Note: this was written as a guide specifically for cisgendered men, though cisgendered men are not the only people who identify as having dicks, or are the only ones who can benefit from this guide.
I am a massive fan of Critique My Dick Pic, particularly now that I've joined Reddit and occasionally posting photos of my boobs. I get a lot of dick pics in my messages folder, and end up feeling a bit... well, unimpressed. Not because of the dicks themselves, which are nice enough, but because of the composition of the photos. I mean, I worked on my photos, dudes, you can at least spend a few minutes n your own!
Madeleine Holdin wrote a fabulous article about the things she learned (and is learning) while critiquing dick pics on the internet, and I highly recommend you read it. The various insights on male insecurity, the lack of the female gaze being catered to or even understood, the welcoming nature of her project (all self-identified dicks are welcome to be judged), all add up to a really surprisingly pleasant browsing experience on her tumblr. And she does talk a bit about tips for composing an excellent dick pic (as she says, what makes an ideal one varies from person to person).
Why are dick pics in the dark ages of selfies? One of the guys I spoke to said sadly, "well, vulvas and boobs have a lot of examples to learn from... there just isn't a similar acceptance or love for dicks", and I thought... wow, yeah, that's pretty true. One sender to Critique My Dick Pic says:
"Besides, I also just wanted to say thanks for creating a safe space for vulnerable male sexuality — obviously there are tons of places for dudes to act like complete assholes, but it’s rare to see a dick pic discussed and taken in a “I want to make myself vulnerable” way rather than the usual “I want to exert and impose my masculinity” way, since there’s an explicit lack of consent in the latter. It’s a problem I’ve dealt with for a while… the lack of desire to just have… Gently vulnerable men. "
Dicks are often seen as something to laugh at, or be scared of, not something to cradle tenderly or look at with lust. I mean, look at the shit that's called "sexy underwear for men". WTF is even going on with some of this stuff? If you are in the market, though, look for Candyman, who has made some of the best sexy men's underwear costumes I've ever seen.
I remember watching a documentary (My Penis and I, recommended!) about small penises and thinking back to a man I met once. He was the first man I had ever known who told me that he had a small penis, very matter of factly. He stood out because of this confidence (and deserved, too, he was good in bed) and it was super attractive. But so many men don't see a full variety of dicks, or see them at various flattering angles. It's not terribly surprising that people say vulvas are "just more attractive", simply because they're constantly conditioned to see them as such (though don't get me started on pussy lips and lack of representation... anyway).
I'm hoping this is changing, not only with all the attention the tumblr has been getting and also with this fashion spread featuring erect cocks. Yum.
I found myself wanting a clearer guide to the terms Madeleine's talking about. What's a log actually look like? What kind of background looks good, and what doesn't? What's a good way to incorporate hands, or a partner? (Edited to add: I found that she's done a Top Ten Tips guide, but there's no pictures... and also it's on BroBible, which... yeah) Now, she and I may not have the same tastes, but I figured I wanted to make an illustrated guide on how to take a decent dick pic, using the same dick. So, without further ado (and with thanks to Phil N. Le Blanc, who modeled)...
Kitty Stryker's Guide to Dick Pics
Send a dick pic unsolicited. We'll ask for it if we want it (and we will ask!). Madeleine says:
"every day dick pics are thrust into the faces of unwilling female recipients, & they’re widely hated for this reason. dudes (& it is invariably dudes): DON’T DO THIS. ever. foisting your penis onto someone who hasn’t consented to see it is hostile, rude & deeply unsexy."
Also, we want to feel like this is a photo you took just for us, not a chain letter you've sent out to everyone on your list. Use your words in a way that really makes it special. "Wats up" or similar is not really going to cut it.
"The Log". Just don't. This bird's eye view meant to make your penis look huge really instead is just boring and we see them all the fucking time. It doesn't tell me anything about you, or make it erotic for me- it makes me feel like this sexy photo is more for your sake than mine, and that's not sexy.
Put your dick next to an inanimate object to show size. First of all, I have two remote controls and they're totally different sizes, so it's not really a good comparison checkpoint. Secondly, it's the worst kind of objectification. Thirdly, do you genuinely want people to judge you on size alone? I prefer average sized cocks so your bragging is lost on me and, if anything, makes me less likely to respond.
Under-(or over-)estimate your dick pic quality because of your size. Your dick is not somehow better or worse because of its size, and it really doesn't matter for taking a dick pic. All dicks have someone who loves them, but you have to present the merchandise in an appealing container.
Take your dick pic with a cluttered, distracting background, because I will absolutely try to figure out what that poster is and wrinkle my nose at your pile of dirty laundry. It's not just about your dick, it's about setting the stage, a setting, a sexytimes setting.
Take a novelty dick pic unless it is genuinely novel. Dick in a box = done. Dick wrapped as a present = done. Dick with frosting/whipped cream = done. Dick as stand-in for phallic objects = done. Also, if you want to do a novelty pic, make it still cute and sexy, not just silly- there's enough photos available if I want to laugh at dicks! I want to be turned on... and impressed by your creativity.
Use the rest of your body! Whether you have a hairy belly, plush curves or tight abs, I want to see the rest of you, even a hint. As Madeleine says, too, hands are important. It's nice to see you touching your cock in a way that's sensual and suggestive, making the recipient feel like they're witnessing a private, intimate moment. Disembodied cocks are not really hot.
Consider lighting. Phone camera flashes are usually harsh. Experiment with a few different angles and types of light (perhaps stark contrast with use of shadows, or candles, or fairy lights?). I also personally really enjoy filters as a way of playing up contrasts and maximizing lighting (black and white photos are also really pretty), but don't tamper with your image TOO much. This does contribute to how warm and inviting your photo feels (I find red and orange light give better warmth than blue or green).
Remember that cute/flirty feels a lot more vulnerable and (at least to me) sexy than explicit shots. Some people love that *BAM! DICK* approach, including me if it's done well, but there's a reason why burlesque is popular- people love to be teased, to anticipate. Sexual tension is really hot.
Take a bunch of photos, so you can pick one or two of them. When modeling, even a bit of a different angle can make for a way better photo, so experiment to see what looks best. It's pretty normal with selfies to take ten, twenty, more photos for every one good picture!
Accessorize! I love a dick pic with a story (not a bragging story, mind), so when you have it pressed hard against your boxer briefs, or with a cockring, or peeking out from jeans, or in the shower? That's hot. And yes, we notice your clothes, and it does often matter. Also just a side note- don't shirtcock, or "Porky Pig" it. Take your shirt off unless it tells part of a story.
Have confidence in your cock. I'd much rather have a pic of a flaccid but loved dick than a hard dick that's obviously looking for my validation - other women totally disagree, so know your partner's tastes and snap accordingly. Whether you're shaved or natural, uncut or cut, 4" or 9", if you follow the other tips in here, make the photo for my appreciation rather than your ego, and make your cock look like fun to be around and with? I'm into it.
With these tips, you should be well prepared to easily take dick pics with your phone camera that are intimate, sexy, and will delight rather than annoy your (consenting! ask first!) recipient.
Let me know what YOU like in a dick pic! What're your faves from Critique My Dick Pic?