How to look your best when you strike a pose…
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, selfies are a fact of modern life. Whether you’re sending a pic to flirt or updating your social media profile, it pays to know how to look your best.
1.First, take a moment
Before you snap yourself, check your appearance in the mirror. Are your teeth clean? Is your hair combed? Are your eyes clear? Could you do with a quick scrub to make your skin glow? Given that you’re putting your face out there, you may as well look your best. So use whatever time you have wisely. Change your top if another option brings out a different side to your personality—a crisp designer shirt with a tie says you’re a man; a ripped Pac-Man T-shirt indicates arrested adolescence. Consider colour, too, as the contrast a shirt creates can have a big effect on your skin tones. If you’re going for a full-body shot, make sure all your clothes are clean, fit well and flatter as much as possible. Don’t even think about a half-nude shot in the mirror.
2. Lighting and background
Using a flash in front of a brick wall will make you look like a street thug on his way to the slammer. Most often you can easily alter your lighting and background. It might be as simple as moving to stand beside a window in natural light (don’t have the window behind you unless you want to give off that “witness protection” vibe). Use “magic-hour” natural light (roughly the hour after sunrise and before sunset) or soft artificial illumination (indirect light from non-fluoro bulbs) to add warmth to your portrait. Trying for aesthetically pleasing and interesting backgrounds can also say much about you — art at your back suggests refinement, while a rugged landscape indicates the outdoorsy type.
3. Angle Is Everything
While some people suggest that shooting from below suggests power, you’re more likely to end up with a selfie that’s all neck, chin and nostrils. Instead, try shooting slightly down, which makes your eyes pop, emphasises your cheekbones and reduces the roundness of your chin and neck. You also don’t have to put your face in the centre or stare at the lens—this isn’t a passport photo situation. Photographers use a rule of thirds, in which it’s far more compelling if your face is top-left or top-right of frame, with your eyeline one-third down from the top of frame. Someone who’s looking off to the side of the camera creates a bit of mystery and declares they’ve got the confidence to break the selfie “rules”. Experiment to find your best angle.
4. Smize Does Matter
Brooding is for wannabes. We react much more positively to a smiling face. That said, not all smiles are equal. The difference? Smiling with your eyes—or smizing. The way to do this is to make yourself laugh and then ease back into a smile as you press the shutter button. That way you capture the sparkle in your eyes and the crinkly crow’s feet of a genuine smile, rather than the dead-behind-the-eyes grimace so common to game-show hosts.
5. Edit, Frame & Filter
Your smartphone doesn’t run film so there’s no cost to getting it right. Keep going till you have a few selfies you love. Then frame and filter. Play around with your phone or camera’s editing tools or downloadable filters. But use them judiciously. A standard photo can come alive if you’re willing to crop from full face to a view that intrigues with a partial image of your face and eyes. Same goes if you try black and white or adjust the settings governing contrast, warmth and colour saturation. Of course, the trick is to accentuate your image, rather than make yourself look like some sepia-toned undertaker or airbrushed alien.