I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now after it became apparent that not everyone knows the tips and tricks to take a good selfie. And with it being #NationalSelfieDay I thought I’d share a few ideas of how to get better selfies (and a few things to avoid too)!
Selfies have been around or a ‘thing’ for quite some time now. So, you’d think it would be easy – right? Well maybe not quite so! Some of us haven’t quite got the hang of how to set our mobiles up to create the best selfies plus there’s still that awkwardness or inner self talk saying “what are you doing, don’t be so conceited!” But it’s not about being conceited. We’ve become more familiar in seeing our friends and families faces on social media. You wouldn’t put a paper bag over your head just because you were going out to meet someone, so don’t be shy when it comes to selfies for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
So, let’s look at what makes for a GREAT selfie…
1. Give yourself some time
I watched someone try to take a selfie of themselves and a colleague of theirs, pre-pandemic. They were struggling to get the right angle and both be in shot. So, I explained that it’s a good idea to put your mobile on a 5 second timer. This then gives you a few seconds to compose the shot and SMILE!
2. Angles are your angels
Try taking the shot from above or, if you’re brave & don’t have double or even triple chins like me try from taking the shot from below! You can also turn your body slightly to the left or right so you’re not directly square on into the frame. Square on is just, well frankly a bit dull and boring. Just have a bit of a play about with angles and find something that works for you.
3. Looking into my eyes
Do you know what draws you into social media posts? People’s faces and specifically eyes. We’re wired to look at faces. Are we looking to see if we know that person or some human connectivity?
Who knows for sure but in the main posts with people in get more engagement than ones without. So, make sure your eyes are open, smiling and looking into the camera. Maybe think of something that makes you happy or imagine you’re about to laugh with your best friend.
Take time to learn where the lens of the camera is on your mobile. Sounds obvious right? But we see so many where it’s obvious the person hasn’t a clue where the lens of the camera is on their mobile.
4. Light up my life
Another tip that you might think “well, that’s obvious, isn’t it?” is to get the lighting right. Well, no not to everyone. You, like us, may have seen a few memes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and possibly even LinkedIn these days that show a photo taken with poor lighting or shadows on the subject matter. Lighting is so important to get a good clean shot. If you can take your selfie in natural light and outdoors, that would be brilliant. Natural light means less or no shadows depending on whether the sun is beaming down on you or not. The optimal times of the day to get the best light are when the sun is low in the sky. So early morning or coming to the end of the day. But we’re not suggesting you sit and wait for the right sunrise or sunset. A selfie should be spontaneous and not too pre-planned.
5. Keep out of the shadows
Shadows are your enemy. We’d recommend that you don’t have the sun directly in front of you. For one you’ll end up squinting (not a good look) and secondly you may end up with a shadow of your mobile phone or some other shadow like a lamppost or the edge of a building on your face. Try having the sun slightly to the left or right of you so that it casts across but not directly on your face.
Another obvious one but there’s two things to point out here.
One: you may be concentrating on taking the shot and so not in ‘smile mode’. Which may mean you look miserable as sin. Not that you are, you just have your concentrate face on.
Two: you may end up with ‘fake smile’ face because you’re trying too hard to be natural. So, there’s no trying, there’s just being natural and authentic – as in, be yourself but think of something that makes you smile – a happy place, a quote or joke that you love, your friends and family. Just something that has you smiling – but naturally!
7. Backgrounds matter too
As much as your face, and whoever else is in the selfie matters, so does your background. Check out your surroundings. It’s all too easy to take a selfie and think,
“Yes, nailed it.” Only to look back and notice a reflection in a mirror or some loon in the background pulling a face and photobombing your perfect shot.
Now we’re not suggesting you have a full on studio for photos but just check out what the background looks like in your camera before taking the shot.
We also recommend an interesting background if you can. So, what do we mean by interesting? Well, no plan white, drab and boring backgrounds. Can you find a colourful or funky wall to have as your backdrop or maybe a textured wall. You’ll often see that the images we take in our office are either with our lovely naturally stone wall behind or one of our yellow or blue doors to brighten the image. Or if you’re out and about can you find a tree, fields or an iconic building in the background. As we did with Castle Hill, Huddersfield. Even a selfie down the market or up the high street can look great with the colourful stalls or shops in the background.
8. Be brave and go for it
We know that not everyone’s a super model, nor are we suggesting that you do want to be. However, we also recognise that taking a selfie can feel uncomfortable and a bit out of our comfort zone for many of us. It’s natural to feel this way. We’re not all keen to be in front of the camera but again try to be yourself and authentic. But above all be confident. It will show if you’re not feeling in love with the idea of a selfie. So, either build yourself up if you know it’s important to take the selfie or leave it to the days you are feeling like superman or wonder woman.
If you need a little help in getting into the zone for a selfie, we’d highly recommend watching Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk explaining Power Posing – Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.
9. To Flash or Not To Flash
Good question! Should the flash be on or off? In most cases, and for amateur photographers, which is who this blog is written for, leave it out unless you absolutely need to have the flash on because you’re inside and the room is dark. It will most likely give you red eyes and make you look pasty and washed out.
10. And finally – Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes perfect. This blog is not intended for the influencers and Instagrammers out there that want to make a living out of taking the perfect selfie. It’s written to help those who haven’t a clue where to start with a selfie and just want to make it look a little better. We hope it’s helped with a little more technical knowhow and a smidgen of confidence building.
Please do share your selfies with us on our social media. We’d love to see them all – GOOD or BAD!