This article is for adult readers only so please skip this one if you’re a minor.
I say this all the time but I’ll say it again for good measure — I am in no way an expert on photography. In fact, I’ve never taken any classes or read any technical books on the subject. I am, however, a HUGE fan of good cinematography and I spend a great deal of time not only watching TV but paying close attention to things like camera angles, scene set ups, even the choice in music for scene transitions. I’ve also spent the last few years writing and posting sim stories which rely heavily on visual storytelling. With that being said, I try to take what I’ve learned from all this media I’ve consumed and use some of the same techniques in the visual part of my own stories (which I hope is more apparent in my newer stories, lol). I’m hoping that by sharing the things I keep in mind while “filming”, in this tutorial, I can help someone else who isn’t quite sure where to get started with love scenes — and by love scenes — I mean sex scenes! My favorite kind of scenes to shoot!
Why are they my favorite, you may ask? Because love scenes are usually about more than just the act of sex itself and serve some type of narrative purpose (ie: emotional vulnerability of one/both of the characters, the shift in their relationship triggered by this act, etc…) that you may not have gotten to portray had we skipped over it. Being able to show these intimate parts of our characters, gives us as writers/directors so much to work with that can really push our stories to the next level!
Now, I’m not saying that all love scenes have to serve as some huge life altering event in a story, I mean… sometimes people have sex just because… it’s fun, lol, but even if they aren’t of the world-shattering-variety, I think the things we go over here will still be useful.
Things used in this tutorial:
Summer Pop Reshade Preset by me
Wicked Whims by Turbodriver (18+)
Wicked Whims Animations by KikiChain (18+)
Kiss Me II Pose by Sciophobis
Why Angles + Positioning Matter
Okay, for scenes like this, angles are your best friend. Unless your intention is to shoot a full on technical manual/porn style shot — which is cool, if that’s your intention — but if it’s not and you’re going for something more romantic or emotional, you’ll want to focus on the little actions like touching, caressing, kissing, etc… and less on the technical part of the event.
Take our couple here, Nylah and Calvin. Calvin’s been a wreck since their breakup a few weeks ago and finally got Nylah to agree to hear him out. They talk, he apologizes and she accepts his apology. Both characters are highly emotional but even more than that — desperate to restore the connection that they thought they had lost forever.
If you’re a minor and you’re still here, please make your way out the nearest exit.
In this shot, they share a kiss before undressing and making their way to the closest surface they could find — the sofa. Sex is right around the corner and we’re about to literally, for lack of better words, take the audience into their bedroom.
Now, we could show this event in a series of eye level shots like the ones below:
But ask yourself, what did we really get out of these shots? Sure they had sex but what else? Did they enjoy being with each other again? Was that connection restored? Was this moment of intimacy what they needed to put them back on track? There’s no way we could know 100% but our photos should at least lead us towards the correct answer which these shots do not.
Aside from all of this emotion stuff, love scenes should also tell a story. In the shots above we saw how things went down in sequential order so it did tell a story in that sense but its missing all of the other stuff that makes a story complete. Think sweet tea with no sugar, macaroni with no cheese, lemon pepper wings with no ranch 🤢
Don’t Forget Emotion!
When shooting your love scenes, opt for close up shots from various angles that portray the intensity of what’s happening. Right now, we’re in the middle of a very intimate moment — the closest we’ll ever get to these two characters who are the closest they’ll ever get to each other — This is why close up shots work amazing for this. It allows us to feel what they’re feeling.
Remember how we talked about focusing on the little actions? Those would be things like: pleasure filled faces, arms wrapped up in each other, hands clutching whatever they can find, eyes locking, hair pulling, legs dangling, backs arching — you get the idea.
So with these things in mind, let’s recreate this scene:
Better, right? We get an actual idea of what the characters are feeling. Not only sexually charged emotions but actual feelings too. Every kiss, every touch, every change of position is a testament to how much they longed for each other and how great it feels to be in each other’s arms again.
And we did all this without compromising the whole sequential order thing!
Oh! And, I know what I said, but close up shots aren’t the only way to go. Some of my favorites are those that involve a perfectly, conveniently placed plant, lol and do a great job at closing out the scene:
If you would like to learn more about writing and filming sex scenes, check out this site. They provide some really useful information along with examples!
And that concludes our tutorial for the day. I hope this helps you make your next love scene an awesome one!