The Selfie: Tips For Taking Great Smartphone Self-Portraits

January 17, 2014

the selfie

One of the most popular hobbies among smartphone owners is taking pictures of themselves or what we commonly call as ‘selfy’. Oxford Dictionary defines selfie or selfies as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Although it looks simple, taking a self-portrait requires a few skills. Below are some tips for taking a great selfie.

Watch the Lighting

As in any photograph, lighting is essential. Natural light is preferable when taking self-portraits, as it creates a glowing effect on the skin. Window lighting can also work well since that light is often soft, filtered and flattering. Avoid using your smartphone’s flash because flash lighting is often harsh and can create unflattering shadows.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Smart devices sporting front cameras make it easier to take selfies. However unwanted visitors can still make their way into your shots. Random people or even animals make it difficult to have that perfect picture.

If you find an unwanted object in your image, don’t despair. There are a number of Smartphone apps—Photo Eraser, Handy Photo and TouchRetouch to name a few—that make it easy to remove unwanted objects in a photo. And, as a bonus, many of these apps allow the user to change the contrast, brightness, and apply filters to get the image they want.

Play with Angles

Angles play a big part in pictures. It can make us look bigger, slimmer or even crazier depending on the angle of the photograph.

Jefferson Graham of USA Today asked attendees of the 2013 VidCon convention about the best technique in framing yourself in the camera. Emily Faulkner, a representative from the United Kingdom answered “take your phone, tilt it and lean.”

Play with different angles to see the effect. Most find that portraits taken from above eye level are most flattering, but experiment and see what you like.

If you’re taking photos with friends, instead of the straight-on shot, shoot from below to get an upward angle that will fit the whole group in the frame.

Don’t Rush

The best selfies take time and preparation.

Snapping the selfie with the camera held far from your face typically results in the the most flattering look. But an overly outstretched arm can be a strain and cause you to face the camera at a bad angle or make a tense face. If you rush in taking a selfie, it may end up blurry or show unflattering angles. It is important to take into account the lighting, your surroundings, the angle of the shot and your expression before capturing your self-portrait.

Act or Express Emotions

Showing emotion in your photos makes it more pleasant and interesting and helps to showcase your unique personality. So don’t hold back! Emotions such as happiness, sadness, fear and excitement can really bring life to a photograph.

About the Author

Taylor Jennings loves taking photos of his activities and travels using his Nokia Lumia 1020 when he gets free time from writing. He also loves learning about the latest cameras and mobile gadgets. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @taylorj427.

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