In our recent article Ten things you never knew about selfies we had fun looking at different aspects of the weird and wonderful world of selfies. But it also got us thinking about what makes a good selfie.
How is it that some people seem to always take great selfies but somehow you never can? In this article we share some tips about how to take a good selfie : a selfie you will want to share with the world!
Be aware of your background
Whenever you decide to take a selfie, first think “why”? In particular, why do you want it here and now? If it’s because you’re visiting somewhere special, and perhaps want to create a memory to treasure as well as a fun photo to share, then make sure you get the background in as well. Rather than a random snap in front of a wall, make sure that you take your selfie against the background you want to be seen.
The reverse also applies. When taking a selfie just check that there is nothing going on in the background that would detract from or spoil your photo. Whether it’s someone behaving oddly, a dog relieving itself, or something like bins or portaloos, you really don’t want that in your shot.
Put some distance between you and the camera
One of the key factors in how to take a good selfie is to put as much distance between you and the camera as you can. If the camera gets too close there will be a lack of perspective and this can distort whichever part of your face is nearer to the camera and make it seem larger than it actually is. So as a general rule, the further back from the face the better.
If you are out and about and know in advance that you are going to want to take lots of selfies, it may be worth taking a selfie stick with you. You may feel a little self-conscious doing this, but it can be a really useful tool to help you extend the height or length of your selfie and ensure that the camera is not right in your face.
Let there be light
As with all photography, getting the right lighting really determines how good the shot is going to be. So check the lighting before you start snapping. Natural light is likely to get the best result, and is usually far more flattering than artificial lighting or computer screens.
If you are taking an indoor selfie at night, ensure there is plenty of light for your shot, without making it too bright and glary.
Either way, you will get a better shot if you face – either fully or partly – the source of the light, and try to get it roughly at eye-level to minimise the amount of shadow in your shot.
Get the right angle
Getting the right angle for your selfie is also really important. Not only does it make the shot more interesting, but it can also impact how you look in the shot.
When it comes to being photographed, most people have a “good side”. Use a mirror to check out which is yours, then make sure you use it to good effect when taking selfies. Most selfies are better and more interesting if the shot is slightly side on rather than full face . . . just make sure it’s always your good side from now on.
It also helps to hold the camera at around eye level and look up into it, as looking down into a camera instantly creates double chins and exaggerates every wrinkle.
So keep in mind the need to raise your phone to eye level and turn slightly to your good side : these are two key steps in learning how to take a good selfie.
Take your position
As well as the angle and height of the camera, think about how you are going to position the rest of your body if it is also going to be in the shot. You don’t want anything that looks unnaturally posed, but nor do you want to stand there like the proverbial tin of milk.
If you don’t feel comfortable having your photo taken, and never quite know what to do with all your limbs, try to find something to lean against, for example trees, railings, cars etc. This will make your posture look more natural, as well as adding some background interest.
If there are no props around and it’s just you, one thing to try is adding a little bit of motion to the shot – for example bringing your hand up to your face or hair. Another is to imagine yourself somewhere else where you would be standing but also relaxed eg a bar, gig or sports match. Try to forget the camera and just be yourself. Easier said than done, we know!
Think about what to do with your face
Last but not least, for the perfect selfie, also think about what to do with your face! The best photographs are those that reflect a natural expression, but having to pose for a selfie can make this seem impossible.
If you really want to become an expert in how to take a good selfie it may be worth experimenting in front of a mirror so that you know what works for you and you have a repertoire of expressions that you feel comfortable with.
If in doubt, the best thing is just to either think of something that makes you smile or say a name that means something to you – and try to forget that you’re also taking a photo.
We hope that the above tips help you to learn more about how to take a good selfie and that you are increasingly pleased with the results of your efforts.