How to take Russian-style photos

You don’t have to don a kokoshnik or French-kiss a bear. All you need is a sunset, a carpet, and a heightened sense of humor.

Not sure what photos to take on vacation? See our guide to Russian-style shooting (with a camera, that is).

1. Holding the sun

Had a beach holiday and no photos of the Sun? It doesn’t even count as a vacation! The best time to start snapping is at sunset, when the Sun is sinking below the horizon, and you are hopefully still vertical.

It doesn’t have to be the Sun, of course. Such pics can be taken with any object as long as it fits in the palm of the hand. It could be a person, a cat, or even a statue of Comrade Lenin.

2. Carpet, carpet on the wall

Want a nice cozy-looking photo? Just add a carpet. Doesn’t matter where—on the floor (how strange), on the sofa, or on the wall (ah, that’s better). Carpets cheer up even the dullest surroundings. Like vodka, too much carpet is never enough.

3. Squatting

It should be clear from the photo that these are highbrow individuals. Yet in Russia it’s believed that only gopniks (suburban yobs) sit on their haunches, a habit that goes back to prison “culture” (because there was nowhere to sit in the cramped cells). Many people take such pics for a laugh.

4. Saving the tower

The famous Leaning Tower of Pisa would have collapsed long ago were it not for the efforts of millions of tourists who prop it up in their photos. Russians love taking such amusing shots—and not just with towers.

5. At the dacha

The dacha is a tiny corner of stability in a terrifying world. It would take more than a nuclear holocaust to stop Russians from planting their beloved vegetables every summer. Your camera (plus Photoshop) is the best way to let everyone know that your cucumbers are the greenest and your apple trees the most abundant. Not to mention the shish kebab!

6. Car snapping

You see a cool set of wheels and take a quick snap before the owner returns. The classic pose for a car backdrop picture is prison-style squatting, but a little imagination never hurt anyone (well, not very much).

7. Add an exotic background

Want a photo against a backdrop of the Egyptian pyramids, but you’re thousands of miles away? Simple: take a normal photo and change the background to one that will pass muster online. If your editing skills aren’t up to the job, you can find plenty of social network groups full of underemployed creative types.

Bonus photo: here’s how to do it right

If you are tired of these stereotypes as much as we do we invite you to enjoy the great works of professional Russian photographers:

Meet the photographer showing you what it’s like to be young in modern-day Russia

How Russian photographer brings dolls to life

How to shoot on a smartphone like a boss

Big cities at night through the lens of a Russian cosmonaut

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