I think we can all agree that taking selfies is a lot of fun. Taking and posting a nice selfie can really boost your confidence – what’s wrong with that? So learning how to take a good selfie is essential!
But at the same time, selfies can be pretty frustrating. Who doesn’t know the struggle of really liking the way you look (your makeup is flawless, curls perfectly coiled, your outfit is bomb) so you trip over yourself in your rush to grab your phone. ‘These selfies are going to look amazing,’ you think.
But after a couple (dozen) failed attempts you’re left feeling disappointed and confused. You know you look good, so why are your selfies not cooperating? Well, there are actually a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to master the art of the selfie.
Scroll down to see tips and tricks on how to make your selfies turn out great every time.
1. Find good lighting
The most important thing you need to pay attention to if you want to take a good selfie is lighting. Just like with most things, the more natural, the better. Taking a selfie in natural lighting will always look better than if you take one in a badly-lit room or, for example, in the harsh, unflattering light of your computer screen.
So, to look your very best, go stand in front of a window or, if you’re not too lazy, even go outside when snapping that shot of yourself.
But be careful, just like there is insufficient lighting, there is also such a thing as too much lighting. If it’s too bright, it will emphasize everything you may be trying to hide: every pimple, discoloration, pore, and fine-line. Which means avoid using your flash. You’ll look like a ghost. Trust me, I know.
So, how to know how much lighting is just enough? Well, my advice is trial and error. Just open your front camera and move around until you find just the right spot where you look your best.
2. Know your angles
If you’re a regular selfie-taker you probably already have an angle you favor. But if you don’t really know your angle, experiment. Take a bunch of selfies and go through them all -see which side of your face looks more flattering. People usually tend to avoid facing the camera head-on in favor of slightly tilting their head to the side because these angles are usually more complimentary. This has even been proven in a research by Dr. Anukka Lindell for Australia’s Frontiers in Psychology.
You also need to know how to angle your camera. You don’t want to hold it too high and risk looking like an alien, but you also don’t need to give everyone a view of the inside of your nose by holding it below your chin. Holding your camera only slightly above eye-level and tilting it down a little is the way to go.
3. Be mindful of your face expression
Whether you want to smile, pout or keep a serious expression the thing you need to remember is to make it appear natural. So, if you’re smiling, smile for real. Don’t let it look forced. Think a happy thought, and even laugh a little. As Aubrey Hepburn said, “Happy girls are the prettiest.”
And even if you’re keeping it serious don’t make a harsh, stoic expression. Try keeping your mouth slightly open, and your head slightly tilted. Or try pouting, just a little. Or even better, as style editor, Candice Lake said for Allure, “pull a Tyra [Banks] and “try smiling with your eyes.”
4. Take a lot of selfies
In all the years since I’ve owned a smartphone and have been taking selfies, I could probably count in one hand the times it took me less than five tries to take a good selfie – let alone one. Sure, it’s happened. Occasionally. Once in a blue moon.
But even if you have your angles and face expression down to a pat, and your lighting is perfect, chances are you’re not going to get the perfect selfie in one try. So, take a bunch, look through them afterward and choose the one you like the most.
5. Edit it
No matter how good your selfie turned out, you can probably make it look even better by adjusting the brightness, contrast, highlights or shadows. I’m not saying go crazy with the filters and editors and try to completely change the way you look, but a good filter can really give your selfie that little something extra. You could emphasize the color of your eyes, make your hair appear just a little shinier, or your curls more defined.
If you’re posting your selfie on Instagram there are plenty of filters and editing options already there, but you can find tons of amazing photo-editing apps live VSCO or Snapseed for free.
What about group selfies?
You’ve probably been in a situation where you were required to take a selfie with a big group of people. There’s usually a lot of confusion and arguing about where to stand or where to face (“No that’s not my side, turn the camera the other way”).
More often than not there’s that one person whose eyes are closed or is in the middle of a sentence, or you feel like your face is going to permanently freeze in that same smiling expression until the person holding the camera finally snaps the picture.
While all of the previous tips, like good lighting, angles and facial expressions, apply to group selfies as well, there are a few extra things you need to consider when there are multiple people in the shot.
To make sure no one is mid-sentence or closed-eyed, it’s a good idea for the person holding the camera to countdown from three. That ensures everyone’s prepared and gives everyone the time to perfect their pose.
Take several shots in a row
The more people are in a picture, the less the chances everyone’s going to be pleased with it. So, while you’re taking the selfie, take several shots in a row, but try tilting the camera in different positions.
You might get away with holding the camera vertically if there are two, maybe three people (even that’s a stretch), but any more than that and there’s no way everyone’s going to fit in the frame. So hold the camera horizontally and stretch your arm as far away as you can.
However, in some cases, even that’s not enough so if possible, the best solution is…
Use a selfie stick
Using a selfie stick will not only make sure everyone will be included in the frame, but the picture will turn out much nicer. Not to mention, your arm won’t get as tired.
How about mirror selfies?
Mirror selfies are perfect if you want to show off your #ootd (outfit of the day), and just as with regular selfies, or group selfies you need to pay attention to the lighting and your angles but, again, there are a few extra things to keep in mind if you’re snapping a picture of yourself in the mirror.
Find your pose
You can plan your pose depending on how you want to look. For example, standing with your legs somewhat apart is great if you want to show off your whole look and it will give you a more flattering, smoother silhouette.
Pay attention to where you position your phone
There’s really no set rules here. You just need to try which position works best for you. You could try holding it to the side of your face, right in front of your chest, or even cover your whole face with your phone if you’re feeling your outfit, but you don’t like how you look at that moment.
Pay attention to your background
Neutral colors usually look best as your background, along with good lighting, If you’re taking a selfie in your bedroom mirror, you should also make sure your room isn’t too messy and that your mirror is clean.
But in the end, everyone’s different so don’t take these tips as a must. No one knows you better than you. Make a duck face if you want, take a picture from below, be silly. There really are no rules – just advice, if you want it.
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