Selfies are everywhere. Just browse your social media feed to see the evidence. There seems to be two camps in this regard; those who are obsessed with selfies, and those with an aversion to taking photos of themselves. Where do you fall? Learn how to take the perfect selfie with these 5 tips.
What Is The Definition Of A Selfie?
What is a selfie? A selfie is a self-portrait that is taken with a smartphone and shared on social media. The phone is either held by hand or a selfie stick is used.
Why Do People Take Selfies?
What’s the psychology behind taking self-portraits? Is there an underlying motivation? It stands to reason there must be due to the pervasiveness of selfie taking. Taking a selfie and sharing it with the online world, can be a tool for connection, conversation, and even confidence, as many people seek validation.
Social media is the perfect arena for sharing selfies, with each like, share, and affirming comment, self esteem increases, boosting confidence and feelings of self-worth, Beyond that, selfies are a great way to document your every-day life. Selfies are particularly great for travel as you can take pictures of yourself in each location you visit.
Do selfies help people figure out who they are? Are they a tool for self-discovery? Selfies certainly garner attention, and are a great way to get noticed. I think one reason selfies are so popular is that they give people control over how they look, and they can then edit their images to get them just right before posting.
How To Take A Great Selfie
While it may not seem like rocket science, there are tips you can follow to take your selfies up a notch:
1. Look For The Light
Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. When taking selfies, always look for the best lighting possible as it can be the difference between a flattering selfie or a flop. Don’t ever underestimate the value of quality lighting. Natural lighting is your best bet, and isn’t it awesome that it’s free?!
Always choose window lighting for your indoor selfies. Position yourself next to a window, having the light fall on your face. When outside, shoot in the shade where the lighting is the most uniform. Stay out of direct sunlight to afford distracting shadows and glare.
Exposure is not the only factor to think about in terms of lighting. Light controls the tone and mood of a photo. Manipulating light can also enhance texture, and the vibrancy and hue of the colors in your picture. Think of light as a tool in your photography tool kit.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can put something white underneath you to bounce the light onto your face. I keep a piece of white foam core in my car for this purpose. You can also keep this circular reflector handy to optimize your lighting.
2. What About Flash?
Ideally, you’ll want to use natural lighting for your selfies when possible. If you’re indoors, however, and the lighting isn’t great, use your flash to get the correct exposure, and to fill in the shadows.
Did you know there’s a selfie flash feature on your iPhone you can use without having to turn your phone around? I doubt this feature is available on older-model iPhones, but you will be able to enjoy it on the newer phones.
Here’s how to use it. Open your camera app, making sure you can see yourself. With your phone in landscape mode, tap the lighting bolt icon on the bottom left-hand corner. Now select the “on” feature. When you take the picture, you’ll see the screen go white for an instant, creating a flash-effect, lightening and brightening your photos.
By using this feature, you’ll find your selfies are much improved, with a nice splash of light on your face, and no shadows. The light from this flash is much more subtle than your regular camera flash.
3. Angles Are Important
Trick question: what is the most flattering angle for a selfie? Holding your phone a little above your head, below your head, or right in front of you? If you answered a little above your head, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ll look the best photographed from this angle. Using a selfie stick makes it a lot easier. This expendable selfie stick doubles as a tripod stand, and comes with a wireless remote. I like how compact it is.
When taking your selfie from an elevated angle, the bottom of your phone should be level with your eyes. Before snapping the shot, slightly lower your chin. This slight movement, combined with a high camera angle, is a winning combination. Take it one step further by turning your face a little to one side, always avoiding shooting yourself straight on. You’ll be amazed how these simple tweaks will transform your selfies.
4. Keep It Real
Natural-looking selfies will always trump those that are posed. It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-posing when self-photographing, especially if you’re new to the selfie world. The more selfies you take, the more comfortable you’ll become with the process.
I love the current trend where social media influencers are documenting all aspects of their lives, not just the picture-perfect parts that are intimidating to their viewers. Authenticity and keeping it real is what resonates with people.
Try this trick to keep your smile genuine. Before pressing the shutter, think of something pleasant or funny, smiling as naturally as you can. I find it also helps to keep my eyes shut until I take the photo. Natural-looking selfies are more engaging, and will generate more interaction. Don’t stress too much about it, though, just take a ton of selfies, and you’ll be sure to find at least a couple that you love.
5. Use The Video Option
Instead of manually snapping a million selfies, why not use the video option on your iPhone? Filming your selfie session is an easy way to take a lot of photos. Sometimes this is necessary to get one you love enough to post. Select “Video” on your camera app, press “play,” and start posing. Keep this up for a minute or two.
When you’re finished, replay your video, freezing the frames and screen shotting your favorites. This method, not only allows you to take a lot of selfies in a short amount of time, but it’s more convenient than continually pressing the photo button. Pretty slick, right?
Taking and posting selfies is a fun way to generate engagement and interaction on social media. It’s also a a great way to document and share your life, kind of like an online journal with pictures. Upgrade your selfies by paying attention to lighting and camera angles. Try using a reflector or white piece of paper to bounce the light into your face, after all, gorgeous lighting is the key to looking air-brushed and beautiful!
What tips can you add to this list? Let me know in the comments:)