How To:
Take The Perfect Selfie

selfie
Syllabification: sel·fie
Pronunciation: /ˈselfē /
(also selfy)
NOUN (plural selfies)

• informal
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website

Source: Oxford Dictionaries.

Selfies are here to stay, so why not make the best of them… and perhaps capture a pretty photo of yourself, too. Today, I’m giving you all of the goods needed to take the perfect selfie (with minimal “cheesy” factor – hopefully).

1. Lighting. As with all photography, the selfie is most successful with proper lighting. I like it a bit blown out, sun streaks are ideal. It gives the photo an artsy feel. Not to mention, bright light – natural or otherwise – is your skin’s best friend. Over exposure, or the blown out effect, can conceal blemishes, wrinkles, under eye circles, and more. It’s almost better than actual concealer! As you can tell from my selfie, I’m really into the light leaks/ sun streaks (for the aforementioned reasons).

2. Angle. The angle of a selfie is key. While most faces aren’t completely symmetrical, you can fake symmetry with your photo angle. As a rule of thumb, never take your selfie from a smack dab head on location. A little to the left or a little to the right will benefit your features (and, for most, add a great cheekbone that even your finest contouring powder would be jealous of). Taking the photo from a low vantage point will increase the chances of a double chin (NO, THANK YOU). So, I suggest holding the camera (err, iPhone) from above to elongate your face ever-so-slightly.

3. Tilt. Just as you’re angling the camera, you’ll want to angle – or tilt – your face, too. The great thing about a selfie is that you don’t need a photographer present so you can “trial and error” the sh*t out of your photo shoot, tilting your head up/ down/ right/ left until you find your best side. I always, always, always tilt my chin slightly down and my head to the right.

4. Makeup. There are just as many ways to paint your face for a selfie as there are apps to filter it. It really depends on the mood – of you and your photo. Au natural selfies are quite the “thing” with the celeb set. Again, angles, tilts and good lighting definitely help. Tons of makeup looks too made up – and a selfie is a very spur of the moment photo (or so it is intended to be), you want to be… you (just… prettier). Try to focus on one feature – eyes or lips are usually the go-to, but I suppose you can play up other features too – hair, eyebrows, cleavage, etc. Regardless, you’ll want clean skin so foundation – or a tinted moisturizer, BB, CC, or Blur Cream – is vital. For the above selfie, I’m showcasing the new Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014 Classic Cream Lipstick (in this case, a classic red called Devil), so I left my eyes completely bare. For my complexion, I’m using Clinique’s CC Cream mixed with Kiehl’s BB Cream, my favorite combination for an even, glowing daytime complexion. And perfect for selfies as these creams never read as cakey makeup (a selfie faux pas).

5. Frame. Chances are, you are taking a selfie because you want to show off YOU. So, your face will take up most of the photo’s frame. Therefore, There are, of course, times when a beautiful sunset or an interesting backdrop act as inspiration for your selfie and, in these cases, you may want to consider focusing on the backdrop (hey, the Grand Canyon is cool!) and only putting a portion of your face in the photo. If you want a super CU (that’s close up for those not in the know), try cropping out part of your forehead and/ or hair. Sometimes, the feeling of matter (and movement) beyond the frame actually adds to the beauty of the shot. Note that the very top of my forehead and hair cannot be seen in my selfie. So very artistic of me…

6. Point. What’s the point of your selfie? Sure, you can snap a shot just because… but having a point, like showing off your new haircut, glasses, or lipstick shade, will make the selfie feel a bit less narcissistic and a bit more authentic. If you don’t have a point, fake it and caption your photo accordingly (example: You’re going to sleep and you think your skin looks great, post wash, tone, and moisturizer. Caption could read: New cream is a dream.. Night! Who doesn’t love a rhyme, and you’re giving your photo meaning — the moisturizer is the reason behind this completely pointless selfie). The point of my selfie: Dolce’s red hot red lipstick – a creamy consistency to pair with a shockingly glamorous shade. Check here to find out how I captioned it.

7. Filter. Ah, the magic of filters. You can make a photo taken in the dead of day look like “magic hour” (that coveted golden light). Or, a really bland photo can turn into a serious work of art by switching the color – sepia and black and white are ideal choices for the artsy selfie enthusiast. I’ll warn against overly filtering your photos as everyone can tell when a photo has been filtered-to-the-hilt, but then again, sometimes distorting the photo to the point of phoniness is exactly what a selfie calls for (after all, aren’t selfies rather unnatural anyway?).

8. Photo Apps – I’m using the app Camera + Pro ($2.99), one of my favorite photo manipulation apps because you can do it all – from adding a flash post-photo to filtering with a variety of options to cropping and rotating. For the selfie-obsessed, try Beauty Plus (free). It has a feature that gives you PERFECT SKIN from the moment you take the photo… it’s insane! Deluxe FX ($.99) is quite impressive as well. You can add colored filters that mimic sunset in places like Rio and Bondi. The app also has an overlay feature that allows you to manipulate the photo even further (this is what I’m talking about when I say over-filtering…) to have rain drops, sunbursts and light leaks. The result: a photo that looks nothing like the original! And then, of course, there’s good ol’ Instagram (Walden and Mayfair are two of my favorite filters).

Selfie Slideshow: I used Camera + for all of the above. 1) original 2) flash with a bit of vibrant 3) magic hour 4) hipster

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2 Comments

  1. Pamela
    June 5, 2014

    I like the third filter. What is that?

  2. beautybanter
    June 7, 2014

    Hi Pamela,

    I believe that that filter is “magic hour” from Camera +.

    xoxo
    Sarah

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