Now you know what a Selfie is, but have you even taken a good one?
Now, I’m pretty sure everyone has taken one, even if it never left your hard drive. Now that smart phones have that great flip button that allows you to see exactly what you’re going to look like in a self-taken photograph, it’s hard to resist the temptation. And the selfie itself (minus its comparatively young moniker) is actually almost as old as photography. Before the advent of that little flip button photographers took selfies by cleverly positioning their cameras in a discrete (or sometimes indiscrete) location and then photographing their reflection in a mirror. Today’s cameras make this process a lot easier, and the prevalence of social media makes it almost a requirement to have at least one selfie you can use to mark your online territory.
So now that you know what I mean you may be thinking about all your friend’s selfies on their Facebook pages and realizing what a challenging little sub-genre this actually is. Because you’ve probably seen more bad selfies than good ones. And some of your friends may over-selfie to the point where you’d kind of like to just block them.
Taking a good selfie is an art. What’s more, knowing how many selfies to post and which selfies to use on what social media platform is a much higher form of art. Because selfies can be annoying to others, they can paint you as an egomaniac and they can just plain put people off. In fact, a 2013 study by the University of Birmingham discovered that posting too many selfies on Facebook was strongly correlated with “lower levels of social support and intimacy”. And yet, among people aged 18 to 24, selfies account for a whopping 30% of all the photos they take.
So it follows that the selfie should be used with caution, and never overused. And perhaps more than any other photo you plan to share on Facebook or other social media, the selfie should be something your viewer will be happy to look at. Versus, “Oh god, not another selfie of that guy.”
Check Yourself out
Tips on taking good selfies must include giving yourself a once-over before you take the pic! Have you ever snapped a photo assuming your hair and makeup were on point only to find out that you have flyaways and smeared eyeliner? Of course you can always delete the pic and take another, but you might as well check yourself out first so you have lots of good selfies to pick from!
Know your good side, and your bad angles
We all have bad sides. The advantage to being your own photographer is that you can de-accentuate your less flattering qualities with a few tricks. To make your face look slimmer, shoot your selfie from slightly above. If you’re including your torso in the shot, turn one shoulder slightly towards the camera. Stick your neck out just a little, which will help eliminate that little bulge under your chin.
When you’re taking a selfie, or any photo for that matter, you have to have good lighting! You can’t show off your makeup, hair or new outfit in bad lighting because it’s distracting and unflattering! Sure, you can strategically hide a blemish with a shadow, but don’t choose lighting that’s too harsh or too dark. Even if you plan it that way, your vision might not translate well to the photo!
Another important element in taking pictures is to pick a good, clear background. We’ve all seen those photo fails where someone has taken a selfie in a dirty bedroom with piles of clothes or in the bathroom while someone’s taking care of business. Always check your surroundings so you have a clear background that lends itself well to an impromptu photo sesh. Look for solid colored walls, textured curtains or any place without clutter.
An obvious but challenging tip to execute is to be still when you take your photos. This is especially important when you’re taking a selfie since you can’t rely on someone else with two steady hands to snap the photo. You’re usually trying to pose, make sure you’re in good lighting and trying to steady a wobbly arm all at the same time. It takes practice, but it is possible to take clear, non-wobbly pics! Take a deep breath, try to relax and hold your pose!
The More the Merrier
When it comes to taking pictures, the more you take, the more pictures you have to choose from. Don’t expect to get your best shot the first time. Even the most effortless-looking photos took time and preparation! Don’t be afraid to take tons of photos so you have the best pictures to choose from when you’re picking your next profile or Instagram pic!
No need to be shy when you’re taking a selfie, go all out! Nobody is watching you trying to take silly or sexy photos, so work it! Remember all those episodes of America’s Next Top Model you watched? Put Tyra’s tips to good use and strike a pose! Be confident and have fun, it’ll show in the photo and you’ll have tons of fun taking the pictures when you’re being yourself and letting loose.
When taking pictures, there’s nothing wrong with editing them! Use a filter for a cool vintage feel, crop out some of the photo that you don’t like or create a fun collage! Using a filter doesn’t always mean you’re trying to hide something or you’re not being you - it can add a special something to an otherwise plain photo! But of course you can use a filter to give yourself a glow or blur out blemishes!
Consider the Angle
A lot of people do not consider the angle of the picture when they are taking their own selfies; don't be that person! Some people look great when they hold the phone up and angle their face upward -- think about it! Switch it up and find your best side and your best angle. Don't be scared to try something different!
The silly selfies that you take are often the best and truthfully, they can be super fun to take! Pull a fish or duck face, really pull out the cute faces and even try some amazing props, all based around silliness!
Whenever you take a selfie, you don't want to have a mirror in the picture or take a selfie when you are staring into a mirror. You can often see the phone you are using and overall, they typically don't look that great!
Look at the Picture before Taking It
Finally, look at the picture that you are taking before you snap it! A lot of camera phones now have the ability to switch the phone around so you can see the photo you are taking before you snap it -- do you like it? Then snap it!