Face it: A sexy selfie is essentially the modern-day love letter or mixtape and a surefire way of getting someone’s attention—especially in the summer, when more clothes come off more often. But you have to do it right, which means getting away from mirrors in dimly lit bathrooms, bars and gyms. To help, we’ve enlisted photographer Danny Lane and two Playmates for a consummate lesson in creating digital sex appeal. In 2015, there’s really no shame in learning to love thy selfie.

A provocative selfie should show off your personality, not change it. “I’ve seen selfies taken by cute, seemingly shy people that were way too sexual and found myself turned off,” says Lane. Adds Gia, “Men in particular should avoid taking pictures of their muscles at the gym, because it looks douchey. You don’t need to try so hard. Just make it special for the recipient, and don’t send too many.” Once you’ve mastered your sexed-up digital persona, improve it with these technical tips.

The rule of thirds is the rule of thumb for ideal photo composition. Divide the camera frame horizontally (or vertically) by three and have your eyes occupy an outer third. When using a front-facing camera, look into the lens, not the screen.

There’s nothing sexy about duck-face, the exaggerated, outward pursing of the lips. Opt for a coy smile, which is more inviting, or, as Raquel suggests, ditch the emoji and simulate a kiss. “I like it when guys send me kisses,” she says.

Hold your phone a few degrees above your eye line, and angle the lens toward your face. Use a low angle only if you want a more serious tone. “When you shoot from below, it puts you in a position of power,” Lane says.

Any photo taken on a smartphone has the potential to be leaked, and gratuitous nudity often feels more tacky than classy. (Instagram, for one, will remove any NSFW photos.) Tease your body; don’t flaunt it. “Keep your shirt on, or find cute censors,” says Lane. “It’s cool to add an element of mystery. The less you see, the more you want.”

The professional-looking “nonselfie” is easier to achieve than you may think. This photo of Gia, for example, took only six minutes. Eliminate outstretched arms by using a camera’s self-timer, which can take a burst of 10 photos at once. Make sure to prop your phone so the camera lens is at the same height as your eye line. “Don’t let your face hog the frame,” says Gia. “You should always be showing off a little more of something else.” Lane also advises that you shoot near a window for optimal natural light. “The key is to find the light with your face,” he says.

Click the above picture to see Gia Marie’s sexy selfie outtakes

“Don’t retouch or edit your selfies too much,” says Lane. Yes, apps such as Instagram and Photoshop Express, plus the preloaded filters on your camera, make it easy to correct uneven skin tones and hide wrinkles, but smart editing means altering the entire tone of a photo—as a black-and-white filter does (top left)—rather than “fixing” your face. Try using filters only to highlight your best features. For example, enhance freckles by sharpening the image and tweaking saturation (top right). For a romantic glow, add a vignette (bottom left). “Be true to yourself,” says Lane. “Nothing is weirder than meeting someone who doesn’t look anything like they do in their pictures.”


Miss June 2014
Capitalizing on bright lighting and an even brighter smile—plus a tasteful tease of something more—Jessica’s selfie is fun and flirty, with a hint of innocence.
Followers: 292,000

Miss October 2011
If you want people to look at your body, Lane suggests looking away from the lens.
Followers: 1.1 million

Miss February 2009
Jessica has the epitome of a smize—that is, smiling with the eyes. Her subtlety draws you in and evokes intrigue.
Followers: 1.1 million

Miss June 2013
In this expert belfie (butt selfie), Audrey limits distraction by covering the top half of her body.
Followers: 437,000

Click the images above to see each Playmates sexiest Instagram pics