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Can you take a selfie? Of course. Everybody can. But do you have what it takes to shoot a really good, flattering picture of yourself? That’s a trickier skill to master.
Being able to take good selfies can prove useful in various situations. Say you go traveling on your own and want to bring home something more than just pictures of landscapes. Self-portraits are also a good way of following your own progress, seeing the way your style and appearance changes over the years.
This may come as a surprise to you, but there’s actually some science behind taking good selfies. But science isn’t the solution to everything. So here are some practical selfie tips that you should try out next time you take a selfie using your phone.
1. Mind Your Composition
Like with any other type of picture, your selfie will turn out better if you learn how to compose a photograph. Instead of centering your face, use the rule of thirds to position yourself in the shot.
Another way to achieve a better angle for your selfie is to shoot it from above. It’ll emphasize your eyes and make your face seem smaller. Be careful not to go too high so the photo doesn’t get distorted. Hold the camera just above eye level.
You can make your photo more artistic by taking a picture in a different way. Try taking a profile shot from the side or hiding a part (of half) of your face. You can also zoom in on your eyes, mouth, or cheek to empathize different parts of your face.
2. Find Your Flattering Poses
This is a skill that might come after some practice, but knowing your most flattering poses as well as facial expressions is important for a good self-portrait. Practice taking a few pictures of your face from different angles to find out which one you prefer.
There are also a few universal tips that you can use to make sure you appear natural and candid on your pictures. Like pulling your shoulders down and back to improve your posture. Or looking away from the camera to avoid any awkwardness and make your selfie more interesting.
Selfie tips can only take you so far when it comes to the best selfie poses. You’ll need to experiment for yourself.
3. Use Your Surroundings
Whether you’re shooting in your bedroom or in a park, you should always try and make the best use of what’s around you.
Try and look for anything that could provide some framing for your photo. If you’re indoors, that could be the corner of a room, a doorway, or even your own arms. Try holding your smartphone with both hands instead of one, or place one of your hands on or under your chin. Anything to help frame the bottom of your photo.
When choosing your surroundings, make sure it’s not messy and doesn’t have any undesirable objects (or too many people) in the background.
4. Play With the Light
Making use of natural light is always the best option when shooting photos. If you’re inside, try taking selfies near a window. However, make sure to avoid direct sunlight, as it’s often not very flattering.
If you have to use light that isn’t natural, try and avoid using overhead lighting. Switch overhead lights off and instead use lamps for a better light effect.
Selfie Tips for Shooting With a DSLR
Contrary to popular belief, shooting self-portraits with your DSLR isn’t any stranger than taking selfies with your smartphone camera. A lot of advice mentioned above still applies, but due to the use of different equipment, you’ll have to keep a few extra things in mind.
5. Choose Your Equipment
When shooting self-portraits with a DSLR you’ll need a few extra pieces of equipment. A tripod being the most important one. This will give you a steady mount for your camera and certain flexibility for you. Don’t own a tripod yet? Check out our tripod buying guide for beginners for choosing the one that suits you best.
Some other equipment you might find useful (but not essential) includes a remote and a flash. The first one will save you lots of time and effort, especially as some of the remotes are wireless. As for the flash, if you don’t own one, you can use natural light or pick up a cheap work light to get you started.
6. Pay Attention to Framing
We covered this already, but when using your DSLR and a tripod to take your pictures you have more freedom and possibility to take full advantage of what’s around you. Use the natural lines that you can find, like corners, doorways, walls, stairs, trees, bushes, and even horizon line to help you frame your selfie.
7. Use Both Auto and Manual Focus
Before you place yourself in the picture, focus on your stand-in object using auto-focus. With the object still in focus, switch your lens to manual mode. This will give you the freedom to tweak and change some settings while maintaining your point of focus.
Don’t forget to mark your point of focus and stand in exactly the right place when you take a photo.
8. Make Timer Mode and Burst Mode Your Best Friends
If you don’t have a remote for your camera, you’ll have to use timer—a very handy tool when it comes to taking pictures of yourself. Set your timer for long enough to ensure you’ve got enough time to get in position and figure out what you’re doing in the shot.
Chances are, you won’t get your desired picture at first. Thankfully, your camera should have a continuous shooting mode (or burst mode) that should become your other best friend. Even if all you need is one photo, it’s a good idea to snap multiple photos so that you’ve got a range to choose from.
Learn to Love Your Selfies
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Yes, there was a time when people were hating on selfies and the people who took them. But really, no one should be telling you what kind of pictures you should and shouldn’t take.
Self-portraits have proven to be a fun way to capture moments of your life, as long as you don’t over share them to the point of annoying friends and family.
So what are you waiting for? Get our your DSLR or smartphone and make use of our selfie tips, and you too could get that selfie to go viral.