How to Take a Winning Thirst Trap: Your Detailed Multimedia Guide to Being Hot Online

Self-love. Indulgence. Horniness. Loneliness. Boredom. Revenge. There are many motives for posting a thirst trap. But what makes a winning thirst trap? After extensive research both on my own and by talking with others who are highly skilled in the craft, I’ve found that there are also many different ways to craft a successful thirst trap.

Some trappers say a funny caption is required; others opt for more directness. Some say take 10 photos at a time… some say 100. Some prefer selfies, and others prefer making their friends or partners (or, in one case, THEIR MOM) be their personal thirst trap photographer. Everyone agrees good lighting is essential, but it can be achieved using various techniques!

There’s far more than one way to take a highly effective thirst trap, and I am here to guide you through some of the best practices with help from some noteworthy thirst-quenchers who are constantly blessing my timeline. Think of this as your thirst trap textbook.

Everyone seems to agree that confidence and self-love are essential components of a highly effective thirst trap, but I think Autostraddle writer Molly (@mollypriddy) says it best: “An effective thirst trap starts with trapping yourself.”

Now, here are some annotated versions of all of the Thirst Trap Team’s (the Thirstvengers? The Thirsty League?) most successful selfies — the brief stories behind them and the tips for how to recreate them for yourselves as well as some key takeaways at the end of each section. Go forth and thirst trap. (Some folks mention specific apps in their descriptions, but for easy reference, here are the most common apps we use: HUJI, VSCO, PhotoWonder, FaceTune, and Snapseed.)

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The Mirror Selfie

Ah, yes, one of the most straightforward and easy-to-take thirst trap setups. First up is my friend @claerdna, one of the stars of Sidetrack (shameless plug!) and a very talented thirst trapper. One of my favorite things about @claerdna is that her Instagram is literally just pictures of herself, and I strive for that level of confidence every day! Here’s her breakdown of how she took this very simple mirror self thirst trap.

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In my professional experience, Brandy Melville dressing rooms are one of the best places to take thirsty pix. The lighting is just diffused enough so your skin looks clear. Everyone loves a good mirror selfie! But location is important. And what you’re wearing. In this one, I chose to try that classic Insta pose. The trick here is to angle your butt out, and twist your body slightly to the camera. Remember to pop one leg out. Somewhat conceal your face so you don’t have to worry about what that looks like too. I usually crop my pix above the knee so no one can tell how short my legs look. Also note the lighting on my bicep, which makes it look like I work out, which I aggressively don’t.

I can verify the fact that dressing rooms — especially in fancy stores — have incredible lighting for thirst traps. You don’t even need to buy anything! Just go put on some nice clothes and snap some cute pics in the dressing room! The lighting is great because they want you to think that their clothes make you look incredible! In my experience, department stores do not have great thirst trap lighting unless you’re going for a haunted vibe which, hey, maybe you are! My pal @kloebryan also proves that dressing rooms are a great place for thirst traps — no purchase necessary.

This one isn’t edited at all (although I do use VSCO to edit a lot). My finsta is private and only 15 people follow it. I was just trying on this jumpsuit (I did not buy the jumpsuit) and the dressing room mirror was big, so it seemed like a good opportunity. Idk! The phone-over-the-shoulder butt pic is always a good move in my opinion. This is definitely not a particularly well-composed or “aesthetic” thirst trap, but I did think the slogan on the mirror was funny. Thirst traps can and should be funny!

Next up, we have Autostraddle’s Archie (@babywrist) serving the foot-on-sink mirror pose that I can never quite master but they pull off flawlessly! This can be done in the privacy of your own home but is also a power move, as Archie often demonstrates, taken in public bathrooms when you’re out for the night and wearing something hot that you feel hot in.

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🌟 Hi boys. 🌟

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Putting your leg up on the bathroom sink is ? a queer selfie power move. It also features really nice white hotel lighting. I think outfits for thirst traps are real important, like you should be wearing something (or nothing) that makes you feel awesome and confident! And bonus points if it’s in a distinctly “you” style, like this mesh top and silver 80s jacket.


Dressing rooms, hotels, and some bars (especially ones with either neon lights or warm lighting) have ideal lighting for mirror selfies. WORK that pose. Have a sense of humor. Make sure your outfit is conveying the vibe you want to be putting out there because when it comes to mirror selfies, your outfit is more of the focal point than your face. (If you’re taking this at home, probably clean your mirror, which I always forget to do and then end up having to choose a filter that conceals how dirty my mirror is!!!!)

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The Close-Up Selfie

Sometimes a thirst trap can be just a really good photo of your face.

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i don’t need an excuse 2 luv me! 😝

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Whenever I’m bored at work, I find it a good use of time to take selfies! You always want a backlog of selfies in case you need one for whatever reason. They’re also usually the hardest to post for me ‘cause it’s like, here’s my face! No clever caption is gonna disguise the fact that you’re just giving people a pic of your face ‘cause you thought you looked good. Which is why it needs to look very good. No regrets. I usually find that the best lighting is in a dark room where there’s lots of sunlight coming in through the window outside, but there’s no direct sunlight on you. Lipgloss and highlighter look especially good in these. Try at least 20 poses, no one is judging you. After staring at my chosen pic for about 20 mins, I will decide to post it with a caption like “I love me!” Why lie?

Autostraddle cartoonist and the mastermind behind #AllQueerBods Alyssa (@alyssathrills) calls this type of thirst trap the “smug mug,” which I love.

If I’m thirst trapping, I tend to keep the lights low and give you just enough to keep you interested. While I’m often explicit enough to leave little room for questioning my intentions, I’m a big fan of leaving just enough to snatch a little bit of your attention. I only thirst trap when I’m feeling cute! It’s not about impressing my babe or hoping they’ll convince me I look good. A thirst trap is not a fishing expedition. Butch, I know I look good. I’m giving you a gift.

If you notice a cool light pattern/reflection, SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY to take some artsy thirst traps, like singer-songwriter Julia Weldon (@juliaweldon) did here.

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Good eve to you.

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My thirst traps tend to involve: great lighting, finding my best angle, usually my post top-surgery chest, some sultry eye work, and a good hair day. I like to add another element that stands out: sexy bath time photos, sweeping boomerangs while on the streets of Manhattan, sweaty post work-out chest pics/videos, or a cute selfie with my pup in the background. Basically, anything that I think makes me look like I’m cool. This thirst trap is definitely all about the lighting, which really brought out my beachy sunkissed look and baby blues. Also I was with my best friends on Fire Island and was feeling super into being as naked and queer as possible at all times. Sometimes a good thirst trap is just about channeling a real feeling?!

I rarely know what the fuck to do with my facial expression in a thirst trap, and Molly points out that thinking about your crush is a good tactic.

I hold the camera at eye level or above and usually turn my head slightly so I’m not looking directly straight into the camera. If you angle your face just a little bit, you get better perspective on your whole face as well as the dimensions of your hair. The beauty of a thirst trap is that we all know what it is and what it’s doing. That’s why having a fun caption is key. No one believes you when you say “whoops I randomly took this pic of myself guess I don’t look too horrible!!” so just own it; confidence is sexy. Lastly, I’d say that a lot of people don’t think too hard about what they’re thinking about when they take a picture, but it’s always reflected in your eyes. So if you’re feeling self-conscious, your eyes will say so. I like to think about my crush and what it would feel like to send them this picture that I’m so proud of, then let my eyes soften and be nice and real.


Ok, I think the hardest part of a selfie-style thirst trap is figuring out wtf to do with your face. We’ll get into the concept of SMILING in a selfie later, but I think it’s important to note here as well. You don’t have to do the gay Zoolander that’s the pout/scowl/look-dead-behind-the-eyes (which for some reason is my go-to). You can do those things, but there are other options, too! Like smiling or smirking or winking. Flirt with the camera. Be the thirst object. Allow room for fantasy but also maintain some control over how others see you via the caption.

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Swimwear Traps

I have known @leatherpumpkin for nearly a decade, and I have long been inspired by her approach to thirst trapping, which usually involves her enlisting the help of someone else to shoot her. And when it comes to swimsuit traps, enlisting outside help is key.

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the original diced pineapple

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One of my best friends (@dweeebbb) is my personal Nigel Barker. He is the photographer and creative director behind my most thirst trappiest photos (get a friend that knows your angles and will tell you to adjust your cleave!!!!). Here, we’re at Riis and I had already attempted to do some Baywatch situation by the tide. It very much did not work. Or maybe they did but I didn’t feel confident in them. And then later on I was rolling around in the sand and was like let’s try again but D didn’t want to get up again to take pictures of me so this angle was born!!!

Our own Vanessa (@vanessatakesphotos) rightfully refers to herself as the queen of thirst trapping, and she has some hot tips for beach photos, too, echoing the sentiment that you can never take too many photos and that everyone should have a friend (or MOM) who can double as a personal photographer.

My key to a good thirst trap is to take 100 photos. Not kidding. Find someone who loves you or use a self timer or commit to taking 100 selfies, and just go for it. My mother actually took this (lol), and I explained to her what we were going for (“really sexy, mom”) and then she just kept snapping photos while I kept changing poses. I like to look a little candid even though a thirst trap is rarely candid. The audience knows this, but I think it’s fine to pretend. I’m wearing a hot outfit, I’ve positioned myself in a way that is flattering to my bod and highlights my boobs, which are my fave part of my body. I obviously have a GORGEOUS background behind me, which helps, but you can take a good thirst trap against any background. I love being outside (yay natural light), and you’d be amazed what you can do with, like, the dying grass in your backyard or the crumbling brick wall outside your apartment.

And @claerdna is back. She makes an excellent point about saving photos from the same shoot for posting later.

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bikini pic

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Of course: the bikini pic. The hardest of thirst traps. You must have a dedicated photographer with a lot of patience on this endeavor; after all, you’re on the journey together. A few key poses for the bikini pic are: On your knees facing the camera, and some booty pix with your profile looking longingly into the horizon. Absolutely no other people in the picture allowed — do not let your friends get in the photo with you!! This is YOUR bikini pic. Always include the ocean though, you want people to be jealous of your awesome life (part of the thirst). After sorting through roughly 200 photos, I narrowed it to this one and squirreled away the rest for some #TBTs. Crop out what you don’t need, edit what you don’t like (no point in wasting a good pic. Everyone knows insta is not real life) and post dat shit and wait for the DMs to come sliding in.

Another cast member of my webseries Sidetrack (lol sorry), @thevmele literally took this thirst trap literally at Dinah Shore!!! According to her, you should pay attention to what people compliment irl and use that to inform your thirst trap approach.

When I’m going about my day-to-day, people frequently compliment my physique. I work hard for my body, so I genuinely appreciate when people acknowledge that hard work. If you find friends, family, and even strangers constantly complimenting you on something that comes naturally to you (your brilliant smile, your flawless hair, etc.) or something you’ve worked hard to cultivate (a particular style, aesthetic or body) it will usually garner similar praise and attention on posts. For this photo, I was at Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs and because my soon-to-be girlfriend was too busy to join us, I decided to remind her of what she was missing by sending her a swimsuit selfie. As I was photographing myself, a friend of mine snapped a pic of me. Her photo turned out better than mine.

Wow Mika a.k.a. @bbpapi aka. the style icon behind Autostraddle’s Find Your Fit column really used the sun to take this thirst trap to the next level.

Location change! I usually take pics alone in my room because I’m bored and I’m alone, but being intentional about the background of your pics and your locations really opens a whole new world of thirst trap situations. I mean, I’m at a pool, I’m tanning, it’s summer, masc face. Pay particular attention to lighting too when you’re outside. I edited this pic with VSCO (A6 filter) for the highlights/shadows. This pic came out originally very yellow because of the sunlight, so to fix the white balance I used Facetune, their white balance function is great! 10/10 would recommend!

I reached out to Reneice (@reneicespieces) — of Femme Brûlée fame — specifically for this article because I have long admired the fact that she smiles in all of her thirst traps. You don’t always have to pout or scowl to look sexy!

There seems to be some unwritten rule that thirst traps have to include a serious sexy face but I strongly disagree. Smiling is sexy af, who doesn’t love hot AND happy? I smile in the majority of my thirst traps and I like that it makes them unique. In this particular photo I wanted to show off my boobs, bathing suit, and cute ass chubby curves. The beach is awesome for lighting and I am terrible at editing photos so this isn’t edited.

Please also note the strong execution of the “on your knees facing the camera” pose in this pic! Theory and praxis, etc.

Ok, these are not beach photos nor technically swimwear photos (I’m wearing a bra and compression shorts), but I’m going for a similar thing as everyone else in this category: taking a flattering pic of my body in natural light while wearing minimal clothing. I had my girlfriend take this, and we played around with a few different poses, but this popped leg look with my flexed calf was the winner. I am indeed chugging a box of pinot grigio in this shot, so it’s literally a thirsty picture. I’m all about props in thirst traps. I also like to close my eyes when I’m not sure what to do with my face, and the “juice” box gave me a great reason to do so.


All thirst traps require confidence, but these most of all! Flaunt your favorite parts of your body! Get a friend or um, family member to help shoot you so you can get your whole hot bod in the frame. Use the SUN as your lighting, but also edit the exposure/white balance to make sure you’re popping against your background; bright/direct sunlight can be tricky to get right. Make sure the scenery shows; let ’em know you’re having ~fun in the sun~ so that they’ll want to join ya.

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An entire section just for thirst traps taken with HUJI? YUP. Why? Because I believe that HUJI is hands down the best app for taking thirst traps right now. Maybe you think it’s too trendy or has lost its appeal because everyone is using it. You’re wrong!!!! The faux-disposable camera HUJI aesthetic is timeless tbh, and photos taken with it rarely require any additional edits. The best thing about it is that it can even make photos taken in dim/poor lighting look decent. Definitely pay the 99 cents to upgrade to the pro version, which allows you to import photos from your camera roll and HUJI-fy them as well as tweaking how you want the filter to work. Here are some more tips for maximizing your HUJI thirst trap experience.

A lot of bar and restaurant bathrooms look really good on Huji, especially if you can get that subdued blast of rainbow. If you have dark circles under your eyes (I have enormous ones), they end up looking mysterious and cool instead of like you are gravely ill. A lot of bathroom mirrors have warm light fixtures on them that are great for taking selfies — take the photo with your face facing the light. For me, it often helps to look up a little, like raising my chin. And look directly at the camera / thirsty viewer. I genuinely do not think a photo has to be overtly sexual to count as a thirst trap (although most of the best ones are). I mean… this one worked.

My bedroom is the only place in my apartment that gets decent lighting and usually only for a few hours at the beginning of the day, so I rely on HUJI to make my dim apartment look like an aesthetic choice. I also echo @kloebryan’s sentiment about HUJI making dark eye circles less terrifying. I have cried almost every single day this summer (yikes!) so the bags+dark circles under my eyes have been NEXT LEVEL but HUJI makes me look okay. As for the cleavage in this pic, here’s a secret: I’m using my right hand to slightly pull down my shirt to make that deep-V neckline a lil more taut and revealing. Another secret to my thirst traps is slightly wet hair. If you have some decent volume to your hair, like me, it can give you a very hot I-just-got-out-of-a-pool (or shower) look. Also, like @kloebryan, I’m slightly raising my chin, which is a flattering angle on most folks!


DOWNLOAD HUJI RIGHT NOW. And if you get the premium version (again, ONLY 99 CENTS), take the photos in your normal camera app and then import them to HUJI. This is also a way to sorta cheat the system because it means that if you get a light effect/filter you don’t want (HUJI randomizes them) you can try again.

Clothing Optional

While thirst traps and nudes are technically different concepts, no one said you have to wear clothes in a thirst trap! Of course, in order to get around Instagram’s (sexist) nudity rules, you’ll have to get creative. And the Thirst Trap Team is here to teach you exactly how to do that, starting with Vanessa (who’s using HUJI here! Just to drive the point home!).

I’m naked, which I think is obvious in the picture, but you can’t actually see anything scandalous, which is part of the charm. I love my hair, and whenever I flirt, I twirl my hair, so I tried to capture that in this pic — like I want the audience to feel like I’m flirting with them. I also have a crush on someone rn who rly likes my mouth, so I was thinking about that when I took this: ‘oh, A will want to see my mouth.’ Send your thirst traps to your friends both for praise and feedback about which is best to sext your crush or post to insta, and don’t be shy with the camera! WE WANNA SEE YOUR THIRST TRAPS! THE QUEER COMMUNITY IS THIRSTY!

Archie knows how to flirt with the camera, too.

This one has early morning natural light, which is the most ideal lighting for any pic! It also has a signature wink. I like photos where it legit looks like you’re flirting with someone. I think being cheeky and not too serious is also great because you can get a hint of personality in there, too. This photo also has me topless bc I wanted people to see my new tattoo and I have no shame.

And here’s a photo @thevmele took on her second day of Dinah Shore at eight in the morning! Rise n thirst! She shows that you can use props to conceal the fact that you’re not wearing any clothes like, for example, a giant inflatable whale.

We were in the desert, it was hot, and I’m totally the kind of person who jumps Full Monty into a pool onto an inflatable whale with little to no prompting. The smile plastered all over my face is genuine happiness, brought on by a culmination of being with people I love on a wildly entertaining weekend and yes, I find immense joy and freedom in being nude. It was a moment captured of me being very much myself, another key to a great thirst trap. I recommend being genuine. You may in fact look like a narcissist asshat, but you’re having fun and feeling yourself, and that’s what people like to see. And NEVER be afraid to have a sense of humor about it!

Technically, I’m wearing clothes here (a bra as a shirt, which is an important summer look), but notice how this is essentially a picture of my boobs without explicitly being a picture of my boobs? While I’m all about owning your thirst traps, let’s also acknowledge that there’s sometimes a little bit of trickery going on with thirst traps, and that’s ok, too. The fact that I’m basically covering my face (the sun was bright!) draws the focal point further down to what I’m actually trying to get you to look at.

A step beyond having wet hair to imply you just got out of the shower is physically still being inside it, naked. Which brings us to how Julia Weldon pretty much invented the bathtime thirst trap if you ask me.

Portrait mode on the new iPhone has really taken my thirst trap game to the next level. For this shot, I had just gotten the iPhone X and was playing around with portrait mode in the bath. My hair was doing a wavy thing, and the water looked pretty. I was naked. Feeling myself. And started snapping some selfies! One should ask a super amazing, smart friend to help curate the thirst trap. Riese, for instance, helps me choose the most trap-worthy photo to post and EVEN sometimes, assists with what caption is the most clever.

Sometimes you want to play off a half-clothed thirst trap casually — oh, did I forget to put a shirt on? silly me! — and then sometimes you want to make sure there’s no possible room for misinterpretation. For the latter eventuality, Mika is here with some sex eyes advice.

Important thing to notice is angles! I started playing with switching angles this year because I was starting to feel very repetitive. So switch it up! Sex eyes! I guess that what I try to avoid when I’m making masc face on a thirst trap (we all know which face) is that I don’t look like I just took a piss on a dog and don’t feel sorry about it? Instead I try to imagine that one person I hated when I was young if I ran into them again and then boom, angry/sex eyes, because I’m a fire sign and I can’t separate those two emotions!


Make your mouth a focal point. Bras can be shirts if you want ’em to be. If you’re having trouble picking your best shot, call upon a thirsty pal to help you out. When you’re ready to fully commit, think about the person you hate most for smoldering sex eyes.

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Bed Traps

Might as well get straight to the point and take a thirst trap in bed! This is also a super useful move when it comes to the practice of taking thirst traps on sad days (more on that later). I love to take selfies in bed because it means I get to be in bed.

I took this one on a very hot day (hence another bra-as-shirt look) last summer. I tend to put my arm over my head in weird angular positions in selfies a lot because it looks better than just sort of awkwardly hanging at your side and distracts a bit from the fact that the other arm is being used to take the photo. Don’t be afraid to include your pet in your thirst traps. It’s honestly a way to boost the likes/engagement. But don’t just take my word for it…

Pets! Double thirst trap! They want to make out with you AND pet your cats! Include your pets; it makes them feel special and included! Family moves!

There are two basic bed selfie angles — laying on your back with the phone up at an angle over your head, or flipped over propped up on your elbows. As you can see in this set of mine, you get a different set of angles here, allowing you to stick your chin out a little easier and giving you a strong cleavage view if that’s what you’re going for.

Okay these photos I took are even more explicitly thirst trappy. All you need to achieve this glowy nighttime look is a cheap reading light (and HUJI, duh)! Mine was this one from IKEA, and it’s clipped to the headboard of my bed. I played around a bit with its position and then HUJI does the rest of the work. No fancy ring light necessary!

A relative of the bed thirst trap: the floor thirst trap. The angles on this can be tough — note how thirst trap master Reneice is here taking the photo from an upward side angle to her head and turning her chin a bit to meet the camera, giving her a great face angle and ALSO a great cleave angle!

More boobs, more natural light for glowy skin, this is def more of a smirk than a smile but I’m smizing so it counts haha. I wanted this pic to say “don’t you wanna come lounge on this rug with me?” I put an IG filter on this.


Get a reading light or a lamp for nighttime shots (although early morning light can also make for a strong sultry sleepy selfie!). Experiment with laying on your back vs. your stomach, depending on what you want to highlight. Also, try not to drop your phone on your face… it hurts.

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(Body) Shots Shots Shots

Sometimes you don’t want or need to put your face in your thirst trap, and that’s perfectly fine. When it comes to a cropped body shot, it’s all about the angles and framing, which the following folks are very good at (Vanessa’s photo from the Clothing Optional section does this well, too).

More from Alyssa!

In terms of body shots, I go for a little skin and a playful posish. I alllllways make sure my mouth is in the frame (duh), and that any mess in my surrounding areas is NOT. Be intentional. If you’re posting that hot selfie on your insta in hopes your babe, or the babe you’re wanting, will take notice and know it’s for them, find ways to let them know! Make those hashtags and comment boxes work! for! you!

Both Alyssa and Mika prove just how great of a thirst trap approach this is for folks with tattoos.

I want to say this was an unintentional thirst trap? I originally posted it because I got some new pieces and I finally felt like my top surgery results were showing in their final form? However a more than usual amount of likes let me know it was, indeed, a thirst trap. Goal was to show off the new tattoos; lots of natural light was a plus to get the skin tone right. I know I succeeded with this one because it doesn’t look very forced, even though lmao it was, let’s be real. I edited this picture with VSCO, A6 filter never fails! I usually also tweak the highlights and shadows to create the right contrast.

I’m also a fan of the cropped body shot because sometimes I just really don’t want to deal with figuring out what kind of face to make or with those aforementioned dark circles, so here I am showing you that you don’t even need to show that much skin in this kind of thirst trap if you don’t want to!

Parted lips go a long way! Also, I would like to take this moment to say: You should listen to music while taking thirst traps. Sometimes I find it awkward to try being sexy when I’m just alone in the quiet. Listen to something that will make you feel hot!

Selfie-sticks! They’re very useful for taking otherwise hard-to-capture angles (and I should probably invest in one considering how many times I’ve dropped my phone on my face while taking bed pics).

Did you know you can take thirst traps while sad? It’s true!!!! I do it ALL THE TIME! These two photos were taken on extremely bad days of mine, but it’s sometimes good to remember that even when you’re incredibly sad you can also be hot? Anyway, here’s @leatherpumpkin looking sad-hot in the club.

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got that summertime, summertime sadness

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It was memorial day weekend, and I was feeling very sad in the club. I asked my friend to take a photo of me because I liked my outfit and thought ok??? Some outside affirmation won’t resolve my sadness, but y’know, you do what you can. My friend was very confused as to how I expected him to get a photo of me in a crowded, dark club, but he made it work! There was a point of my life where I would has channeled that sad energy into finding someone in the club to fill that need for affirmation, but I’m boring now so I got this photo and then we left and got tacos.

This arms up pose is another great go-to. Another key to her shot is the weird lit-up mirror thing in the background that makes the surroundings a little less dim and the framing interesting. Look for fun/weird lighting things in bars! Especially neon stuff! No one says you can’t thirst trap in public!

In fact, Reneice shows how you can thirst trap while just on the goddamn sidewalk.

I also really enjoy fully clothed thirst traps that are just like “look how I slay in this outfit though.” Confidence is 90% of what makes or breaks a good thirst trap for me so I do my best to exude as much as possible, and the result is sexy! I was really feeling my legs this day and felt they deserved their own shot from the back. These were also shot in natural light and are unedited. I do everything possible to avoid editing but when I need to I either just do it in IG or use VSCO for things like brightening and sharpening.


The world is your thirst trap oyster. (Wow, how have I never posted a thirst trap of me eating oysters?!) Get you a friend who knows your angles/won’t be annoyed how long this is taking. If you don’t wanna bother with your face, that’s fine: show them everything else! Love yourself, thirst kittens.

In conclusion:

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I have no idea how this got here bye!!!!!!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 871 articles for us.


  1. This is everything I’ve always wanted/needed but also I’m probably still never going to share a selfie ?

  2. 1) I feel humbled and honored to have gotten an advanced screening of Vanessa’s sneaky nude in our A-Camp cabin’s nude selfie group (A-Camp is great, y’all).

    2) I’ve never been a selfie taker before, but something about 2018 THE SUMMER OF SADNESS has brought me to a thirst trap place and I’m enjoying the ride. Nothing like maybe-slutty photos in a bloody bear onesie when you’re dealing with too many breakups and trauma and body feels and illness and yeah, just get naked and let people be nice to you about it.

  3. This just kept going, in the best way. Like, I’d have a question and then scroll down and it would be answered. You truly gave us the complete guide.

  4. My only tip would be, make sure the inside of your nose is clean. One of the tips I’ve seen for years from portrait photographers on youtube has always been to avoid shooting up the nostril(like by keeping one’s chin down if the shot is from a lower angle). It’s not the most flattering if there is something unwanted and one misses it. Also, have the focus be the eye if it’s a close up of the face(people usually want to focus on the eye).

  5. now i only need a Detailed Multimedia Guide to Being Hot Everywhere Else and maybe I’ll have a chance of success

  6. 2 things that have blown my mind, besides all the hotness in this post, generally speaking:

    1. take 100 photos! for the past [lifetime] i have thought to myself; ‘wow, everybody else has nothing but good angles! i wish i had more good angles’; b/c when i’ve tried to take selfies i have taken like… 3 and been like “eh, maybe next time it’ll be cuter”

    2. huji has a paid option that enables you to huji photos taken in other apps

    kayla thank u for changing my life today (and everyday)

    • I know on some digital cameras(mainly from Panasonic and I think Sony now), one could do a 4k photo mode(which is about 8mp or close to the same res as many front facing camera) from video. What that means is you can take say 5 seconds(or however long you want it to be) of 4k video and get many 100’s of shots in a few seconds as most phones shoot 4k at 30fps(so in 5 seconds that could be 150 shots to choose from, some better than others of course). I googled to see how this can be done on mobile, but most suggested importing the video into a movie editing app like imovie or windows movie maker and save it from there.

      • wait just occurred to me one could just take a screenshot of the part of the video; way faster and easier.

    • LISTEN i just learned recently that people don’t know about the paid huji option!!! it is extremely important! also <3

  7. This is wonderful!! Brb, taking 100000 selfies to pick the hottest one to post on the gram and make that girl I had crush on in college jealous.

  8. 1. please can we call ourselves The Thirsty League let’s get pins
    2. kayla you’re perfect
    3. i’m shocked that so many people are shocked about taking 100 selfies! 100 IS THE BARE MINIMUM Y’ALL.

  9. Uh I have piece of advice (IDK wot to call it) but it’s like pro-level lighting skillz, a challenge to do.

    Take pic of your shiny wet legs partially arisen from the bathtub a lit only by candle-light.

    Why legs? Everyone has legs, lowers the performance anxiety if one has any.

    The rest is wet skin lit by candlelight adds real sexy glow and chiaroscuro gives a bit of mystique.

    If you’re brave an’ bendy get some shiny wet shots of decolletage. And no that ain’t just that vee when the tiddies are squished together. It’s neck, shoulders, upper back and chest, all of that.

  10. OH HEY VANESSA i never hear people with big boobs say “I love my boobs” so thank you very much for that!

  11. Sadly I’m lacking the crucial confidence piece—there’s a reason I don’t have an Instagram!—but I’m glad to see people out there living their best lives.

  12. I loved this so much! All these photos are so so sooo hot. And dam y’all are super brave to put your smoking hot confidence on the internet too! I was inspired so I took some selfies and wanted to upload one to this thread and was like “okay so I guess I’ll create an imgur account” not really knowing what imgur was and within seconds people were rating my photo??? On some sort of point system?? I was slightly shaken but mostly just lol’d because I don’t exist to be judged by angry straight men. So I deleted my imgur account and changed my AS profile picture instead. Yay! Also, two quick questions: 1) are there queer/LGBTQIA+ friendly photo/video hosting sites in existence? 2) if I post a photo as “hidden” or “private” to imgur or some related site, will it still upload to AS?

  13. Thank you for this inspo to create a roll of selfies that will sustain my followers (me) for years to come.

    Gotta say however, though i LOVE the huji pics in this article, every photo i’ve taken of myself with it makes my skin look about a hundred years older than me :(

  14. You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

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