Follow these tips to learn how to take a good selfie and you’ll never have to post another picture of you with a double chin staring off into space again! Just a few tweaks to learn the best selfie poses and a few simple changes to your lighting and camera angles and you can be posting the best selfies you’ve ever taken. No unrealistic filters required!
Everybody takes selfies these days but some of us are better at showing our true beauty than others. For years, I was the queen of the classic Clueless Mom selfie: eyes too wide, not looking at the camera lens, weird expression on my face. And believe me, I still take a ton of selfies that look just like that. But over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped me to level up my selfie game. I’m sharing a few of them today with you.
The photos that I’m sharing haven’t been filtered or retouched (unless that’s part of the tip!) so you can easily see how just a few changes can make a big difference.
Take Better Selfies by Holding the Camera Slightly Above Eye Level and Turning Your Head
There’s a lot going wrong in this photo! If you face the camera head-on at eye level or lower, you can make it look like you have a double chin even if you don’t. In my case, it also really accentuates my neck wrinkles and just generally makes my nose and face look wide.
Holding the camera just above eye level (it doesn’t have to be way over your head) helps slim down your face and turning your head at a ¾ angle is a more flattering angle that looks good on everyone.
I said I wouldn’t retouch any of the photos, but look how you can take this photo to the next level with just a few edits. I used Facetune to smooth out my peeling skin (caused by over-enthusiastic Retin-A usage a couple of nights ago) and then used Lightroom on my phone to crop out the ceiling from the photo and remove the yellow cast from the photo. This took me less than five minutes, I did it all on my phone and the changes made a huge difference.
Check out the video in this post to see how just a few edits on your phone can really take your photos to the next level.
The Number One Thing to Know about How to Take a Good Selfie: Squinch!
With apologies to Tyra Banks, the smize is out. This tip totally changed my selfie game because I am so prone to looking wide-eyed and scared in photos. Squinching is basically squinting just a little bit to avoid looking too wide-eyed. The photographer who invented the word squinching, Peter Hurley, defines it as narrowing the distance between your lower eyelids and your pupils.
Look at the power of the squinch. In this first photo, I have what can only be described as crazy eyes. It’s clear that I’m seconds away from demanding to see the manager.
And in this photo, I’m much more approachable. I consciously squinched my eyes together. I also followed another tip of Peter Hurley’s and stuck my forehead out to accentuate my jawline.
If you would like to see more of Peter Hurley’s tips on looking good on photos, check out his Headshot Tips playlist on his YouTube channel.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
Natural light provides a full-spectrum light, which means we see the colors in the photo as bright and true. Face the sun to fill in any shadows on your face or stand next to a window so the light coming in can act as a filtered, diffuse lighting source.
I’m lucky because the main room of my apartment has tons of natural light but I do need to be aware of shadows. If I’m feeling my hair or makeup and want to share it with the world, I’ll typically stand in front of my glass door to take advantage of the full natural light.
It’s also fun to stand next to a window and play with the shadows.
Get a Tripod and Remote for Your Phone so You Can Go Hands Free
I know it may seem like a foolish purchase, but you’ll be able to take perfect selfies like all the Instagram influencers if you invest in a small tripod and bluetooth remote like this set:
With a Bluetooth remote and a tripod like this one you can take all kinds of fun pictures and keep your arms down by your sides or wherever you want them to be. This is great for group shots as well.
I took this picture of my dog Lemmi and me with the tripod in a chair in front of us. The remote is in my hand that isn’t shown.
Lemmi is a hard dog to photograph because she’s so dark. Look at the difference a simple Lightroom preset can make. I also cropped out the background because we’re the most important part of the picture after all.
Angle Your Body
Have you ever taken a selfie and been dismayed by how fat you look? Good news, you aren’t really that huge! It’s just that facing the camera head-on causes your body to fill up the frame, making it look bigger than it really is. Instead, turn your body to an angle and put your weight on your back foot. That will put your head in the foreground and make the picture visually lighter.
Instant weight loss!
Keep the Background Clean
Remember, the focus should be on you, not your (sometimes literally) dirty laundry. A clean background lets people look at you and gives a calm feeling to your picture.
For instance, let’s examine this photo. I’m happy with my hair and makeup so I decide to take a quick selfie in front of my window. But what’s this behind me? Why it’s the styrofoam from the kitchen island I just assembled. And my purse. No amount of background blur is going to disguise that!
Let’s change the angle and see if we can still grab a good photo without having to head outside to the trash.
Score! Now the background blur is helping the hide the coffeemaker and whatever else it is that I’ve got out there on the counter. Everyone can focus on my hair. This photo was still distracting, by the way, because I was standing under my pots and pans. So I cropped them out to keep the focus where I wanted it.
Punch Up Your Selfie with Your Favorite Apps
Now that you know how to pose, let’s really put some oomph in your selfie by fine-tuning it with some apps on your phone. Watch the video to see how I take my selfies and then edit them using my favorite apps, FaceTune and Lightroom. The process is really easy and really does take less than five minutes. Check it out!