Selfies are everywhere. Over 1,000 of them get posted to Instagram every 10 seconds, with billions a year uploaded to Google. But what if you aren’t particularly good at them?
And because nailing the perfect selfie isn’t easy … it’s about the right combination of light, angle, setting, and photo filters I’ve rounded up tips from Rodan + Fields staff members and Allure Editors who specialize in getting models and civilians to put their best face forward.
If there’s one piece of advice you should take from Kim Kardashian, it’s this: When it comes to selfies, keep your chin down and the camera up. The way you hold your smartphone when taking a photo makes a world of difference. When taking a selfie, hold the phone so that the bottom of it is level with your eyes. This angle is thinning, and you avoid looking as if you have a double chin. A selfie stick just might be your secret weapon, as it helps create angles you can’t achieve with your arms. Furthermore, you probably shouldn’t stare directly into the camera. Most people don’t look their best straight-on. Turn to the side a little bit — not to the point where it’s a full-on profile, but just slightly.
As vlogger Jordan Liberty puts it, “Light is undoubtedly the best beauty product you don’t have to pay for.” Find natural light, either outside or near a window … Turn toward the light to illuminate your face, then take your selfie. Another thing you can do is take a piece of white paper and hold it underneath your chin, which creates a natural bounce of light, illuminates the face, and also reduces the double-chin effect. Also, indoor fluorescent lighting is not your friend. If it’s your only option, you also may want to skip the selfie. The golden hour to shoot a photo is during sunrise or sunset, when the light is low and the most beautiful. If it’s the middle of the day and the sun is high, the shadows can look like bags under your eyes.
The clothes you choose for your selfie can help — or hinder — the final result. “Wear a solid color and avoid patterns,” says Creative Director Zoe Roman, who is in charge of our R+F photo shoots. Prints and logos can be distracting, as are colors that contrast too starkly with the background. Choose a shade that flatters you and coordinates with your surroundings, and watch the likes add up.
Mastering the right expression, one that looks natural and not like you’re trying too hard (even if you are!) is the hardest part of taking a selfie. If you’re with a friend who makes you genuinely smile or laugh, ask them to tell you a joke or say something funny. Natural emotion tends to photograph better than anything staged. Keep your eyes shut until the moment before you take the shot … Expressions look best when they’re fresh. And as silly as it may sound, practice your expressions in the mirror until you find a few you like. When it’s time for a photo, you’ll be able to easily reach into your arsenal and know just what to do.
Press record on the video option instead and pose away. After a minute or two of this, you can scroll through the video and freeze a frame with the best selfie. It sounds silly, but you can actually pull out the best selfie poses this way (and no one will ever know the difference!).
While we’re all for editing and filtering, don’t adjust your selfie to the point that it looks unnatural. When editing, use a really light touch. It’s easy to get carried away. If you’re using a filter, you also have the option to not use it at max capacity. Instead of just selecting a photo filter on Instagram, click on the filter itself (Amaro, Valencia, etc.) until a sliding bar comes up. Then you can reduce the severity of the filter, making the photo appear a little less edited.
Remember, as with many things in life, practice makes perfect — and in no time you’ll be sharing selfies with the best of them.
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