Ahh, the world of self portrait photography. You’ve bought the latest and greatest smartphone with a world-class camera. You’ve got your smile on and the lighting is perfect. Perhaps you ask someone passing by to snap a photo. Or maybe you opt for a selfie. Doesn’t matter, either way you’re feeling good. This is going to be a great photo. Three. Two. One. Say cheese!
Only, when you head to look at the images you just took, the picture looks terrible. Suddenly, you’re trying to remember where the delete option is. Why does this image not work?
What is it with selfie photography photos? So many of them turn out poorly. Unfortunately, taking great photos requires more than a great camera and a nice smile. If you want to take better selfie photos, you can follow the tips outlined below.
Top 10 Selfie Photography Tips for 2020:
1. Get the Right Camera Gear
First, the quality of your photo will depend heavily on the quality of your camera. You don’t need a high-end DSLR camera either. Many smartphones are already equipped with fantastic cameras. Check reviews for your current phone, how is the camera regarded?
If you’ve got a Google Pixel or Apple phone, you’re already good to go. Many other phones offer great cameras as well. If the camera on your phone is highly regarded, you’re off to a great start. If not? You’ll probably have to pick up a new phone or a stand-alone camera before you get great shots.
In the meantime, however, the tips below will help even if your camera is subpar. For the most part, just make sure that your camera is up to date. If it isn’t, you’re going to be fighting against it way too hard.
2. Know What Angles Work Best For You
Different people look better from different angles. By getting the angle right, you can soften less attractive features (say a larger than desired nose) while highlighting your best features, such as your eyes and smile.
Our faces are rarely symmetrical. People often have a “better looking” side of their face. Try to figure out which side of your face is most photogenic. Also, go through all of your old photos. Are your best-looking photos consistently from certain angles? If so, those angles might be the angles that work best for you. Try taking images from different vertical and horizontal heights, creating a grid of images. Find which areas work better for you!
3. Pay Close Attention to the Lighting
Lighting makes a huge difference for your photos. Flash cameras sometimes look bad unless in skilled hands. Instead of flashes, you may want lighting to come from the environment. Specifically, lighting behind you or the subjects to be photographed usually works best.
You also don’t want to stand directly underneath a light. That rarely produces good results. Feel free to experiment with lighting levels, hues, and more. Look at how multiple lights work differently than singular lights, and see what might work best for you.
4. Get Your Posture Right
Next, you need to get your posture right. First, make sure you’re standing tall and proud. You don’t have to have NBA height to look tall and confident in a photograph either. Stretching out your neck and pushing your head forward slightly can also help you slim down a bit. Lowering your jaw and tightening it can make your face seem more cut, while doing the opposite can soften features.
Make sure you’re relaxed as well. Many people tense up the moment a photograph is taken. You’ll look stiff and lacking in confidence. So relax! You got this. When you relax your face, feel your eyes lose some tension. That means you are relaxed and the images will come out better.
5. Clean Backgrounds Often Work Best
Sometimes a really busy background leads to an amazing photograph. Yet most of the time you’ll be better served by a clean, simple background that isn’t so busy. This way, the focus is on you. Eyes will be drawn right to you, which is what you want, right?
You can simply find a clean, white or light-colored wall. As you gain experience taking photos, you’ll start to recognize busy backgrounds that could work well. That’s great but if you’re struggling right now, keep the background clean and simple.
6. Photograph From Above, Not Below
When you’re taking a selfie, raising your camera above you a bit is a great way to get a better shot. Generally, photos from below don’t turn out so well. Sometimes photos at eye level turn out great but shots from above are the most reliable.
From above, you’ll get more of your hair, eyebrows, and eye lashes. Feel free to experiment but remember that a higher angle usually produces the best results. Additionally, you can move your lower jaw forward and remove your under-chin from view.
7. Tidy Up Your Hair, Makeup, and Clothing
Speaking of hair, make sure it’s in good order. Hair can have a will of its own and stray strands can ruin otherwise great shots. If you take a photo and notice your hair is out of sorts, clean it up. Make sure that, if you are wearing makeup, it is done how you want it to look. When wearing make up, check how the light reflects off of it. It might reflect differently than your skin. Use a matte duller to correct this. Wearing a collared shirt? Make sure the collar is set right. Accessories of all kinds need to look right. If your teeth will be in the image, make sure they are clean. A piece of spinach can ruin an otherwise beautiful smile.
8. Try Different Filters
Filters can really make a photo pop. Natural filters often work best but feel free to experiment. Usually, you can remove the filter if you don’t like the results. Consider the background, your clothing, and the lighting, among other things, when selecting a filter.
There are tons of filter programs available on the web. While many of them are paid, many offer free trials. Find the software that works best for you.
9. Take Your Photos as the Night Begins, Not When It Ends
Heading out to a party? Enjoying a night at the club? Have fun! If you want great photos, however, it’s best to start snapping sooner rather than later. Your hair, makeup, and clothing will still be in good order at the start of the night. You’re less likely to be sweaty as well. Further, if you’re drinking, it often shows in your eyes, if not in your body language. So take your photos while you’re still fresh – you can always post them tomorrow!
10. Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, practice, practice, practice! The more photos you take, the more you’ll learn. Over time, you’ll find the lighting, angles, backgrounds, and other elements that work best specifically for you.
Try to take at least a few photographs each day. Then, study the results. What works? Are there common elements in the photos you like, such as a particular angle? Take note and when you take more photos implement what you learned. Make use of Instagram or your friends, subject them to telling you when your images are good, and when they aren’t. They will know what makes you, you!
There you have it! Follow the ten above tips and you’ll be well on your way to better photos and selfies.