Want to know how to take the perfect selfie? Good selfie lighting is important, but it’s only the beginning. Let’s take a look at what makes a great selfie, as well as accessories that can take that selfie to a whole new level.
Selfie Culture: Have A Great Photo Shoot With Yourself
There’s no turning back – humans are a society of selfie addicts. And though this may sound a little narcissistic, selfies have advanced our ability to put ourselves back in the picture.
You see, documenting an adventure is great when you’re with people. But when flying solo, you used to wind up with a whole lot of landscape photos and nothing proving you were really there.
The selfie has changed this dramatically. So, how can you learn to take a good one?
Sure, taking a selfie isn’t rocket science, but there are a lot of bad selfies out there – “bad” in terms of lighting, composition, backdrop, and unflattering angles.
Need help? Here’s how to take the perfect selfie shot.
It’s Not Just About You: Selfies Are For Sharing With Family And Friends
To begin with, it’s not just about you. You’re clearly snapping this selfie so that you can share this moment with your friends and family. So, let’s give them something to see.
1. Backdrop And Framing
Where are you? What are you experiencing? Let’s see some of that background – even if it’s just a pretty colored wall, a garden, or your kitchen.
The “rule of thirds,” a popular photography rule, can help with this. Think of each photograph as being broken down into thirds (two lines vertically and two horizontally). The photo looks like a grid.1
In terms of selfies:
- Try to place yourself about one-third of the way into the frame.
- Make sure your eyes are one-third of the way from the top of the frame.
- Don’t place yourself in the center of the photo. This leaves room for your backdrop.
To show off that stunning beach or concert try the rule of thirds.
2. Flattering Poses
There are definitely a few key ways to flatter both your face and body in a selfie shot. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Stand at about a 45-degree angle to the camera lens. Standing straight on will make you look larger. This is also true if you’re just photographing your face.
- Angle your shoulders so that the shoulder closet to camera is lower, and lean in slightly.
- Extend your head away from your neck. This creates the illusion of a longer neck and sharper jawline.
- Keep your chin down and the selfie camera up (hold the phone a little above you).
3. Finding Your Light
Great lighting may just be the most flattering aspect of a selfie.
If you have a flexible background (i.e. you’re not standing in front of the Taj Mahal), keep moving until you find the most flattering natural lighting.
If you’re indoors, this good lighting is always facing the window. And you can always angle blinds to filter the harshness of that natural light as well.
4. Using Flash During The Day
A flash can actually be a huge asset when it comes to good selfie lighting. Sometimes it’s just not possible to “find your light.” Direct sunlight can leave you overexposed. But posing “backlit” will create dark shadows across your face – even if the backdrop looks perfect.
There’s a solution to this. Using artificial light during the day to “fill-in” the natural light is a great way to get your face well-lit without losing that beautiful background. It also makes your eyes sparkle as they catch the flash light.
Flattering Facial Expressions For Your Selfie Shot
With the advent of the selfie came a generation of people who weren’t really sure what to do with their faces when holding the camera so close. The “duck face” pout was born. Here’s the thing: the duck face flatters no one – not even Kim Kardashian.
So, how do you capture a mix of flattering joy and relaxation in a selfie shot? Here are some tips.
- Think of something that truly makes you smile or laugh. This will always create the look of genuine happiness – because it is genuine happiness. The camera never lies; it can tell when you’re faking it.
- Relax your mouth, then exhale slowly by blowing air through your lips. This keeps your mouth relaxed and natural and can even make your lips look plumper in the moment.
- Don’t forget to angle your face a bit so that you’re not facing the camera head-on.
- Don’t overthink it. Just be natural to who you are. The worst thing that can happen in a selfie is that you look like you’re trying too hard. The best selfies are natural-looking (even when they’re not).
Taking The Perfect Selfie Image With Help: Selfie Sticks, Selfie Apps, And More
The first rule of selfies is: Snap a lot of takes.
Even the biggest social media influencers admit to this. The perfect photo only exists because someone took a lot of snaps to get that single best shot. So, snap away and give yourself plenty of options to work with later.
But there are a few other things that can help that final shot really leave its mark.
Some people don’t like using selfie sticks, as it draws even more attention to the fact they’re taking a selfie. But here’s the thing: a selfie stick allows you to get some distance between your face and the camera.
This is a good thing. It means capturing more of your epic background, creating a better angle for your face and body, and fitting more people in if you’re taking a “group selfie.”
It’s also a great way to hold the camera steady. You won’t have to awkwardly try to hit the shutter button while precariously balancing your expensive smartphone in hand.
There are certain places that don’t allow you to use selfie sticks, so read the rules before bringing them with you.
Using A Mirror
Using a full-length mirror for a selfie has become synonymous with fashion bloggers and those who want to show off their “outfit of the day.” A cool backdrop still helps, but a killer outfit can more than make up for it.
Just make sure your mirror is clean and that you let as much natural light as possible into the room. The most effective mirror selfies are done with the smartphone in line with the shoulders – so the face isn’t covered. Look into the camera lens that you see in the mirror for an optimal eyeline.
Selfie Apps And Filters
Now, the perfect image is almost never posted to an Instagram feed without some kind of filtering. Because there are so many great apps that boost the color, white balance, and light in your photos, they’ll look like they’re taken by a professional photographer.
Some of these settings are found within your cameras own photo app, but the best ones are generally stand-alone photo editing apps. A nice filter can really make your backdrop pop and your skin glow. But keep the filter settings moderate, so that the image doesn’t look fake.
You can even remove unwanted blemishes and wrinkles, fix your skin tone, change your hair color, and whiten your teeth using photo editing apps.
However, if the key to the perfect selfie is making it look effortless, authentic, and natural – then overdoing any of these things can make your shot appear airbrushed and inauthentic.
So, go easy on the facial tuning.
Up Your Selfie Game Today
Once upon a time, a selfie meant picking up your friends’ camera while they were distracted and snapping a picture of your face – so they’d get a fun surprise when they got the film developed. But things have come a long way.
Today, anyone can snap a photo on their smartphone camera, view what it actually looks like immediately, and then play with settings and post a professional-looking shot. Photoshoots with your friends and family have never been easier.
On some of the latest phones, you can now even take a selfie in portrait mode for that extra professional DSLR background blur. But ultimately, as all the pros will tell you – practice really does make perfect.
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