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How to make a sex tape that’s actually sexy

Adult film star Pandora Blake brings us their essential tips for filming your own porn at home

Be the porn you wish to see in the world. If genderqueer adult filmmaker Pandora Blake had a motto, that would probably be it. “I started working as a performer because I'm kinky and I really like being spanked,” they explain frankly, over the phone.

With a particular kink and a mission to diversify porn, Blake started starring in their own videos in 2006, and has since established their own production company and website Dreams of Spanking. “People with vaginas might not often see our pleasure and desires represented very much in porn that's easy to find,” they explain. “Maybe you aren't a skinny size eight with an athlete's figure. Maybe you've got stretch marks, maybe you've got a little pot-belly, maybe you've had kids, maybe your body is something that gives you loads of pleasure but it doesn't look like the bodies you see in porn. If you make porn, then you get to feel sexy and enjoy yourself.”

Blake also hosts DIY porn classes – some more experiential and interactive than others.  The workshops include some videos from their friends, some from their personal collection, and cover all the salacious details like position preferences as well as general admin, like which tech to use. If you’re thinking of setting up a camera in the bedroom, here are Blake’s top tips for getting started.


Pandora Blake: One of my friends gives a tip which is: don't distribute anything online, which you would be ashamed to have on a billboard opposite your mum or dad's house. People would be very well advised to think extremely carefully before they do publish anything, (about) how they want to publish it and how they can keep control of their image.


Pandora Blake: If you're going to be working with anyone, either in front of, or behind the camera, talk to them about what you're going to be doing. Negotiate what sort of activities you're willing, and not willing, to do. If you're working with a friend behind the camera, talk to them about what kind of angles you want. You have control over your image, you can totally direct from in front of the camera, so if you think there's a particular pose in which you don't look very flattering you can say “Don't shoot me that way.”


Pandora Blake: Don't try to pose for the camera. If you try and concentrate on how you look then you're going to look like you feel uncomfortable. In my experience, the stuff that's more high production value is often more explicit than the amateur stuff, because of the camera angles. When people talk about porn being fake, they normally mean having sex in different positions to show the camera more clearly what's happening – even though you'd never really have sex in that position at home. Most amateur stuff actually you can find you don't get to see anyone's bits at all because when two people normally have sex they aren't showing off for the camera, they're just focused on each other.

The most appealing camera performances aren't those with someone trying to look perfect or posing or pouting, but a recording of someone surrendering wholeheartedly to a sexual experience. Focus on your partner, let it be all about your lovely energy together and how into each other you are. That’s better than holding yourself in an unnatural pose that you think looks good.


Pandora Blake: In terms of lighting, natural light is really lovely. If you're shooting at home, then having just the overhead ceiling light on is really unflattering. It's a harsh light, it creates some shadows in places – if you've got any bags under your eyes or lumps and bumps that you're not comfortable with then it's probably going to emphasise them. So my advice would be to shoot at the beginning of the day, either mid-morning or late afternoon when you've got some nice warm sideways light coming in in lovely colours. That will create some beautiful colour tones on your skin, and make you look really yummy. You don't need to invest in any expensive lighting equipment. If you're taking still photos, don't use flash, because they make everyone look weird and two-dimensional. Turn it off, take your time to compose each shot, and use natural light as much as possible.


Pandora Blake: You don't need an expensive camera, a smartphone camera is absolutely good enough to shoot good porn. In fact, I've seen some beautiful films at film festivals, which were shot on iPhones and Android phones. I would put the camera on a little tripod if you don't have a camera person or helpful best friend to coming along to help.


Pandora Blake: Make sure sure that everyone knows they can say stop at any moment if they want to sort something out or negotiate or change their mind. You and your partner should just take some deep breaths together, look into each other's eyes, start to touch and explore and let yourselves take it from there really organically. Don't give yourself a to-do list of things to do during the sex, just see how your mood unfolds. Having the camera there might make you feel more nervous, it might make you feel more excited, it might make you want to show off a little bit more, it might make you more demonstrative and more expressive. But making more noise or wriggling around a bit more can actually result in better sex, because it gives your partner really great feedback, so they'll do more of the stuff you like. No matter how it comes out, you can always look back at it, edit, laugh, later and cut out anything that you want to remove.

Pandora Blake will be hosting a DIY Porn Workshop at The Book Club, London tonight. Find out more here.