Selfies are notoriously difficult to master. (It’s why you take 5,000 shots and only post two of them.)
Not only are you your own worst critic, it’s tough to get the perfect angle and lighting when you’re the one controlling everything.
But celebrities and photography experts have a few secrets that’ll help you get a cute selfie every time.
Here are 11 tips on how to take a good selfie.
1. Light It Up!
It’s the #1 rule in photography: lighting, lighting lighting!
Whether you have too much of it or not enough, the wrong angle or type, the lighting you use can make or break any photo. So before you take that selfie, make sure your lighting is spot-on.
Morning and evening tend to have the best light, as it’s softer and more diffuse. Harsh sun can cast shadows and cause squinting (no one’s best look!), so pick a cloudy day or stand a few feet away from a window to get the best effect.
If there’s not a cloud in sight, try blocking the sun with your head. It creates a gorgeous “halo” effect that can make for an amazing selfie. If there’s no light, a clip-on phone light can work wonders.
2. Less Is More
When it comes to the background for your selfie, less is definitely more. (So get out of the bathroom!)
A chaotic background and other visual clutter will make your photos look unprofessional. Plus, they take the attention away from the most important part of the picture: you!
Find a simple background so that it complements you rather than competes with you. A wall full of other pictures is a no-go; a patterned wallpaper with nothing else is great.
If you can’t find the perfect background (but you’re really feeling yourself that day), cut it out altogether and just go with a close-up or throw a black-and-white filter over it.
3. Chill Out
Tensing up during your selfie will just make you look awkward. So take a chill pill and relax before you take that shot.
Drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, shift your head forward slightly (this will get rid of that double chin), and let out a deep exhale.
Having a more relaxed selfie makes you look more confident, not to mention more cool.
4. Smile Like You Mean It
You want to look great in your selfie, not like a kid who was just told to say “cheese.”
So here’s a tip on getting a natural looking smile: laugh.
Professional photographers use this trick to avoid the dreaded “I’ve-been-smiling-so-long-my-face-hurts” syndrome. (Don’t forget to smile with your eyes!)
But even a forced, fake laugh looks genuine on camera. So think of your favorite joke (or meme) and get that cute selfie!
5. Best Foot Forward
Or nose…or eyes….
It’s common knowledge among professional photographers that whatever is closest to the camera will look the most pronounced. So use this to your advantage.
If you love your jaw line, tilt your head back slightly and angle your camera towards your profile. If you hate your nose, don’t point look straight at the camera.
6. Switch It Up
We all have a favorite go-to pose. But remember: lighting, hairstyles, clothing, and even your mood can all make a huge difference in the outcome of your selfie, so don’t expect to have success with the same pose every time. (Besides, that’s just boring!)
Try out lots of different poses, angles, and facial expressions during your selfie session. Who knows? You might find a new favorite!
7. Know Your “Good Side”
Full-on photos exaggerate any asymmetry in your face (plus, they tend to look like mug shots).
If you aren’t sure which side of your face is the “good” one, take a few test shots of each side and compare. If it’s too hard to tell, stand in front of the mirror and hold a sheet of paper over each side of your face.
Knowing which is your good side will come in handy any time your picture is taken, like at family reunions or a trip to the photo booth at your cousin’s wedding.
8. The Magic Angle
When all else fails, give the Magic Angle a try.
Looking down at your phone is one of the most unflattering angles of them all. Instead, hold the camera level with your face or slightly higher. Turn your head to the side (your good one!) and keep your chin slightly down. This pose is guaranteed to make you look like a celebrity!
9. Action Shot
Do you usually end up with a hundred photos that are almost perfect?
If you frequently take pictures just a second too early or late, try taking your selfie in burst mode. You’ll get plenty of options to choose from and you can pick the best one.
Alternatively, take a video selfie and screenshot your favorite frame.
10. Turn It Around
Your iPhone has two cameras, but one of them is better than the other.
For a better quality pic, flip your phone around and use the back camera. You’ll feel a bit like you’re flying blind without the screen to show you want you look like, but this is the digital age. You can always delete the ones you don’t like.
No, we don’t mean duck face!
In this case, K.I.S.S. stands for “Keep It Super Short.” Selfie sessions tend to run away with themselves and, before you know it, you’ve filled up your storage and maxed out your patience.
If you find yourself getting frustrated that you aren’t getting the look you want, take a break and try again later. Your phone could probably use a charge, anyway.
Photo Booths Are Always Flattering!
As fun as selfies are, we think it’s a lot more fun to have a robot take them for you!
Inside a photo booth, you don’t have to worry about lighting or background. The lighting is always bright and flattering, the backgrounds are simple and fun, and the camera quality is fantastic. Not to mention the fantastic props!
Plus, when you’re partying at an event, everyone is dressed to kill and in a great mood, so all those smiles are legitimate.