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How To Take A Good Selfie

Man taking a selfie

For Instagram users of today, selfies have become part and parcel of everyday life. They can, however, be a bit tricky for those of us who are not so naturally photogenic. 

How many times have you decided to take a quick selfie and ended up repeating it ten times to get the perfect shot? Oftentimes, you end up making do with the best of (what you perceive to be) a bad bunch, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The same rules of professional photography can be applied to an amateur selfie, it’s just not so readily available.

A quick search on Google will lead you to a number of articles with futile tips like ‘get a good angle’ or ‘use a selfie stick’, none of which are very helpful or conducive to a technically proficient picture. In fact, the best selfie tips are the ones that require a bit more research. 

If this sounds like a chore, don’t fret, we’ve done the work so you don’t have to. This article is a quick run-down of selfie secrets that will help you master the camera and get the picture you’ve always been looking for: 

Confidence Really Matters

You might say that this one isn’t really a secret, but online selfie guides will often place this point last, when actually it is the most important aspect to any selfie. You might have the best angle and lighting in the world, but it will mean nothing if you aren’t oozing confidence. Just remember, this selfie will of course be seen by other people but, predominantly, it is being made for you. 

Selfies can elevate your mood and help with boosting self-worth. So if you choose to look back at your Instagram feed or even turn it into an Instagram photo book, you don’t want to be flicking through the pages and seeing someone nervous about what other people might think. Take the selfie for yourself. Be happy with what you’re happy with.

Soft Light And Shadow Management

Now onto the more technical secrets, lighting and shadow management are key to a good selfie, but not in the way you might have thought. There will be many guides stating that bright light is the best option for a good selfie, but soft light is far better for smoothing out blemishes and making skin glow. If you have a room with sheer drapes, take the selfie in this room and try to face the window, as this is your main light source. 

Shadows can also be avoided by utilising reflectors. This doesn’t have to be a technical tool. A simple piece of white paper or cardboard can be set directly opposite the light source, and this will bounce the light in a way that can alleviate shadows around the neck and chin. 

Ring Lights Aren’t Cut And Dry

While we’re on the subject of lighting, ring lights can be another good option if you want to add a bit of an edge to your photographs. They are not infallible, however. If you shoot straight through a ring light, then it will affect your eyes negatively, making them look slightly unnatural. You want to ensure that you do not shoot through the ring and you set the colour temperature to a warm tone to help create the soft light. 

Focus And Distance

Not many people think about what’s around them when they take a selfie, as the photograph is all about them. But this is a mistake if you are looking for something sleek and elegant. When taking your selfie, try to use a shallow depth of field – keeping the area of focus small and blending objects further away into a blur – and keep the focus – yourself – sharp and impactful. This can be a little difficult, as you want to ensure every part of yourself is in focus, but with a little practice it can be done. Just remember, the eyes are the centre of attention, so work everything around them.

Get Into Your Phone

Of course, there are always apps and gadgets that you can install into your phone to help along the process, but one of the best has to be front-facing flashes. As mentioned previously, soft, natural light is the best for a great selfie, but sometimes this is not always possible. If you are taking photographs in the dark, then flashes are going to have to be utilised, which is a little tricky considering they are in the back of a camera phone. Installing a front-facing flash not only helps you keep control of what you’re taking, but it is also naturally softer, as the screen flashes rather than the camera.

Become A Student

These are just a few tips and secrets that can help you out, but there are many more out there if you look hard enough. Don’t resolve to taking hundreds of selfies you are not happy with. Try to learn the craft and take it as seriously as any other photograph. Most importantly, smile and be confident. You’ll be sure to come away with something special!


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