How to Take the Perfect Selfie

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

Since digital photography went mainstream, it has become very easy to take multiple photos of yourself (known as selfies) before you pick your favorite and share it with others. If you are interested in taking and sharing selfies with your friends and family, consider the following before getting started.

  • What style or type of selfie are you looking to take?

  • How is the lighting in the area you are snapping the selfie?

  • What kind of camera do you plan to use to shoot your selfie montage?

  • Do you plan on using selfie accessories?

  • Are you going to use an image editing application after you snap the selfie?

    Taking the perfect selfie is trickier than you might think. [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Photolyr

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Photolyric
    Taking the perfect selfie is trickier than you might think.

Selfie styles and types

While the whole purpose behind taking a selfie is to show your mood or expression, you can choose from several different selfie styles to help accentuate your expression. The following list describes the different types of selfie styles:

  • Comical selfie — You take a selfie while doing something absurd or funny. This can be in the form of a funny face or possibly performing a funny action; the possibilities are endless.

  • Glamour selfie — You dress in your best clothes and get your hair done. Then after you take the selfie you put it through a selfie app to fix any imperfections before you save a copy and share it.

  • Group selfie — You get a group of friends, family, or co-workers together and take the selfie in a closely pressed together pile of people. This type of selfie would be the most appropriate in which to use selfie accessories, such as the Selfie Stick, Bluetooth Shutter button, and a panoramic lens.

  • Memorable selfie — You take the photo to capture a memory. This can be while visiting a famous landmark or experiencing an extraordinary event such at a marriage proposal. (Most likely you will not be taking selfies at the actual wedding . . . That’s what professional photographers are for!)

  • Selfie with a cause — You take the selfie while performing an act for some higher cause.

    Two examples of this type of selfie would be the armpit hair selfie; where women take photos of their faces pressed against their own unshaved armpits to protest unrealistic beauty standards. As well as the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge selfie, where you take the selfie (photo or video) while a bucket of ice water is dumped on your head.

There are many more variations on these selfie types — some even combine multiple selfie styles. Only your imagination can limit your selfie creativity.

Proper selfie lighting

When considering lighting for your perfect selfie, you must know that smartphone and tablet cameras are notorious for catching fine wrinkles, eye bags, uneven skin tones and a whole slew of other imperfections many people nitpick over. The proper lighting solves most of these issues brought on by digital photography.

When outdoors during the day take the selfie with you facing toward the sun and the camera facing away to avoid glare and images washed out by too much light exposure. When indoors or outside at night — enable the camera’s flash (if it has one) and make sure the area is evenly lit from all sides so the camera doesn’t catch any unpleasant shadows.

Best selfie camera practices

Most likely, if you are taking a selfie, you are doing so with your smartphone or tablet. Many smartphones and tablets are equipped with front- and rear-facing cameras.

Typically the front-facing camera is designed for Apple’s FaceTime, Google Voice, or even Microsoft’s Skype. These cameras are not good for taking pictures simply because of the low pixel ratio.

If you are looking to take a high-quality selfie with your smartphone or tablet, then you have to use the rear-facing camera. Today, most smart device’s rear-facing cameras snap photos in 1080 HD, Super HD (2x 1080), or even Ultra HD (4x 1080).

To take a great selfie with the rear-facing camera on your phone or tablet may be tricky since many of these devices do not offer a way to frame up the shot and see what the phone’s camera is actually snapping. A simple work around to this is a compact mirror and a piece of double sided tape. Simply attach the mirror to the rear-side of the phone or tablet just below the camera lens and remove it as soon as you are done.

Using selfie accessories

Because selfies have become so popular in recent times, several cellphone accessories have been developed for smartphones and tablets that are based on the selfie concept. Three such selfie accessories, the Selfie Stick, Bluetooth Shutter button, and clip-on lenses, have launched into the market, enabling you to take selfies more easily.

The Selfie Stick holds the phone farther away from your body so you can take a selfie with the background visible while also allowing more space in the photo for a group of friends or family to join in.

The Bluetooth shutter button is used to take the selfie while the phone is out of reach (attached to the Selfie Stick.) This allows you to take the pictures without setting the shutter-timer.

Clip-on lenses offer different types of selfie shots without having to process the photo in a photo-editing application. Color lenses can provide filters, while the fisheye lens, macro lens, and panoramic lens can distort the photo in different interesting ways.

Putting your selfie through an image editing app

If you choose to edit your selfie, many apps are available on multiple operating systems. Chances are you will find more selfie apps than you will ever need on whatever smart device or computer you prefer.

The following apps are great for the comical selfie style:

  • Baldify — Shows different stages of hair loss.

  • Fatify — Distorts extra pounds to your cheeks and chin.

  • Oldify — Will give you wrinkles, grey hair, eye bags, and age spots.

  • Zombify — Turns you into a brain-eating zombie… AGHH!

The following apps are great for all other selfie types:

  • FaceTune — Adjusts skin tone, hair and skin color, texture, and background/foreground focus.

  • Fotor — Adds borders, effects, filters, frames, and text. (Available on all platforms including Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and PC as well as online.)

  • Photoshop Express — Adjusts lighting, removes redeye, applies filters, and crops photo size.

Simply perform a search in your device’s app store for the style of selfie you want to take and have fun.

When posting photos of yourself online, never post anything sexual or incriminating. After the digital imprint of the photo is on the Web, there is no undoing it. Yes, you can delete the original, but there is a chance that someone, somewhere, has saved a copy. Share your selfies responsibly!