At a time where nearly everyone young and old owns a smartphone, selfies have become ubiquitous. Even so, getting that perfect shot is harder than it looks! From angles to lighting to hair and makeup, there are more than a few details to manage.
Fortunately, playing with a few variables can turn even a ho-hum picture into a stunning selfie. Whether you’re trying to become an Insta-model or just sharing shots with your friends, the following tips will help you take the perfect self-portrait.
Find Your Best Side
Nobody’s body or face is perfectly symmetrical, and even professional models go out of their way to show off their “good side.” Factor in blemishes, injuries and slightly uneven posture, and you’ll probably see that one side of yourself looks a little better—at least from certain angles. Play to your strengths by focusing on this side in your selfies, even if it means taking the photo with your non-dominant hand.
Even the leanest and fittest photo-takers have a little flab under their chin—it’s normal! However, most models go out of their way to appear otherwise. To mimic the seemingly perfect shots you see all over Instagram, simply bring your chin forward a bit more than you would naturally. Careful not to just point your chin up, however, or you’ll just end up with a close-up of your nose!
Remember Your Hair
We typically focus on our limbs, torso and head angles when we snap, but properly positioning the hair can make a big difference in how your selfies turn out. There are plenty of ways to pose your hair, but in general, you don’t want it to sit on your shoulders. Try positioning your hair in front of or behind your shoulders, as well as pulled all the way back. Depending upon the lighting and background, one of these configurations will almost always look best.
Turn Your Shoulders
When a photographer shoots an athlete, businessperson or anyone else trying to look powerful, bigger tends to be better. When it comes to selfies, however, a smaller look is typically what you want. To achieve a slimmer profile, turn your shoulders to one side. You’ll decrease the amount of two-dimensional space you take up on a screen and, at the same time, you’ll be better able to capture your good side.
Pucker—A Little Bit
A little pucker will work wonders by making your lips look fuller and cheekbones higher. Don’t overdo it, though! Commonly called “duck face,” an overdone pout will turn an otherwise solid selfie into a parody of a portrait.
Play with the Lights
Aside from posing differently, there are plenty of ways to spice up a selfie—and lighting is one of the best tools at your disposal. If you’re indoors, play with the lighting to accentuate just the right places while casting shadows on others. This may mean venturing outside your bedroom or bathroom!
The Rule of Thirds
The “rule of thirds” is a photographer’s rule of thumb that says a subject’s eyeline should be about one-third from the top of the frame, with their face slightly off center. This placing makes your selfie look more dynamic and spontaneous and less like a mugshot or driver’s license photo.
Mind the Background
We rarely think about our background when we take a selfie, but if you’re minding the rule of thirds, you’re going to have at least a little bit going on behind you! You might not have many options if you’re taking a spontaneous selfie, but if you’re posing—particularly at home—consider what’s behind you. At the very least, make sure you’re not being photobombed!
Last but not least, you may need to zoom out to get the perfect shot, particularly when you’re taking a group selfie. Don’t let your arm length limit you! A good selfie stick will help you hone in your angles and zoom. Plus, you’ll be able to achieve a more natural look when your arm isn’t stretched out.
Want more tips to perfect your selfie game? Check out our guide, How to Take an Awesome Selfie with Your instax.