#1 Familiarise Yourself with Your Face
The first step to taking the perfect selfie is to familiarise yourself with your face. We’ve all got favourite (and not so favourite…) features, so it’s vital to recognise and emphasize them.
For example, if you’ve got a very pronounced nose (like me), profile shots (side-on) are going to draw some serious attention to it. Don’t want that? Opt for front on or 3/4th angle selfie instead. If one of your eyebrows is generally perfect while the other always looks wonky (we’ve all been there!), tilt your face to showcase your favourite brow. Got a cute freckle you want to show off? Make sure it’s in the frame. It’s as simple as highlighting your best qualities to make sure you get a pic you love.
Tip: You’re not going to learn what works best for you overnight, so put in the time to experiment with what makes you look best.
#2 Avoid Unflattering Angles
Everyone is different, which is why it’s so important to familiarise yourself with the unique structure of your face. However, there are a few universally unflattering selfie angles you should learn to avoid at all costs. The biggest offender is the dreaded low angle selfie. Taking a selfie from below creates a supremely unforgiving double chin effect, even if you’re not carrying any extra weight. It can also give you the illusion of a giant moon face. Same day, same makeup, but in the ‘bad angle’ shot, your face can look bloated.
Again, experimentation is key. Some ladies look great in landscape view while others really shine in portrait mode. Don’t be afraid to wave your camera around to find your best angle. It’s nothing your neighbours haven’t seen before.
Tip: For a sultry effect, hold your camera slightly above your face and point it downwards, making eye-contact with the camera from beneath your lashes. But if you want to look cute, come closer to the camera to give the illusion of a rounder face and larger eyes.
#3 Check Yourself Out
It doesn’t matter how good your camera is or how familiar you are with your best angles if your makeup is smudged or you’ve got lipstick on your teeth. Don’t get so caught up in the bigger picture that you forget to check yourself out before you press the snapshot button. I once had a picture up for weeks before realising it looked like I had a nose bleed in certain lighting! Awkward.
Tip: Looking at yourself on a brightly lid LCD screen can give you a false sense of security, so it’s best to break out a compact mirror for a closer look.
#4 Do a Background Check
From naked spouses ironing to tampons lying on the dresser, we’ve all seen a selfie with a very unfortunate background before. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a shovel (see above) can ruin the composition of your shot and take attention away from your gorgeous self. Save yourself the embarrassment by doing a background check before snapping your photo.
Tip: Landscape shots make it notoriously easy for unwanted objects to slip into the frame. If you want to play it safe, portrait shots will showcase more of you and less of your background.
#5 Embrace Natural Light Sources
A huge part of taking a good photo is selecting an appropriate light source. Taking a fabulous selfie is no different. Where possible, opt for natural light, as the camera flash can wash out colours and render them inaccurate. The glaring light from a flash can also give you a shiny looking forehead, because your skin’s natural oils are reflected back at the camera. This creates the “I just dipped my face in a vat of oil” effect you see above left.
Tip: Generally, you’ll get the best shot if you shoot with the light source in front of you. However, too much direct sunlight is a sure-fire way to get an over exposed photo. You don’t want to be so bright that your features melt away.
#6 Love the Skin You’re In
One of the best ways to take a great selfie is to relax. It sounds obvious, but most of us are only too good at picking flaws with ourselves. If you’re feeling unattractive when you take your selfies, your lack of confidence will make you appear wooden and unnatural. Worse still, you’ll be hyper critical of the results. Fifty deleted photos later and you’ll be left feeling worse than when you started.
Tip: If you’re having a low self-esteem day, don’t go through your pictures straight away. Keep them on the camera overnight and revisit them when you’re in a better frame of mind. Even better, have a loved one select their favourite snap of you. They’ll notice all the gorgeous things about you that you don’t, from the cute quirk of your lips to the brightness in your eyes.
#7 Take Tips from the Stars
If anyone knows how to take a good selfie, it’s celebrities. So, for selfie inspiration, take note of your favourite celeb’s hottest poses. Does she smile? Which way does she tilt her head? How does she highlight her best features? Don’t forget that stars also rely on camera-ready makeup. Do a little research on the best makeup products and techniques for photography if you really want to take your selfies to the next level.
Tips: If you’re like me and only have a closed-mouth smile or a maniacal clown smile, fear not. The lovely Liz Hurley recently explained that placing your tongue just behind your upper front teeth can help you achieve a smile that’s wide enough to look happy without looking gummy or overzealous.
#8 Don’t be Afraid to Edit
Let’s get this straight: there is nothing wrong with editing your photos. You want to put forward the best version of yourself, so if you’ve got red-eye going on and a zit the size of a small country on your forehead, it’s perfectly acceptable to indulge in a little bit of post-production touching up. Editing, however, can be a slippery slope. Don’t turn into that person who breaks out the liquify tool to slim their entire face or enlarge their eyes. You don’t need that. You’re beautiful as you are.
Tip: Almost everyone looks better in sepia or black and white. Filters are your friends, but don’t abuse them.
#9 Practice Makes Perfect
As with all things, taking the perfect selfie isn’t a ‘skill’ you develop overnight. It takes a while to familiarise yourself with your best angles, most flattering light source and favourite pose. So, don’t feel silly about taking a batch of 50 photos and only selecting one. The more photos you take, the more likely you are to find one that you feel really represents you.
In the end, we’re not taking selfies for our friends. We’re taking selfies to remind ourselves that we were here, we were alive and we were happy in the moment. That’s what the perfect selfie should achieve. Of course, a few Facebook likes wouldn’t go astray either!
With these 9 tried and true tips, you should be well on your way to taking a perfect selfie. But if all else fails, completely ditch the tips and just have fun with it! It doesn’t matter if the lighting is terrible and your hair’s a mess as long as you love your photo.
What are your tips for how to take the perfect selfie?