How to Take A Great Selfie
We hope you don’t mind that we are going to get a little less “serious” in this post than we often do, and have some “Tounge in Cheek” fun as we take a few minutes to give you some pro tips on “How To Take A Good Selfie“.
I know most of my readers are serious photographers, and I am as well, hoever, having said that there are times such as visiting with family, trips to the zoo / amusement park / ball game, spur of the moment photo opps, date night, social media posts or you may just want to grab a quick shot with just yourself and an amazing background, or you and that special person or person’s.
Just aim the camera and shoot! Right ?
A Selfie is basically a self portrait. Either of just yourself, or of you & a few close friends or family members. Sounds like an easy shot to take, right ? Yet, why do most of my selfies make me look like crap ? Why does it never seem I have the people in the photo framed correctly ? Why are their images across my face ? What is that in the background ?
At the very core I believe that selfies can be difficult to execute is that most of us are not accustomed to being the subject of one of our own photo’s.
We take pictures of others, and things, not of our self.
I decided to dig into this subject a little deeper. Study what makes a selfie good, and what makes a selfie bad. And report the results here to you in one of our pro tips guides.
Believe it or not, a good selfie can be harder to take than you realize. And for those of you that live and breathe “insta” and other social media, a good selfie is a must! Like any good “shot”, it just takes a little preparation so when the opportunity arises, you can capture that perfect moment.
So, Remember, life is short, enjoy & share it! And what better way than with an amazing selfie.
What makes a Good Selfie ?
I know it can be quite subjective as to what one person thinks is a good selfie versus someone else, however, there are a few basic things that we recommend or suggest a good selfie should contain.
Examples of “Bad Selfie’s”
Before we get into the Good Selfie Pro Tip’s, we thought we would take a few seconds to illustrate some examples of some “Bad Selfie’s”.
Bad Selfie #1 – Inappropriate Content
We all understand that the primary purpose of a selfie is to capture a special moment often at a special place, and/or with a special person. Having said that however, some selfie’s contain subject matter that can be deemed inappropriate to the viewer for any number of reasons.
Before you take that selfie take one quick second to think about where this photo might end up. Remember, social media images can and do go viral very quickly and what may seem like a fun or funny quick shot can turn into a nightmare pretty quickly
Bad Selfie #2 – Non Flattering / Too Close to Camera / Poor Camera Angle
This is probably the most violated tip I see in most selfies and the one I violate the most as well. For those of us with short arms, I am sure you can relate to this common problem with bad selfie’s. Camera is too close to the subject, usually combined with a bad camera angle.
Think about it, When taking a picture of yourself it is almost impossible to not look at the camera (or cell phone) and depress the shutter. It’s just basic human nature. Also, if your arms are short like mine are, you are holding the camera as far away as you can to get as much subject area as possible which leads to a struggle trying to depress the shutter. As a result the camera is either looking up at you as the subject or looking down on you, and your eyes are looking up or down, not level.
PRO TIP: Look at the camera lens rather than yourself on the screen.
Bad Selfie #3 – Not Paying Attention to Background
Because we are often times in a hurry to take our selfies, we often don’t take time to consider what might be in the background of our shot. This is especially true when using a selfie stick as the extension provided by the stick leads to a wider area of focus in the background.
Although the background on many selfie’s are as interesting as the selfie itself, remember, that although you are usually the primary focus on the selfie the camera will pick up many things in the background, especially if you are using a mirror or selfie stick. Take a second before you press the shutter to double check what appears in the viewfinder, and quickly review (and delete if necessary) the photo after taking it if any unwanted background images appear. You can then quickly change the camera angle to avoid any unwanted backgrounds.
- Please do not take a selfie while driving (obvious!)
- Please do not take a naked selfie. Remember this one please.
Bad Selfie #4 – Caught Off Guard
So, now that we got the “What Not To Do” out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about what we can do to help ensure our selfie’s turn out good.
Remember, there really is not a lot to perfecting this craft. Just a few things to keep in mind and before long you will be a selfie expert, which, Nowadays, with social media representing a big chunk of our everyday lives, there is nothing wrong with wanting to present yourself to the world in the best possible way.
Like the components of most good photo’s – Good lighting, correct camera angle, and interesting surroundings all will help if you want to learn how to achieve the ideal, flawless selfie every single time. Once again iconiccamera.com has got your back!
So, with out any further ado, Here are some tips and tricks to help you bring your selfie game to a new level:
Pro Selfie Tip – Know your angles! – Listen to the advice of the queen of this art, Kim K herself, and make sure to always hold your chin down and your camera up. It is really hard to look good when you are photographed from under the chin. You don’t want to have the camera too close to your face, either. This is why selfie sticks are quite useful tools. They allow you a bigger face-camera distance which will make you look even better and your photos look more professional. Also, try not to stare directly to the camera, you will get the greater effect if you just slightly turn your head and your eyes to the side.
Pro Selfie Tip – Lighting makes all the difference! – Lighting has the power to make the excellent picture out of the ordinary, or to completely ruin it, so make sure to use it wisely.
You need a good source of natural light, so if you are indoors, look for the nearest window and let it illuminate your face, wash the tiredness and sleepless night off of it, and make you look fresh and glowing. Good lighting can significantly improve the overall appearance and quality of your selfies, so there is no reason not to get all of its advantages. Also, beware of the shadows and try to avoid them at all costs!
Keep your expressions natural! – Don’t overthink it, just be your natural, beautiful self. Try to think of something that makes you happy, so your smile and your whole expression can look sincere. Duck faces, peace signs, tongues out, we are long passed all of it. Just relax, the whole point of a selfie is to capture your true, spontaneous moments.
Pro Selfie Tip – Beware of your background! – There are two kinds of good selfies, the focus is either on fabulous you, or on the fabulous background. There is no middle ground here. So, if you are not photographing yourself in front of the Colosseum or while you are jumping up and down to the music on Coachella, then your background should be plain and simple, without any distractions.
Also, you probably don’t want your messy bed, chair full of thrown clothes or intimate hygiene products displayed on your Instagram, either, so take a good look around you.
Pro Selfie Tip – Go light on the editing! – You will notice that ”natural” is the running theme here. Apply the less is more rule. We are all for the filters and apps that let you fix the little imperfections and enhance your best features, just don’t let yourself get too carried away. A little bit of teeth whitening, blemish removing and color improving is more than welcome, but you don’t want anyone but you know that the photos have been retouched. When selfies look too fake and so obviously photo shopped, they will just attract the wrong kind of attention.
Study the selfies of Instagram babes! – Whether they are celebrities, models or influencers, the part of their job is taking great selfies. You can learn a lot about good poses, expressions, and details by looking at their photos. Take the elements you like the most, try them on yourself and if it works for you, include them in your routine. Don’t get discouraged though, you know there is a whole team behind those photographs working to make them perfect. Rather, let yourself be inspired by it.
Pro Selfie Tip – Blow air through your lips! – It sounds silly, but when you wish to achieve that extra special, sensual yet effortless look, this is the hack you should use. Simply relax your face, slightly open your mouth and slowly blow the air between your lips. It will also make your lips appear plumper, but you are still going to look casual and natural. A win-win situation!
Pro Selfie Tip – Play with your eyes! – What you do with your eyes can make such a big impact on how your selfies will turn out. Eyes are one of our most striking features, and can easily take away the show if you present them right. For extra sassy look, lift your brows a bit, to make them seem bigger and wider. When you come up with the impression you want to leave, then try to always think of something that makes you feel that way, so your eyes can communicate that genuinely.
Pro Selfie Tip – Extend your head from your neck! – This is a great trick to accentuate your jawline, which will give you sharper definition, and can even make you appear slimmer. It will give you a little longer neck, too, which is always a plus. Now, you want to be completely subtle about this. Just a slight motion and eyes looking towards the camera is all you need to get wonderful results.
Pro Selfie Tip – Practice makes perfect! – Just snap away! The more photos you take, the more you will get to know yourself and your face. You will see what does and what doesn’t work for you, what poses and angles suit you best, which make up and expressions look good on you. The same way we learn from our mistakes in other aspects of life, you can the selfies you dislike and inspect them thoroughly to figure out what is that makes them bad.
Selfie Stick or No Selfie Stick ? – the answer to this question is “it depends”.
There is no doubt that walking around with a selfie stick to get 1 or 2 shots can be a real pain in the ass, however, they do allow for better camera angle in most instances (Remember before when I talked about camera angles ?). The other thing a selfie stick allows you to do is get in more
of the background which for many selfies is the whole reason the shot is being taken.
PRO TIP – I often carry a small table top Manfrotto pixi tripod with me and when its folded up it is extremely light weight and can double as a short selfie stick when needed. This way I don’t have to carry a separate
stick with me (it does lack the remote shutter release most selfie sticks have though). My buddy prefers a flexible tripod, as it can be bent as needed and provides a better grip when using a heavier camera as a DSLR.
If you prefer a more “traditional” selfie style stick by all means use one if you achieve the results you desire. Many of the new sticks offer a pop up tripod when needed and may also come with a blue tooth shutter release, all for under $20.
My advice is this – think about where your adventures for the day may take you and what type of Selfie Opportunities you are likely to encounter (especially the backgrounds). If those backgrounds will require a larger than normal depth of field or very strange camera angle you may want to pack one just in case. If you are already bringing a small gear bag, or have a purse the selfie stick will take up very little room when folded up (telescoped in).
In closing remember, there really is no right or wrong way to take a selfie, but with these pro tips you can almost ensure that the selfies you do take will be high quality. Also, Have Fun! One of the great things about photography for me is capturing those moments with friends and family so that we can look back at them and enjoy those memories in the future.
We hope that our tips will help you to understand a little better how to take a good selfie, but just remember that it isn’t an exact science. You should just relax, have a lot of fun with it and don’t take it too seriously. If you like it and are having a good time while doing it, then there should be no rules and no wrongs!