Go to your camera roll right now. Scroll the short distance to the last time you were taking selfies. Now pause to observe. Chances are, you banked somewhere between five and 450,000 shots until you got the right one. We all do it. That’s because nailing the perfect selfie isn’t easy—it’s about the right combination of light, angle, setting, and photo filters.
We consulted with selfie experts (celebrity vloggers, bloggers and makeup artists) to find out how to take a good selfie. Read on for twelve tips that will help you take your selfie game to the next level.1. Lighting is Everything
It sounds obvious, but the first rule of selfie-ing is to pay attention to your lighting. You need good lighting. Natural lighting. As vlogger Jordan Liberty puts it, “Light is undoubtedly the best beauty product you don’t have to pay for.” Instead of facing your computer screen or television, turn toward a window with natural light. Or better yet, go outside and bask in the sun’s glow (with sunscreen on). Good lighting can actually make undereye circles and shadows totally disappear.
If you’re shooting your selfie inside, beauty blogger (and frequent selfie-taker) Michelle Phan advises that you find a window. “Having nice, natural sunlight streaming in will make for a good selfie. Another thing I do is take a piece of white paper and hold it underneath my chin, which creates a natural bounce of light, illuminates the face, and also reduces the double-chin effect.”
There is nothing worse than having a huge shadow cast over your face,” says photographer and style blogger Candice Lake. “When in doubt, face directly into or away from the sun. If it’s the middle of the day and the sun is high, the shadows can look like bags under your eyes. The golden hour to shoot a photo is during sunrise or sunset, when the light is low and the most beautiful.”3. Know When to Use Flash
While finding natural light and avoiding shadows are key tips to how to take a good selfie, there are times when you want to take a selfie and it’s dark. Whether you’re in the club or just on your couch watching Netflix, how do you get a great selfie in little to no light? Turn to Snapchat. The app has a flash feature for the front-facing camera, while the regular photo app on iPhone does not. In Snapchat, hit the little lightning bolt on the top left corner and then take your selfie. The screen will burst bright white light on your face. It won’t look perfect by any means (it gives the photo a subtle blue cast), but at least you’ll be able to see your face. Once you save it to your camera roll, you can play with the tone to make it a little less blue.
4. Smile Like You Mean It
“Flash a real smile and no image will look bad,” says Lake. Don’t contort your face into a grin that’s too big or forced. Natural smiles are always better. On the other hand, if you’re going for slightly more serious selfie, pull a Tyra and “try smiling with your eyes.” Lake’s advice for perfecting the smize? Practice in front of the mirror until you get it right. You’ll get the hang of it!
5. Take a Lot of Selfies…and We Mean A LOT
Kylie Jenner’s best selfie tip is just to take selfies. A lot of selfies. She’s said that she takes “like, 500 selfies” before she finds one she likes enough to post. “Sometimes I regret putting one up if I find a better one later. I’m like damn, that’s a better photo, but that’s the only thing I regret,” she has said. Try tilting your head in different directions and changing the angles up slightly between each shot so there’s a wide variety to choose from. And don’t forget to make sure the camera’s focused before snapping away.
You can film your selfie session instead of taking standard pictures. Press record on the video option instead and pose away. After a minute or two of this, you can scroll through the video and freeze a frame with the best selfie. It sounds silly, but you can actually pull out the best selfie poses this way (and no one will ever know the difference!).
- 6. Play to Your Angles
If there’s one piece of advice you should take from Kim Kardashian, it’s this: When it comes to selfies, keep your chin down and the camera up. There are about five people in the world who look good when shot from under their chin, and we haven’t met any of them. When taking a selfie, hold the phone so that the bottom of it is level with your eyes. Or better yet, use a selfie stick. They’re ridiculous in every way except one: Because you hold them up high, they make everyone look svelte and supermodel-y in photos.
Furthermore, you probably shouldn’t stare directly into the camera. “Most people don’t look their best straight-on. Turn to the side a little bit — not to the point where it’s a full-on profile, but just slightly,” says makeup artist Nick Barose.