It’s been reported that 95 million photos are shared on Instagram daily, and at least one million of these are selfies. If you want your posts to stand out in this massive crowd, you’ll need all the help you can get to perfect your pictures.
Social media influencer Foyin Ogunrombi (@foyinog), who runs The Dear Solo Blog, has been taking picture perfect selfies for years. She suggests avoiding selfies around midday as the direct sun casts shadows on your face. 'Also, be sure to have the light behind your camera or phone, not behind you. Experiment with angles until you find the right one and definitely take a lot of pictures – it’s seldom you’ll get the perfect selfie on your first try, so give yourself options to choose from,' she adds.
Foyin currently uses an iPhone 6s of which she says the 12MP front camera is a definite plus. But, there’s more to it than just taking a pic. To enhance her snaps, Foyin uses Adobe PS Express to remove any blemishes, and Facetune2 to lighten and/or smooth her skin and backgrounds. VSCO Cam is also a go-to app for basic editing, she says.
Film effects are a favourite, so Foyin uses Huji Cam, Snapchat and Instagram filters to get the desired look and feel. She says: 'Currently, the trend of golden hour, honey-cast selfies is big, especially for those of us with darker skin. I think the era of more natural, less heavily posed selfies is upon us!'
Phone manufacturers are competing to offer the best photography tools. Samsung, for instance, gives you the Live Focus feature to give pics the bokeh effect on the S9+ and Note8. Meanwhile, professional photographers are singing the praises of Huawei’s P20 Pro camera, particularly the night mode it offers to produce some of the best low-light shots ever taken with a phone. It also features three lenses on the back of the phone, one of which is a telephoto camera. Another interesting feature is the software on the Nokia 8 Sirocco, which allows you to use the front and back camera simultaneously to create a 'bothie'.
Try something different
Photographer Robyn Jessica Botha (@restlessrobyn) posts some of the most creative and unusual selfies (and other photographs from her phone) on Instagram. Her iPhone 7, she says, takes pixel-perfect images ideal for image editing. Robyn even has a section of her website dedicated to iPhoneography.
Like Foyin, Robyn uses Photoshop and VSCO to enhance her selfies but also finds Aviary useful for removing imperfections. She adds that Mextures offers endless combinations of colours, textures and filters you can layer on top of each other. 'It can honestly keep you busy for days!' she says.
An interesting app Robyn uses is Enlight. 'This app does various things, but what I like most about it is the ability to do something called a double exposure. This is where you take two images and layer them together to make something slightly more arty than your average selfie. The trick with doing this is experimentation, finding two images that work perfectly together.' Her inspiration comes from the likes of Brooke Shaden (@brookeshaden), Chiara Fersini (@himitsuhana) and Rosie Hardy (@georgiarosehardy).
Five pro tips
Robyn offers this advice to get more out of your selfies and phone pics:
- Watch the tutorial videos of the various apps on YouTube to familiarise yourself with how they work.
- Avoid taking selfies on the 'beauty filter' or the filters that add a very powerful soft focus on your image. Rather remove imperfections after taking the image.
- Keep your phone at eye level or slightly higher and tilt your chin down. This will make your eyes appear larger.
- Keep your arms out of the pic. Hold your phone in one hand and turn your body at an angle with one shoulder away from the camera (the slimming effect is an added bonus).
- Make sure the background is uncluttered and look for colours that complement your complexion.
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