Once upon a time, the ubiquitous selfie was considered the domain of either the hopelessly self-absorbed or the very young. Here in 2017, selfies have earned a new reputation as an art form all their own. They’ve most certainly become a legitimate way for absolutely anyone to express themselves and share their point of view with the rest of the world.
Even so, there are selfies and then there are good selfies. Whether or not you consider yourself serious about photography, you still want images that make an impression and make an impact. Here are some must-know tips for taking fantastic selfies that always make the grade.
- Experiment a bit with angles.
Taking a great selfie isn’t a lot different from capturing a fantastic portrait of any other type. People really do have their good sides. Most also look better from some angles than they do others. Last but not least, showing off your “best” side is generally a lot more interesting from a composition standpoint than a head-on shot is going to be.
Try a few different options on for size and make a note of the ones that really work for you for future reference. Also make sure to pay attention to the placement of your shoulders. As with your actual face, your shoulders often look better or more interesting if turned a bit to one side or the other.
- Understand that lighting matters.
When it comes to factors that make all the difference between a terrific photo and one that’s not so great, lighting tops the list. That said, it’s a common misconception that dim or illusory lighting is the most flattering when it comes to your looks. Quite the opposite, actually!
The next time it’s selfie time, try standing right in the light and seeing what a massive difference it makes. Natural light is best, so go outside or stand near a window. Check out a few different angles and note how each one illuminates you differently.
It’s also worth noting that the golden hours (one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset) aren’t just the best times for capturing landscapes to perfection. They’re the best possible times to take your next set of selfies as well. Try it and see!
- Pay attention to the rule of thirds.
Most photography enthusiasts are familiar with the rule of thirds when it comes to putting together excellent compositions. They may even observe it religiously when it comes to the great majority of the pictures they take. They also tend to forget all about it when it’s selfie time and they really shouldn’t.
Instead of placing your face right smack in the center of your next selfie composition, try situating it in the upper right or left hand corner instead. Make sure your eye line is about a third of the way down from the top of the frame as well.
- Let your selfie tell a story.
Some people don’t just like taking selfies. They love it. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, it’s important to make sure your photo stream doesn’t become a broken record. Even the most devoted followers can get tired of seeing what feels like the same exact photo over and over again.
If you like taking frequent or even daily selfies, try using them to tell the viewer something new about what’s going on in your life these days. Just got new glasses or a new haircut? Set your selfie up to show it off to perfection. Having a great day out with your new best friend? Make her part of the shot in an interesting way. Fun accessories like wigs, props, or sunglasses are easy ways to switch things up as well. Just aim to make each selfie its own entity in one way or another.
- Try a close crop on for size.
A lot of selfies fall flat because people are so focused on how they look that they don’t even consider the background. Backgrounds that are busy or distracting can kill even the most epic self-portrait! Still more selfies fail to cut it because you can totally tell the person in the photo is also the one holding the phone or camera.
A good, tasteful close crop can solve both of these common problems. Avoid actually holding the phone much closer to your face to achieve this effect though. (You can wind up enlarging your features in an unflattering way.) Instead, zoom in slightly and hold your phone further away.
- Capture yourself doing something interesting.
When it comes to standard portraits, photos of the subject doing something interesting are often a million times more interesting than stiff, boring, over-posed shots. This is often the case for selfies as well.
Instead of taking yet another bathroom mirror shot, why not shoot yourself doing something awesome instead? Head for the woods or the park and snag a selfie in front of your favorite spot. Hit the beach with your friends, wait for a moment when the energy’s just right, and take a selfie in front of the water or your picnic spread. Snag a selfie in front of the venue with the marquee visible the next time you’re about to hit the concert of a lifetime. You get the picture.
- Get creative with your selfies.
Who says selfies always have to be photos of your face? One of the hottest (and easiest) ways to insert yourself into a killer shot these days is to let your feet do the talking instead. Foot shots are an awesome way to draw attention to that new pair of kicks you just bought as well.
You don’t have to stop at your feet when it comes to embracing alternative selfies either. How about a shot that includes your freshly polished nails or your wearable fitness tracker? Shadows and reflections are great options as well. Just keep your eyes open for fresh new ways to capture your wonderful self and you’ll find they’re actually everywhere.