Updated: Sep 14
You are rocking that great outfit and you want to share it with your thousands of followers or just your closest friends. It’s time for that awesome selfie, but yours never seems to turn out the way you imagine. Why? It could be the quality of your camera. Check the reviews and the manual for the device you are using. Understanding the mechanics is important, however, taking great photos requires more than a great camera and a nice smile. These tips will help you up your selfie-style.
1. Lighting - The harsh light of a flash illuminates all shadows and flattens the subject in the image. Experiment with natural light, keeping the camera between you and the light source. Avoid the dreaded under-eye circles by staying away from overhead lights.
2. Angles - Our faces are rarely symmetrical and very few people are at their best staring straight into the camera. Take a set of images from different vertical and horizontal heights. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t thrilled with some of them, that is the point. Find what angles work better for you and stick with them.
3. Look Up - The things that are closest to the camera lens are the largest in the image. Holding the camera slightly above you is a great way to place the focus on your eyes and smile. Speaking of eyes, while you can look directly into the camera, looking slightly off-camera can produce a more natural feeling.
4. Simple Backgrounds - Keep the clutter behind you to a minimum. If you are in a busy location, look for open walls or areas with fewer distractions. If you want that great farmer’s market behind you, try to stand farther away from the background so it isn’t as clear in the image.
5. Presentation - Mom was right, posture is key, no slumping. Also, check to make sure your clothing and hair are neat and in order. Avoid the frustration of finally getting just the look you want in that perfect photo only to notice the stain on your lapel. Use a mirror before you use the camera.
6. Avoid Wrinkles – Fitted or tailored clothing tends to photograph better than loose or slouchy pieces. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a great, comfy sweater shot but try and keep the bulk to a minimum. Shar-Pei puppies are adorable but I’m guessing you don’t want to resemble one.
7. No Turkeys – Extend your head up and out, then lean a little towards the camera. It may feel strange but it elongates your neckline. Make sure to tilt your chin down a bit. This, along with the right lighting, will create a lovely shadow under your chin.
8. Camera Position – Try holding the camera slightly to the side instead of directly in front of you. It can create an interesting perspective and a more pleasant image. It will also create more interesting shadows.
9. Relax – Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Smile without letting your teeth touch or even better yet, think of something funny and laugh. People respond to your energy in person and in images. You do too. The more relaxed you are the better you’ll feel taking the photo and sharing it.
10. Stay Steady – Use something to brace your camera. Whether you invest in a tripod or just use a convenient table or railing, bracing your camera and using the timer function will help you get shake free, clear images. If you are using a surface or natural support, make sure that the camera is truly supported and won’t fall. No image is worth losing your phone. Also, check your phone’s instruction manual, or search online to see if you can use voice commands. My phone allows for words like ‘smile’ or ‘click’ to activate the shutter. Standing in the park saying smile to my phone has gotten me some interesting looks but it works!
11. Resist Last-Call – You might think that the party is never-ending but your photos at the end of the evening tell a different story. Remember, every photo is a piece of the puzzle for people viewing your feed. Help them put together the best image of you. Take your photos early and then enjoy the festivities. You’ll have a better time and your friends will be grateful too.
12. You Can Always Delete – Take as many photos as you like. Try a little of everything and see which ones make you the happiest. That’s the goal. Practice the techniques and even create a few of your own. The more you try the more confident you’ll feel. Don’t feel bad if you can’t stand most of the images, it takes an average of 6 – 15 clicks to get one you’ll like and that survey was done with people who take a lot of selfies.
Filters aren’t bad – They aren’t always good either. It is up to you to decide which ones create the effect you are looking to achieve. I am a fan of natural images with little enhancements but you may love the puppy ears filter. Again, experiment and see which, if any, filters make you smile. It is, after all, your face and you should love it!
Advanced - Think you've got this? Flip the phone. The front-facing or selfie camera has a lower resolution than the back camera. You'll get higher quality images but you won't be able to see what you are creating until after you've taken the image. Go for it! It may take more tries but you can always delete.
Oh and after all these deletions, make sure to empty your trash bin. Yep, just because you said delete doesn't mean they are gone. You need to empty the trash to free up that all important storage space on your phone.
Hope these tips helped. Have fun getting into the picture. I’d love to hear, and see, how you use them.
The first 5 steps of this post are also available in the September issue of Northwest Bergen Lifestyle Magazine. www.northwestbergenlifestyle,com