Portrait Photography Tips From A Selfie Expert

In this day and age, taking a good selfie is an important skill to have — especially if you’re looking for more Instagram-cred. If you find that your selfies are a little underwhelming and just aren’t pulling the likes, here a few things to keep in mind so you can snap the perfect insta-worthy pic.

Know Your Angles

Seriously. If you want to take a good photo every time then you need to know which angles work for you and which angles don’t.

Unless your face is very symmetrical, a front-on photo isn’t going to be as flattering as one taken off-centre. But this is something only you can know. Understand your face. Work out which is your good side.

Also, holding the camera at a slightly elevated angle is important. If you think about the laws of perspective, the objects closer to the camera will look bigger. An elevated angle means your eyes are the closest and look bigger and your chin is further away and looks smaller.


You Need The Right Lighting

Lighting is so so important to taking a good selfie. If you’re standing directly under a light source, (as many bathroom selfie takers are) you’re going to end up with shadows under your eyes, and you’ll look like a corpse. Not a good look.

Preferably take your selfies during the day in a space with lots of natural light. It just makes for a better photo. And if you have to take them during the evening, do not stand directly under a light and try to make sure the light hits your face rather than coming from behind you.

Flash Ain’t Your Friend

It’s just not good. You’re never going to get a good picture with flash. Give up now.

Take Lots And Lots Of Shots

Anyone who takes good selfies will tell you that it takes them a while to get a good one. You can’t take one photo and expect it to be perfect. So if you are on a quest for the perfect selfie, prepare to snap a whole bunch of pictures.

Think about when a photographer is shooting a model. Sometimes they take a thousand photos in order to get one good image. The same principle applies. Taking 10 to 20 photos is probably a good number to aim for.

Where Possible, Don’t Use The Front Facing Camera

This can be kind of hard given that you’ll probably have to get someone else to take the photo, but it really makes a difference. The rear-facing camera will take a higher-resolution photo — something that is pretty essential if you plan on using filters or editing the shot. Have you ever tried Valencia over a grainy photo? It ain’t great.

If You Have A Samsung, Use Beauty Face

Tap the “Mode” icon, select “Smart Mode”, and then select “Beauty Face”.

This setting smooths your skin, evens tone and erases lumps and bumps. It’s so good that I considered buying a Samsung (in addition to my iPhone) just so I could use that setting. If you’re after a flawless, luminous looking selfie, Beauty Face will help you get there every time.

Use A Photo Editing App

You can have the right lighting and the right angle but sometimes your pictures still don’t turn out. That’s where you can cheat a little bit and use a photo retouching app. In my case, my biggest selfie ruiner is the genetically inherited dark circles under my eyes. So sometimes I just edit them out. My favourite app to do this is called Facetune. I use the colour patch and smooth tools. Works beautifully, no one will ever know.

Try A Selfie Stick

Images courtesey of Bianca Mastroianni and DJ Sax On Legz.

If you can’t seem to hold your phone at the right angle or far enough away, a selfie stick might help. Although selfie sticks can seem like you’re taking the whole selfie thing a bit too far, they really work. They help you get the right angle and they help you hold your phone steady. They’re also great for taking group photos.

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia.

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