The selfie. It’s ubiquitous with mobile photography. Whether you’re a avid selfie photographer or only turn the lens on yourself with a begrudging groan, there are a few things you can do to instantly improve the quality of your selfies and maybe even achieve the elusive “perfect selfie”, projecting yourself in to the spotlight of the www and affirming your status as a social media network folk legend.
12. Get plenty of light.
This one should be obvious but the sea of poorly-lit selfies floating around the Internet is proof that it’s not the case. It doesn’t matter what you look like: poor lighting is a surefire way to create an unflattering picture of yourself.
11. Hold your camera at a high angle.
I wasn’t a believer in this one initially. I remember being taught years ago to use a low angle for more masculine effect. However, after much research, it seems that it’s more difficult to take a good photo of yourself from a low angle as your neck and chin tend to become indistinct, whereas a high angle shot will stretch out your neck and give you a stronger jawline.
10. Hold your camera as far away as possible.
Don’t crowd the frame. While you may be the subject of the photo there’s no need to make it feel like you’re going to crawl through the frame.
9. Hold you camera steady.
Nobody wants to look at your blurry selfie so choose an angle that you can keep your hand steady for several seconds to ensure your camera is focused. Pro tip: If you’re shooting on an iPhone you can use either volume buttons on the side of the phone to take the photo. They may be easier to press when you’re holding the phone out.
8. Make sure your lens is clean.
This is especially true if you’re shooting with a smartphone. Since it’s in your pocket or purse all day, the camera is going to get dirty. Even just a quick wipe down with a shirt will do wonders for image clarity.
7. Be mindful of your environment.
If the point of the selfie isn’t to show you at some exotic location you’re probably not thinking about what’s in the background–but you should. A messy or chaotic background may be an unintentional distraction in the selfie. Pro tip: The world has enough bathroom mirror selfies. Take yours somewhere else.
6. Be mindful of backlighting.
A little can be interesting but too much will leave you in silhouette.
5. Avoid directly overhead lighting.
This kind of lighting will create a harsh image and you will not get a flattering result.
4. Be conscious of your pose.
You’re the photographer and model in this scenario. “I wasn’t ready,” isn’t a valid excuse. Pick your head up and get your shoulders back.
3. The squinch.
Photographer Peter Hurley has a great video about how he could make anyone one look better in a photo by getting them to squinch their face a certain way. It actually works too.
2. Avoid light sources from directly below.
It’s an old TV trope that when you’re telling a scary story you shine a flashlight up at your face to create a scary effect. While I fail to see how that’s actually scary, it’s good to be aware that you’ll get a similar, if less dramatic effect on your face if you take your selfie with a light source below you.
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Selfies are silly and kind of fun. Don’t try to turn them into something more. The Internet is already so saturated with selfies, people will probably hardly glance at yours anyway. Pro tip: Don’t share every selfie you take.