When your phone's photo album isn't packed with snapshots of food, your pet, or your child, we're willing to bet it's showing off anywhere between 8 and 36,000 selfies. With the *perfect* one at the very bottom – that's because this do-it-your-selfie (sorry) activity is more complicated than it sounds.
The reason behind the selfie struggle can be chalked up to the fact that no matter how informally you're using your camera, it's still a camera, and for the best results, you must know a thing or two about photography.
Here are some tips for taking the best selfie so that the world can see the best of you, or at least the best you from a slightly higher angle.
1. Light, light, and more light
Lighting is the key to unlocking all photography, but it's crucial when talking about smartphones. This is because your phone camera's picture-taking tech is only so sophisticated. Even today, most smartphones still struggle in low-light situations. Ever notice when you're outside in the sunshine, you just can't take a bad selfie? While we're sure you were lookin' fire that day, it's actually that giant fireball in the sky doing all the legwork.
So just keep that in mind. Taking a selfie at night? In a dark room? Under the cabana umbrella? Bring a light, turn on a light, or find a light.
2. What we do in the shadows
Closely related to the lighting tip is… avoid shadows at all costs. As mentioned already, darkness is the death of selfies, but also, the human face looks it's most attractive when evenly lit. If you have dark shadows below your eyes and lips, you tend to look more menacing, which might be what you want when auditioning for Law & Order, but not when you want your freshest face forward on TikTok.
If you would love to get creative and take selfies at night, we wrote an entire article to help you do just that. You can read it here: How to Shoot Portraits at Night
3. Careful with your flash!
Your camera comes with a flash to brighten things up. Know when to use it. It can be a bit tricky because moments – primarily when held at close distances – tend to wash out people's faces. Flashes are best used when you're shooting at night, need some fill-light when there's a bright light source behind you, or when you can set the camera far enough away that you don't end up looking like a ghost with just eyebrows and nostrils.
4. There's that smile!
One of the most important things about a selfie is that you're projecting to the world that you're a happy person in this just fantabulous life. So if you decide against going with the Sylvia Plath vibe (she was a notorious bummer), smile with your whole heart. And if you can't do that, at least do it with your entire mouth. We want to feel the joy you're feeling. In other words, be authentic.
5. Snap away, young Narcissus.
Take as many selfies as humanly possible. You're not using film, and you have a 256GB storage bank inside your pocket computer… so go nuts! Combining the right angle, the right look, the authentic presence, and the perfect smile can take more than one try. So take a boat-load of pics and see which one stands out. If it works for you, it has a better chance of working on that person you're lowkey flirting with on Instagram.
6. It's all about the angles.
Don't ask us why, but people look their best when you can barely see them. It feels like it belongs with the age-old adage that black clothing is slimming and the camera adds ten pounds. If you photograph yourself from a higher angle and tilted to a tight 45, you're bound to look hawt and, frankly, more emotionally intelligent. If you don't believe me, take a picture of yourself from a low-angle. After you finish crying, come back and read the rest of this article.
We wrote an entire article on this topic alone and how to take good instagram photos in general. You can read it here: How to Take Good Instagram Photos
7. Use filters! Or don't?
Nothing says 'I'm a real person' like eliminating all human blemishes with a computer-generated filter that makes your eyes the shape of hearts. All kidding aside, filters are a fun way of enhancing aspects of your selfie and giving them a bit of extra flavor. Also, keep in mind that a new, blossoming trend is the 'raw' selfie. People really want to see the natural you, too.
8. Be yourself. No, really.
After you've taped your phone to the ceiling for the best high-angle shot and you've plastered on the perfect filter, take the picture and let it speak for itself. Many of these camera apps give you additional editing options, but you don't want your image to look fake or altered. Most of the creative characteristics built into the filters are enough.
9. What's that behind you!
Make sure your background is either as charming as your beautiful face or bland enough that it doesn't draw attention away from you. Many selfies have been ruined by an overlooked toilet in the background.
10. Try not to overthink it.
I doubt that will be a problem.
So there ya go! We want to see you in various places doing a variety of things! You have the tools right there in your pocket or your bag. Go out there and have fun taking these selfies. If you are interested in learning more about photography, check out these related articles: