to inspire other women of colour to feel as liberated, to take images of themselves without fear of judgement and embrace their bodies regardless of what others may deem inappropriate. There’s no point in taking these photos if you aren’t going to enjoy yourself, so HAVE FUN and flaunt every part of your body.
Me, Myself and I is a week-long celebration of self portrait photography focusing on the power of creating art alone.