Are you a prolific selfie taker? Or just take them once in a while whenever you think about it? Either way, we’ve got 17 tips for you so you can take better selfies for social media in this month’s issue of Phantasy News.
Model: Damsel Doll
tip #1 - bette davis eyes
When you take a selfie, you want to connect with your viewer, right? Then look into your phone’s camera lens, not the screen.
Think about it this way. When a photographer takes your portrait with a camera, they tell you to look at the camera, right? Same principle.
Don’t be like Ariana Grande in the photo on the right. Look at the lens, not the phone screen.
tip #2 - straight on
tip #3 - blinded by the light
tip #4 - walk in the shadows
Selfies rarely look great when the phone is straight out in front of your face. For the absolute best look, hold your phone slightly above eye level and a little to the left or right. Move your eyes to look at the camera, not your head.
You can also experiment with other angles, such as below eye level or more to the left or right.
Instead of moving the camera, you can tilt your head up, down, or to one side or the other, You can also turn your head left or right.
Give it a try.
To take better selfies, your camera needs light to take photos just like you need light to see in the dark. Avoid harsh light, like direct sunlight or bright indoor lighting. It’ll create harsh shadows. In addition, harsh light can make you squint, as shown in the background photo. So avoid harsh light, especially if it’s overhead.
If you want to take better selfies, look for soft light, like a shady spot under a tree, or put your back to the sun. If you’re indoors, turn off the harsh light and turn on a shaded lamp or torchiere.
Actually, don’t walk in the shadows… avoid deep shadows. Your viewers won’t be able to see your face, and if they’re too dark, your photo will be hard to fix.
Unless you’re specifically using shadows as an artistic element to take better selfies, pay attention to where shadows fall on you. You don’t want the shadow of a light or flag pole falling across your face, or a window bisecting your face with light and shadow, as seen in the photo to the left.
tip #5 - when i see you smile
It’s not easy to smile naturally whenever you want. More often than not, people force a smile. Forced smiles are often robotic, inauthentic, and, sometimes, downright creepy.
You might have to practice a lot to learn how to smile naturally. Practice all kinds of smiles: big wide smiles, smirks, closed-lipped smiles. Find what you think looks and feels best.
And definitely don’t do what this guy did: take a selfie while driving.
tip #6 - emotional rescue
tip #7 - background noise
Don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable and show some emotion in your selfies. Your audience will definitely connect with you because they’ll be able to relate to you.
As bad as boring backgrounds may be, cluttered backgrounds are even more so. They distract your viewer from seeing you. They might become more interested in what shampoo you use or your messy bedroom.
And even worse than that? A tree, pole, or some other object sticking out of your head.
Lesson? Be mindful of your background and you’ll take better selfies.
tip #8 - bored to death
tip #9 - mirrors
Selfies in your car. Selfies against a white wall. They are, well, boring.
You don’t need an elaborate set with fairy lights and a studio background to take better selfies, just something interesting. Like a flower garden, a brick wall, a wall painted any color besides white, gray, or tan, or the serene setting of a park. Even a vegetable or fruit display at the grocery store can work with the right angle.
Or use an app on your phone to change the background to something more interesting.
It’s amazing to us that with front- and rear-facing cameras on today’s mobile phones people still take mirror selfies! You can take better selfies without mirrors.
STOP! JUST STOP ALREADY!
More often than not your hand and phone are obscuring your face. Isn’t showing your face the whole idea behind a selfie? And if the flash goes off, well, there’s nothing to see at all because the flash reflects off of the mirror and washes out the entire scene.
If you really must take a full-body selfie, get a selfie stick or, better yet, get a tripod with a phone attachment and use the timer to take your selfie.
Be confident and capture it in your selfie. Use a power pose. Repeat an affirmation a couple of times before you take your selfie. It can be as simple as "I am fearless" or "I am beautiful." Sure, it might seem a little weird or goofy, but it can help you take better selfies.
If you're in a club, a bar, or other dimly lit places, you'll need additional light to take better selfies. Be careful with your phone camera's flash. We all know that flash can cause red pupils. And we all know that's not a good look, except on Halloween. We recommend getting a ring light for your phone instead of using flash. The continuous light doesn't cause the red eyes that freak everyone out.
tip #12 picture perfect (no filter)
Yeah, we get it. Those Snapchat and Instagram filters are kind of cute, sometimes. It’s okay to use them occasionally. But, sometimes, we want to see you… the real you, not filtered you.
So ditch those filters sometimes and show us you, not filtered you. And go easy on the stickers too.
tip #13 - good side
tip #14 - be yourself
Most people have a “good side” – that side of the face they like best. Try taking selfies of both sides of your face and find out which side you like best.
If you like one side of your face more than the other when you look in the mirror, that’s the side of your face you’ll probably like best in your selfies.
So figure out your “good side” and go with it. You’ll like your photos better and feel more confident.
Don’t try to be like Kylie, Kendall, Kim, Rhianna, or other celebrities. Simply be you. It’s fine to study their selfies and learn how to do what they do to take better selfies, but let your personality come out. Just be you!
Model: Renee (laughing about something during her photo session)
tip #15 - karma chameleon
There’s nothing wrong with editing your selfie so that you look your best. We photographers do it all the time.
Use an app like FaceTune or Photoshop. But learn how to edit without overdoing it.
Our favorite Photoshop YouTube channel is PixImperfect. Unmesh does a fantastic job not only showing you how to do something in Photoshop, but he also often shows you more than one way to achieve the same result. Not only that, he often explains the theory behind the tool and the effect so you really understand it.
The Phlearn YouTube channel is very good too.
tip #16 - girlschool
Browse Instagram. Follow the celebrities that are always posting on-point selfies. Figure out what they're doing and emulate them.
If you want to be one of the best, learn from some of the best.
tip #17 - practice what you preach
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice! Practice!
If you really want to create some bomb-ass selfies, practice often and practice a lot.
Then practice some more!
questions? comments? suggestions?
Do you have questions about the information in this month’s edition of Phantasy News? Is there something you’d like us to cover in a future issue of Phantasy News? Let us know.