How To Snap a Better Selfie
Don't you just hate it when someone takes a photograph of you and you just look at it with disdain and abruptly ask them to press delete. To add insult to injury, your own flippin pictures that you take don't come out right either, even after spending an age fussing with your hair, moving objects out of the background or trying to angle your head in a weird way so that your nose, chin or arms don't look so big or prominent! They aren't in real life, so why do they always look that way when we shoot them?
I know most of us (me included) aren't that bothered about selfies, but by getting into the practice of taking them, whether you share them or not, can actually be a positive step to feeling more comfortable in front of the camera and with your gorgeousness.
Well, I asked my dear friend and collaborator Beverley Perkins from www.beverleyperkinsphotography.com (from our package Capture Confidence) to shed some light onto how we can get better photographs to boost our self confidence without all the false filters and snap chat dog ears. What few basic skills could we use to make us actually look... well truer to life in a fabulous and flattering way? I wanted to know.. so she kindly wrote a blog to share with us, her quick and easy tips.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, sitting in Bev's kitchen discussing said blog over coffee and delicious homemade cake, when I decided it would be a great idea to physically follow her tips there and then . You know, take some selfies to see the difference and achieve that more spectacular selfie, as it were, under her professional guidance.
Well, I'm no Beverley Perkins but they certainly looked better with her tips and they made a considerable difference to my piccies taken in her kitchen.... By the way, I took these pics using my Sony Experia and just slapped on a lippie. No professional make up or hair (you can probably tell that tbh), just me as I was on the day, unedited and having a brew.
So , without further ado, I'll hand you over to the pro;
As I see it, the world has gone photo mad (and not always in a good way!) and a part of this shiny new visual age means everyone and their dog are sharing all the details of their lives, on more and more platforms.
Even for a small business woman (or man!), having a strong social media presence is more important now than ever. Therefore, with ALL of this in mind, I have put together a short list of tips, tricks and sensible filters, that you could consider in order to make your selfies spectacular!!
Some Quick Tips for Posture and Posing .....
When it comes to taking a good 'selfie', some tips are universal and common knowledge, for example; …..
Before you start, refresh your lippy! It gives your face a bit more definition. Quite often choosing a darker shade than normal helps too!
Clean your frickin camera lens because life dirties it up and gives a cloudy effect on your photos.
it’s usually better to shoot from slightly above eye level to avoid that “chinny” look, but at the same time, without distorting your other features.
A natural, relaxed smile is the most compelling of all, but if you can’t muster one, don’t force it! Trust me when I say people can always spot a fake! Ooh and don’t stare straight into the camera as they make you look like you've had a police mugshot! Or maybe well a bit weird...
Try not to stand square on to the camera. Instead, if you turn away at 45* this can be very slenderising (is that a word?) Then drop your weight onto your back foot and extend your front foot to elongate your body. This is how Mrs 'Posh Spice' Beckham always does it to keep that frame slender looking and in the same position for every single photograph you'll ever see of her.
Basic Camera Phone Tricks...
So, posture and posing aside now, here are my Top 7 Tips for taking selfies on your phone….
1. Pick your position. Light is the most important natural resource at your disposal, so choose it carefully! Sometimes, phone cameras let in too much light, thus over-exposing the shot and making you look totally washed out! So the best idea, is to slowly turn 360* with your camera phone, watching how the changing light affects the shadows and bright spots on your face. The rule of thumb, is always to have the light source behind the camera. Sometimes this results in a squint, because the light is in your eyes, so the best solution, is to stand at an angle.
2. Flash Light. If you’re in low light situations, apart from turning on the flash;- whilst a helpful feature, it’s often better to move somewhere more brightly lit rather than expecting the flash to work miracles...or at least to ensure that flash-free shots aren’t so noisy and pixellated making them unusable.
3.Colour Settings. Selfies can be unflattering, especially if, like me you have quite a florid complexion. The camera default settings can really make flushed faces very noticeable. However, before you reach for the thickest foundation money can buy, or decide to wear a balaclava, you can adjust the filters to change the way the phone processes colours. Everyone’s phone is different, but some phones allow you to change the settings before you take the shot, but if you prefer to use post processing, there are loads of specialist apps you can defer to. “Snapseed" is a top free choice or Photoshop Express if it really bothers you. If all else fails and you're still quite conscious, make it black and white and really wind up the contrast, so it looks like a fabulous 1930s crime movie. - This is also a great way of making backgrounds less distracting too.
4. Camera Mode. Some phones, like the Apple iPhone X has specialist ‘portrait” mode, which can deliver the most exceptional quality images, but I do find it still struggles in poor light conditions. Other phones have options like a burst of images, which allows you to hold your finger on the button to get a rapid succession of images and you can scroll between them to find the best one. Goodbye closed eyes or wonky smiles.
5.Cropping is one of the best tools you have at your disposal and I often say that inside every bad photo, there’s a good one trying to get out! Quite often by simply cropping out all the unnecessary background detail, and focusing on a point of interest (you, in this instance) you can get a cracking pic. If you open your Photos app to look at all the selfies you've already taken and press Edit, tap the ‘Crop’ icon, you can free-rotate your image to get the best angle and crop out the bits you don’t want. Additional background is fine for everyday photos but if you’re using your selfie for something like an online avatar, it’s better to crop out all the unnecessary detail.
6.Bye Bye Background. If you’re planning to take selfies that’ll be used for really small images it’s best not to have any background at all, so choose the most boring, light, non-reflective backdrops you can find.
7.Instagrammers If you’re shooting for Instagram, shoot in square mode which saves cropping time afterwards.
These are just a few tips to get you started, but if you’re struggling to get a great pic for your social media you can always give me a ring and I will happily do your professional head shot, either in the studio, or on location. It’s always a hoot and tea and cake make it less painful!
Please feel free to comment with any questions or indeed any difficulties you might have with your selfie taking.
Thanks Beverley xx
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