A how to guide to taking great selfies
Learn how to snap pics of yourself like a pro using your smartphone.
More than 95 million selfies are taken each day, so how can you stand out from the crowd? Read these tips and get ready to take the perfect selfie!
- Rule of thirds: There are nine imaginary blocks that divide up any photo. Most photo-editing apps will overlay the rule-of-thirds grid onto your phone screen in camera mode. Knowing where to position which feature will help to instantly improve the composition of your photo. Try to place your eyes a third of the way down the frame, and, if possible, put your face off to one side to make your selfie more visually interesting.
- Get the depth of field right: Make sure it’s your face that’s in focus, not the background. No matter how interesting the setting may be, your selfie will be more compelling if it is slightly out of focus.
- Use your arms as a frame: Try taking your next selfie with both hands, with your arms extended. Your arms will act as a frame in your shot, and you’ll also be able to hold your phone more steadily than with one hand.
- Crop in tight: Backgrounds of selfies are often busy, messy and distracting. But if you don’t want to hold your phone in too close to your face, how can you make sure you don’t get too much background noise? Simple – crop your selfie after you’ve taken it to hone in on your face and eliminate the clutter in the background.
- Keep it natural: You probably know that natural lighting is by far the most flattering, so use that to your advantage when taking selfies by posing either next to a window or in an open doorway.
- Soften artificial light: If you do have to take a selfie in low-light conditions and need to use a single light source such as a lamp, you could throw a light scarf or a net curtain over it so that the light is more diffused, softer and more flattering. (Don't leave it there – it's a fire hazard!)
- Watch the sun: If you try to take a selfie with the sun behind your camera, you’re going to end up squinting, with really harsh light on your face. Rather put the sun behind you, making sure your head blocks it out, and you’ll end up with a gorgeous halo of light around your face and hair. With no bright light directly in your eyes, you won’t be squinting either. Alternatively, you can wait for a cloudy day with softer light or move into the shade.
- Flash tips: Don’t use it. You risk the red-eye effect and the yellow light from the flash will make anyone look jaundiced. Or, if you absolutely have to, hold a white serviette or piece of white kitchen towel in the shot where you can crop it out to neutralise the lighting – it’s a quick hack to getting the right white balance.
- Mirror selfies: To add curves, place one hand high up on your ribcage rather than on your hip. Also, try to pop one knee or cross your legs to instantly look curvier and less ‘blocky’.
- Positioning the camera: Some might say that holding the camera higher than your head will make your eyes look bigger and your nose and chin smaller. But there’s no denying that it also looks unnatural. A better idea is to hold the camera directly in front of your face and closer than you would think, so you don’t get too much shoulder in the pic.
- Facial expression: Kim Kardashian might swear by ‘duck face’ because it accentuates her cheekbones, but truth be told, it’s become too passé. A gentle purse of your lips can have the same effect.
- Use a timer: For a different pose, snap yourself looking natural and enjoying yourself by propping your smartphone up, setting a timer, and then just carrying on with what you were doing – chatting to a friend, laughing, daydreaming, sipping a mocktail, or whatever. The camera will catch you at a moment when you’re genuinely having fun, instead of blatantly posing.
- Don’t dismiss the selfie stick: When taking a selfie with a group of mates, especially if you want to get the background in the shot, the selfie stick could be your new BFF. You might feel ridiculous, but it will be totally worth it when you see not only the group selfies for which you’ve posed but all the accidental ones in between while your squad was prepping for the shot. (Note, though, that selfie sticks are now banned in many of the world’s bigger theme parks and tourist attractions.)
- Filters FTW: While Instagram adds new filters pretty regularly, consider trying out some different effects by downloading photo-editing apps that come with loads of fun filters to play with. (Check out our picks of the best photo-editing apps here.)
- Use props: Selfies with a context are always more interesting than the straightforward ‘here’s a shot of me looking at the camera for no good reason’ variety. Accessorise with a hat or new sunglasses, or your friend’s cat, or your drink with an umbrella in it, and you’ll likely see way more likes.
- Be silly: Often, the best selfies are the most random ones. Don’t be afraid to look ridiculous. It’s a selfie, after all – nobody really takes them seriously!
Now that you know how to take your selfies to the next level, all you need is a smartphone with a top-class camera. The Samsung Galaxy S10 is noted for its superb camera features – it's a must-have! Get it here.