Selfies – the modern-day word that my Microsoft does not understand. Whether you loathe them or post them, they are a simplistic way to showcase an outfit, progress your fitness or even capture your makeup. As a blogger, model and regular social-media user, I do not always have the chance to work with a professional or even ask a friend. Whilst I do not have a selfie-stick – neither a high-quality camera, I rely on knowing my angles (I have tips to share from photo shoots).
Ideally, the perfect light would be a summery, morning day. Cloudiness outside can create bad lighting and dreaded shadows. You also want to avoid using indoor lighting if possible. I always prefer taking my images as early as I can.
Another lighting tip is to face the opposite side of a window. This can be important with close-up shots. Going near a window will give natural light but do be careful not to face the side of one – this can again create shadows. One side will be more lit than the other.
If you have seen my Instagram, you are probably aware that I like a clean white/cream background. I take my makeup shots in my downstairs toilet – not literally! The reason being, the room is much smaller than my regular bathroom, so the window enhances the light. For fashion and long-shot photos, I turn my bedroom mirror to the side, in order for a plain wall to be behind me. The only exception, is when the lighting is not so great (today was cloudy).
My number one rule is to ensure that your background is tidy. No toilets showing, no clothes on the floor etc. It is the difference between a skilful image and a messy phone photo.
Let’s start with close-ups. I never face a camera straight on and will always turn at a slight angle. I hold my phone slightly lower – my eyes are almost eye-level to the lens and then I lift my chin. By doing this, I find that I manage good proportions. Sometimes with phones, you can end up with an enlarged forehead – mine is big enough without a phone helping!
Another trick is to use your arm that is not holding your mobile and cross it over to the other side – think half crossing your arms. I then rest my hand on my arm’s elbow which is holding the phone. With photography, what is closest to the camera will appear bigger and vice versa. When your ‘free’ arm is completely down, it can at times disappear or be placed in an awkward angle. In addition, one arm can appear larger than the other. By crossing your free arm, you are bringing it forward and thus creating more evenness.
In terms of long-shots – fashion, fitness etc, this is where you can practice your modelling for general photos. Similar to objects that are closer to the camera appearing bigger, if you put things together, they will appear wider. For example, if you wanted to emphasise your slim legs, I would suggest separating them slightly. For me, I believe that my arms are too thin, which is why I purposely do not move them away from my body.
One photographer taught me about trying to create an ‘S’ shape. I have since used this lesson for every shoot and it has really paid off. It basically involves leaning your weight to one side as you curve your upper body to another. The key is to do this marginally. Do not physically put your hands to the side and ask if you look like an S! It may feel uncomfortable to do, yet it can make you look more natural. It is crucial however to practice.
Another option for making movement in a selfie is to take your free arm and pose with it. My favourite entails putting one hand in my hair which actually helps to style it. This stops you from standing in a set, rectangle outline. Angles can compliment your silhouette.
Trying to stay in the middle of the photograph is imperative as you want to be the main focus. I would also keep objects all behind me. In terms of the position of your phone; I like to hold my camera besides my neck. This stops me from snapping at a too-high or too-low angle. Just be aware of your neck – you want some of it show.
For iphone users, there is an app called Style Counsel. You can take photos either of yourself wearing an outfit or of clothes as you go shopping, and receive immediate feedback from a team of stylists and fashion bloggers. The community is friendly and you will never receive comments from anyone who does not work for Style Counsel. I like the fact that you can ask them fashion/wardrobe questions as my friends are not always helpful! (damn friends). They have stylists around the world and the download is free. If you want to download or find out more, click here.
What are your best tips when taking selfies?