They say that for every good selfie posted to Facebook and Instagram, there are dozens of nearly identical selfies that didn’t make the cut. That’s pretty much true, unless you learn the angles and lighting tricks needed to get it right the first, second or third time.
Because I do makeup looks of the day for my Instagram account, I take plenty of selfies. (Shameless plug: I’m Makeup_Plus_50 on Instagram.) But it doesn’t take me long to get the photo of the day because I’ve learned these five things:
1. When holding your phone or camera, make sure it’s slightly above eye level. If you have any kind of double chin at all, photos taken straight on or (God forbid) from below chin level will exaggerate the chin issue and also make your face look fatter.
2. Along the same lines, don’t “turtle” your neck by pulling it in. Extend your chin forward a bit to elongate your jawline. Again, this is especially important if you have a double chin or wattle.
3. Know your angles. Our faces aren’t symmetrical, so most of us really do have a better side. Most of my photos are angled toward the right side of my face, which is younger-looking and fuller than the left. However, when I’m going for chiseled and elegant, I shoot from the left side.
4. Find your light. When you get ready to take a photo, look at yourself on your camera screen from several different angles to find the most flattering light. I personally use my front porch for photos. Depending on the time of day, I get the best light while sitting on my front porch steps or by standing at the edge of the front porch, looking toward the sun from just under the edge of the porch roof. I also find that the light varies by time of day: Morning photos have a cooler tone and evening photos have a golden wash.
5. Beware photo touch-up apps. There are plenty of apps on Android and ITunes that allow you to “clean up” your photos, but don’t go crazy with them. There is nothing wrong with zapping a pimple or an under-eye shadow, but don’t go wild with Photoshop. You want to look like yourself, not like a cartoon version of yourself. And for goodness sake, avoid the apps that allow you to add makeup to your photos. It may look fine in thumbnail-sized photos but it’s obvious and pixilated when the photos are enlarged!
The bottom line is that everyone can take a good selfie if they follow a few simple “rules.” It’s all about angles, light and composition.
Bonus tip: Want your eyes to look great in a selfie? Think about something that makes them come alive. I always pretend my eyes are sending a message to someone I love!