Selfies have taken social media by storm, and as of 2013 “selfie” has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. Selfies are a great way to memorialize a moment — there’s no doubt you were there with a selfie! Selfies can liven up a series of ho hum vacation scenery shots, make a sporting event so much more fun, and capture that beautiful end of the day lighting. Update your Facebook or Tinder profile with an eye-catching selfie. There’s no end to the number of different kinds of shots you can get.
If you’ve taken way more bad selfies than good ones, you’re not alone. You may be wondering how people like Kim Kardashian, or even some of your besties on Facebook, always look amazing in selfies. There’s this non-posed, casual looking shot with perfect lighting that everyone else seems to pull off so seamlessly. How do they do it, and why do yours always look so blah?
Don’t worry! Even if you’ve “never taken a good picture in your life” you can almost instantly take better selfies just by learning some simple tricks of the trade. I’ve rounded up seven tips from real photographers that will help you snap better selfies. After you read them (and try them out!), I guarantee you’re gonna get some good shots!
1. Get the lighting right
Know how those selfies you snap in the car always tend to look amazing? That’s because the inside cab of a car usually has great lighting. Shaded from harsh sunlight, but with plenty of daylight to illuminate your shot, you can get that gorgeous look every time by setting your selfies up in an area bathed with natural, diffused light.
Inside, you can face a large window or head outdoors and stand in a shaded area. Doing so will give you a natural glow, and make for beautiful photos every time.
2. Use the front lens
Though the main camera on the back of most phones takes bigger, sharper photos, the camera on the front of your phone makes it easy to see if you’re happy with your shot before snapping. Because the front camera typically has a lower resolution than the back camera, make sure you’ve got great lighting and stand extra still while taking the photo for best results.
3. Pose like a pro
Ever wonder why some people look so great in every photo? The secret isn’t in their genes — it’s in their posture. Just about everyone can look more flattering with three simple tricks. Use these when you pose, and you’ll be 10% happier with how you look in your photo.
- Angle your body slightly. Turn your torso slightly to the right or left. A slight angle makes for a more interesting photo. Added bonus? It makes you look slimmer, too!
- Shoulders down. This quick trick can take 10 years and 10 pounds off of any photo, no filter needed! Simply drop your shoulders down and back. Doing so thins your chinline and adds elongating dimension to the photo.
- Lift your neck. Though it sometimes feels unnatural, lifting your neck and thrusting it forward ever so slightly does wonders for the final photo. You’ll keep your chin free of any unwanted bulges, and the slightly extended angle lets your beautiful face stand out and be the star of the show.
4. Crop in close
Some of the best selfies show only you! Rather than stretching your arm awkwardly to show off any background, relax and keep your phone close. A tight crop makes for a stunning selfie.
5. Shoot from above
Just before pressing that little red button, lift your camera ever so slightly above eye level. This quick trick gives a playful, interesting angle to your shot, allowing the light to play off of your cheekbones and making your eyes look just a little bit larger. A great way to add a little more “sparkle” to your shot!
6. Look “inside” the camera
One of the best ways to take a gorgeous selfie is to “engage” the camera, as if it were a dear friend. Don’t just look at the lens, look “into” it as you snap. In doing so, your eyelids will open just a millimeter more, and you’ll get a bright and engaged look. If you feel like you often look tired or uninterested, this trick will totally change the way you look in photos.
7. Express yourself
Lift, smile, shoot from above. And, just before you snap, don’t be afraid to throw out all the tricks and just be you. Laugh, smile, frown, stick out that tongue. Whatever you’re feeling, let it be freely expressed. You may not look like a supermodel, but you’ll look like your authentic self. And that, is exactly what a good selfie is all about.
Bonus Selfie Tips
I asked three favorite photographers to round up their top tips for selfie taking. Here’s what they said:
“Face the light. (The car is actually a fantastic place for selfies….for reasons I won’t delve into kind of creates that “open shade” affect. Shoot from above, Never straight on. Take a bunch of pics. The first one rarely turns out perfect.”
—Kati Price, Priceless Impressions Photography
“There are several apps/cameras with selfie modes now that create fill light that flatters your skin (hint hint). If you’re ‘selfie-ing’ to prove you’re somewhere, don’t forget to compose it so you include your background. And I definitely agree that it’s important to take several and pick the best!”
—Schmoo Theune, Schmootography
“Here’s my best set of tips:
- Take a LOT! You’re bound to get one good one if you take 30
- Stand in front of a window when taking your selfie
- Use a timer (I recommend Camera Plus app) or a selfie stick
- Edit the pics using PicTapGo app”
—Kelli France, KelliFrance.com
Looks like all of these photographers agree! Taking the perfect selfie isn’t hard, especially when you have so many great pro tips. Now it’s your turn! Grab that camera and snap a selfie. We’d love to see how it turned out. Tag us on Facebook and say hi. Don’t forget the hashtag #thegoodstuff!