Remember when we were told that selfies were just a fad that would soon disappear, sort of like the flash mob? Well, instead of dying out, the selfie has evolved. Nowadays, taking a selfie is easier than ever. But taking a great selfie, a selfie so amazing that it silences your inner critic, is not so easy. If you want to stand out on Instagram, first you need to learn the art and science of selfies.
What works for one person may not work for you. The key is, like with most things, to practice, practice, and practice some more. After a while, your best look will reveal itself to the camera.
Before you get started, check out these 15 tips:
1. Seize the Daylight
The key to a great selfie is great lighting. The most flattering and flawless selfies are taken when you’re drenched in beautiful light. It could be anytime, really, though the hour after sunrise and before sunset are ideal. The best thing is to experiment. Take a bunch of selfies throughout the day, mostly outside – if you shoot inside, position yourself near a window.
2. Give Your Face a Rest
Your face is beautiful, don’t get us wrong. But occasionally try mixing things up. A selfie that emphasizes your legs and feet provides a totally different perspective and will get more eyeballs simply because it’s unique.
3. Invest in a Quality Phone-Camera
Both the new iPhone 7 Plus and the LG V20 feature a dual camera system; look for the other phone makers to jump on this bandwagon in the future. The LG V20, we should point out, comes with a front-facing selfie camera! Samsung, Nexus, and Motorola phones also have awesome cameras. Do your research!
4. The Secret to Selfies
In the past, there was always a cruel irony. At the very moment that you most wanted to take a selfie (think a funky bar or trendy club), there wasn’t enough light. No worries now – the LuMee phone case, which includes LEDs along its side, illuminates a user’s face with warm, beautiful light. Kim Kardashian calls her LuMee case the secret to her picture-perfect selfies. But it’s not a secret anymore!
5. Avoid Clichés
If you want to stand out on Instagram, it’s about being different. Do the same old tired selfie, with your extended arm in the pic, and you’re going to put your fans and followers to sleep. Try posing with something different or new, like a cool pair of shades or the latest gadget. Snap a pic when you’re engaged in a fun activity, like snorkeling or mountain climbing.
Not sure when smiling went out of vogue and became uncool, but we say, bring back the smile! In too many selfies, people are trying too hard to look hip or hardened, or sexy and seductive, that it’s become laughable. For a change, show your followers a genuine, beautiful smile, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the response.
7. Don’t be Stingy
They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any subject. So, to become an expert selfie-taker, ala Kim Kardashian, how many pics will it take? Who knows, but the more, the better. Take several selfies at a time, and at least one will be a keeper.
8. Photo Editing Software
Authenticity is so yesterday. If you’re not happy with your look, then you can have your flaws removed – all without surgery! Photo enhancement apps like FaceTune will smooth your skin and whiten your teeth. Retrica and Snapseed offer an array of photo filters (but don’t overdo it!). And if you forgot to put on your lipstick or eye makeup, you can do it after taking your selfie – just go to YouCam Makeup. Simply wipe away your imperfections with the right app, and you’re good to go.
For a one-of-a-kind selfie, add an accessory or two that brings out your personality, like a hat, shades, or a funky wig. Sure, it’s nice to take a selfie and you just know, “Damn, I look good!” But don’t let vanity get in the way of having fun with it, because that’s what it’s all about.
A way to avoid the cliché selfie is to snap a pic as you are walking. A little motion gives your pic a more candid, dynamic and natural feel.
11. Seize the Stick
Yes, you risk looking like a total dork, but if your goal is to take the optimal selfie, then it’s time to get over it and embrace the selfie stick. The fresh angles and perspectives are more than worth it, plus no more outstretched arms in your selfies!
12. Don’t Take It Too Seriously
One day you’re up, the next day you’re down. Just like in life, there’s going to be good selfie days and bad selfie days on Instagram. Best to stay even, and not get too elated or too bummed.
13. Cropping Is Not a Crime
It’s great to add props and accessories to your selfies, but don’t hesitate to cut out anything in the background that might be distracting. Now the focus can be, as it should be, on you and your beautiful smile.
14. Pass on the Pout
We think it’s time to retire the practiced pout. and send it to the selfie museum, so future generations can learn from our mistakes. But, if you insist on whispering “prune,” as Kim Kardashian advises, then by all means, go girl!
15. Experiment with Different Angles
One of the keys to taking a great selfie is to experiment with different angles and perspectives. Should you snap the selfie from an upward angle or from below? No one can agree. Some insist that the most flattering selfies are taken from above, which emphasizes your eyes, makes your face appear more angular, and avoids the double chin effect.
Other people, including some models, suggest that you keep your phone face-level and actually bring it closer to your face (Right, easy for a model to say!). Tyra Banks, on the other hand, only shoots from below.
What should you do?
Experiment. Find out what works for you, and what doesn’t. And when you’ve found your formula, share your selfie with the world, or at least with your world! But most of all, have fun with it.