How to Take a Good Selfie


This is probably the seventh most common question I get asked, typically on my Instagram. I have even (mostly) gotten over feeling like being told I'm photogenic is an insult, instead of thinking to myself, "what are you trying to say? That I look better in pictures than in person?"**  

Here's what I know. 

Research: look at pictures of yourself you've liked in the past. Why? Is it the side you're on? Posture? A tilt of the head? A smile? Our versions' of our most beautiful selves are subjective, but knowing what you like just makes it easier. 

Lighting: it's everything. Good light will make you look good. See every circle light and lumi case ever sold. Bad lighting makes you look bad. Sunlight is the best, filtered if possible - although if you can stand being blasted in the face it will be gorgeous (assuming you can stop squinting.) if the lighting is bad, move. Backlighting can be beautiful but down lighting or side lighting creates shadows - be aware of them. 

Look at yourself: it's a selfie! Take a moment and adjust. Try to move a little bit. Take more than one until everyone likes it. 

Then look at the camera: for the actual picture. Once you've set your face the way you want it, look at the little camera eye - looking at your own image can make you look glassy eyed or aloof or bored or even, in my case, slightly vacant. Connect with the camera.

Get a handle: this will not only prevent your phone from dropping but help you get a good angle (downward but not too downward - everyone knows that trick) person with the longest arm takes the picture, but a handle can extend anyone's arm so you don't have to see it in the picture, or strain, or lose the pose when you try to actually press the button. This one is my favorite. Once you know it exists you'll start seeing it in all the celebrity stories - I've seen it on Reese Witherspoon and Jamie Chung, just to name a few. 

Practice: like all things, the more you do it the better you will get. 

**This is a holdover insecurity bred by a guy from the wreckage of my single life who told me I didn't look in person like my online dating pictures.