Who doesn’t want to look good on photographs? Still, there are some people that the camera loves them and then there are the rest of us. It has nothing to do with being ugly, don’t get me wrong. It is just that not all of us are photogenic; I am certainly not. When I look myself on any picture taken of me I instantly understand that the camera hates me.

Us, non-photogenic people, at some point accept our inability to look good in photographs and either avoid them completely or rarely take part in one. Since 2005, however, we have to deal with an extra type of photography frenzy, a special kind of self-portrait, that if you do not know how to master can become your worst nightmare, the “selfie”.

A selfie is an informal picture of yourself with or without anyone else in the frame, taken usually with a smart phone held at arm’s length. This type of photograph has become so popular that almost everyone wants to take one, even at the most inappropriate time; we all remember the Obama selfie at Mandela’s memorial service.

selfieUsually, the point of a selfie is to be posted on some form of social media, like Twitter or Facebook. This automatically means that in order to make a photo of yourself viral, it needs to be a good one. Yet, are you one of those that whenever they tried to take a selfie ended up in complete disaster? If yes, then you are in for a big treat as there is a way to take a good selfie and here are the steps to help you do it.

1. Know your angles.

Even photogenic people have bad sides, that does not mean though that everyone else should know about them. Shooting your selfie from above makes you look slimmer, tilt your head slightly for a more playful look, stick your neck out a little to avoid having a bulge under your chin. Find how you look best and go with that.

2. Good light is essential.

Correct light is an important factor which determines the quality of a photograph and there is nothing better than natural light. Still, there will be times that you will like to take a selfie indoors or at night. If so, you need to remember that you should avoid direct overhead light as it will make your face dark. It is best to have forward-facing light as it will make your skin look more even.

3. Try a natural look, but a bit of makeup won’t hurt either.

Haven’t you seen all the celebrities posting their just-got-out-of-bed selfies? I am sure you have and this latest trend appeared because they want the world to see their “real them”. Of course, you need to bare in mind that all those celebrities do not literally take a photo the minute they wake up. They do some “minor” adjustments first, like using light makeup and of course washing their face as water makes you look more radiant. So, why not try to capture the “real you” too?

taking selfie4. Don’t be shy, be confident.

Don’t be afraid to look sexy, puzzled, happy or sad and most importantly do not be shy. Do your best to look as natural as possible. Taking a selfie should be fun and that is exactly how you should feel while taking one.

5. Be careful of the background.

Your selfie should be taken with the background in mind. Your kitchen full of unwashed dishes isn’t the best place, is it? Nor is it a supermarket, or your bathroom. Unless, of course, you want to state something in particular regarding the background.

6. Use your phone’s rear camera when possible.

Most smart phones have two cameras, one in front and one in the back. The one at the back has a much greater resolution so choose to take your selfie using that. Of course, that means that you will not be able to see the picture that you are taking and this takes us to the next step…

7. Take a number of selfies until you end up with the one you like the best.

If you think when you look at someone else’s perfect selfie that it was a one-off capture you are mistaken. The more pictures you take the more you have to choose from, so in order to end up with one you really like, just take as many as you like.

8. A touch of editing is always welcome, as well as the use of filters.

looking at mirror There are many smart-phone photo editing tools that give you the option to edit your photographs, like Instagram or Retrica. Feel free to crop out part of the picture, use a filter to make you glow or add a frame and funny sketches. It is your photograph and you can do whatever you like.

9. No mirrors allowed.

A selfie means that you are in front and “back” of the camera which can make it quite tricky to capture what you want. Still, using a mirror to help you is not the best option. Either don’t take the picture or ask someone to help you. Having your phone in the picture is definitely not cool.

10. You need to practice, a lot.

Unless you are a professional photographer, you need to spend time practising in order to succeed. Don’t feel depressed if your first, second, third,… attempts fail. Perseverance will get you the result you seek in the end.


Do you have any other useful tips and techniques towards the perfect selfie? We would love to hear from you.

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Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original alwaysladies.com founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.

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