I take a lot of selfies. I admit it. Not as much as Kim Kardashian (love her!) or even some of the girls my age, but still a decent amount. I don’t take them because I’m “obsessed with myself.” I take selfies because I like my makeup. Or my outfit. Or on days when I curl my hair nicely. Or, sometimes, just because. Regardless, it doesn’t matter why I take selfies. That’s not what this post is about.
This post is about some of my tips that I have for taking a good selfie (in my opinion).
Tip #1: Lighting
I don’t care what kind of picture you’re taking—a selfie, a snapchat of your morning coffee, whatever—lighting will always make or break the picture. Personally, I love natural lighting and what I call “Sephora lighting” (seriously, I’m convinced the lights in Sephora are magical) best. I have hereditary dark under eye circles that are super visible even with makeup on, so making sure that I have bright light on my face really helps reduce the appearance of them and makes me look wide awake. If you look at my selfies on Instagram, nearly every single one is directly in front of natural light (windows, outside in the shade, etc.). For the ones that are at night, the flash is always on. The other pictures are probably from photoshoots where I either have a flash on me or some other type of studio lighting. Obviously I don’t have studio lighting every time I take a selfie, so I make do with what I have (windows).
One of the best gifts that I got for Christmas is from my sister: aLumee case. What’s a Lumee case? Well, it’s only the best phone case ever for taking selfies. It has little LED lights basically surrounding your phone—which you can brighten or dim—so that you always have the perfect lighting. I’ve been using it nonstop (I like to think I’ve stepped up my Snapchat game).
Tip #2: Zoom Out
As much as you may love your selfies with one eye, your nose, and half your mouth in them, no one can really tell what you look like with only a half your face in the frame. Hold your arm out straight to fit your whole face in the frame. It’s a much more flattering angle and shows people what you actually look like. Plus, if you spent time doing your hair, you can finally see it in your picture now!
Personally, I use a selfie stick most times because I’m short and have short arms. With the selfie stick, I’m able to fit more of myself in the frame and get a better angle. My sister got my a remote for the selfie stick last year, which I love, but if I don’t have it handy, I honestly just put my phone on a 3 second timer and it takes a burst of 5 photos anyway (more to choose from!). I don’t use my selfie stick in public usually though, unless I’m with my friends. I feel weird using it alone in public, but hey, maybe one day I will.
Tip #3: No Lip Gloss
When I was little, a photographer at a photoshoot told my mom to not put gloss on my lips for the photos. Why? Because lip gloss photographs weird. Throughout my life, I found this to be completely true. Every photo that I have lip gloss on in, I totally hate. It catches the light weird and makes my lips look uneven (which can happen easily if you have full lips like myself). This is quick tip, but a good one!
Tip #4: Use Apps
There’s no law saying that you can’t use apps to edit your selfies. Heck, I always crank up the brightness on my photos, play with the contrast, use a slight blurring filter, sharpen up details, and then slap a VSCO filter on my pictures. Do I recommend editing your picture to the point where it doesn’t even look like you? Of course not. Keep it semi-realistic looking. Do I edit every single one of my selfies? Obviously not because I take like 20 selfies a day on Snapchat. Do I edit my Instagram ones? Yes, 99% of the time I do.
Tip #5: Practice Facials
Between modeling, dance, and doing a pageant, I pretty much know what facial expressions look good on me and which ones don’t. Sure, you could practice your facials in the mirror, but honestly, I would recommend just using the forward facing camera on your phone. You are at a different angle in the mirror and the camera will change how you look slightly anyway. If you’re trying to pick out a good “selfie face” why not practice on your phone (where you’d take the selfie at)?
If you’re completely drawing a blank on facials, pull up some of your favorite Instagram accounts and try replicating the faces you see other people making. Yours is going to look different anyway because your face looks different, so don’t worry about copying them. For example, I already know the Kim K pout does not look good on me. But a genuine smile and a slight head tilt? Now we’re talking.
Overall, I think some (if not all) of these tips will help you increase your selfie confidence and help you take some better ones. If selfies aren’t your thing, but you’d like a few more times on taking pictures on your iPhone, check out my article about iPhoneography for Instagram.
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