Taking Better Selfies

We all love selfies and Stana (of Femulate) and Imogen (of Insideoutstyle blog) have mastered the art of taking better selfies. Stana says self-photography is an art and she probably discards 4 out of 5 of the self-photos she takes because there is something technically wrong with them (usually related to focus, framing, lighting or worse, because I look fat).

Selfies are great to see if the outfit you are wearing is good, bad or ugly. Photos are more revealing than a mirror because what you see in the mirror often looks different in a photograph. Photographing your fashion faux pas allows you to make adjustments (maybe you should put on a girdle or adjust that hem a bit)

Stana’s Tips

Stana’s post on Watch the Birdie gives us some great tips for improving our self-photography.

Stana taking selfies_“I use my iPhone 6s for most of my self-photography. The quality of the iPhone photos is very good in my opinion (good enough for me) and it is hard to beat the convenience.

I use the self-timer function in the iPhone’s Camera app for a lot of my self-photography. Set the timer for 10 seconds, click the Camera’s shutter button, walk into the Camera’s field of vision, pose, smile, watch the birdie and wait for the Camera to snap a shot.

In a pinch, I lean the iPhone against something to take a self-timed photo. But most of the time, I use a small tripod designed to hold the iPhone. The tripod has bendable legs, so I can use it in diverse settings.

Instead of using the self-timer, I recently purchased a bluetooth shutter remote to trigger the Camera app. Using the remote, I don’t have to click the Camera’s trigger button, walk into the Camera’s field of vision, pose, smile and watch the birdie all within 10 seconds. Instead, I can take my time and remotely trigger the Camera whenever I am ready for my close-up.

That covers the hardware, but what about the software, that is, the model in my selfies?

I learned that my best photos are ones in which I smile.

Over the years, I have seen thousands of photos of trans girls and I can never understand why some girls look so unhappy in their photos. They are living their dream, although sometimes only momentarily and they should be very happy about it, yet some of them look like they just downed a spoonful of castor oil!

So, smile and smile naturally, not in a forced manner. I used to have a forced smile in my photos, but I worked on it and now my smiles look natural and the results are much better!

I am also becoming more adept at posing for my photos.

  • I tilt my chin up slightly and extend my neck forward to avoid the double chin.
  • Instead of a straight-on shot, I turn my shoulders slightly to the left or right. And pose with one leg in front of the other, for example, by crossing my legs at the ankle.
  • With legs crossed, sometimes I will put one hand on my hip. This elbow-jut pose results in a ladylike ballerina effect.
  • To accentuate my legs, I thrust one hip to the side, stretch out my opposing leg as far as it will go and point my toes.

Taking selfies as you pose in a mirror is tricky.

  • For starters, shut off the flash, otherwise your selfie will be nothing but flash and that is not the result you want unless you are Barry Allen.
  • Take mirror selfies while looking at your reflection in the mirror rather than looking at the trigger button on your smart phone. This is simple with the iPhone because you can shoot a photo by clicking one of the iPhone’s volume buttons, which is a lot easier than trying to click the virtual trigger button on the iPhone’s screen.
  • Before showing off your mirror selfies, use photo-editing software to flip the image horizontally so that you look natural and not the opposite, which is what a mirror displays.

I am a work-in-progress and so is my self-photography, but practice, practice, practice and someday my photos will do justice to a complete woman.

Imogen’s Tips.

Then Imogen has two great posts on posing for selfies. The first is How to Pose for Photographs – My 6 Top Tips. Both these posts are reprinted with permission from Imogene Lampart at Insideoutstyleblog.com. Please visit Imogen for the latest in women’s style

As you’re aware, I’m not a “what I wore today” blogger, but sometimes I post a photo or two of me.  I have to take my own photos as I don’t have anyone else to do so.  So my camera is on a tripod at about my head height (no lower than shoulder height) and I set the timer, run to position and strike a pose.

Today I’m going to share with you some tips from both my experiences with professional photographers (who put you into a pose) and my own DIY efforts on how to pose for photographs.

how to appear slimmer in photos and selfies1. Gaps are Key in how wide you appear.

If you stand front on to the camera, arms by your side, legs together you tend to look widest.  If you want to appear narrower from the front create some gaps by moving crossing your thighs over each other and putting your hands on your hips, or crossing your arms across your body.

Want to make your upper arms appear smaller in a photo?  Hold them away from your body a little rather than at your side – holding a drink is ideal for this.

Don't stand straight on, use angles when taking selfies
Don’t stand straight on, use angles

2. Angle yourself to the camera
Rather than standing straight on, angle yourself to the camera for a more interesting composition (and often more flattering too).  Angle your body and your feet away from the camera rather than straight on.

Push your hips away from the camera so they look smaller when taking selfies
Push your hips away from the camera so they look smaller

3. What is closest looks biggest
Whichever body parts are pushed toward the camera will look larger.  So the pic on the left I’ve angled my hips toward the camera vs the pic on the right where I’ve angled them away.
Don’t forget too to stretch and elongate your body too rather than slouching, this will make you appear longer and leaner.

Left or Right?
Left or Right?

4. Which is your best side?

Very few of us are symmetrical in our features (I believe that Christy Turlington is about as symmetrical as people get) so most of us look better when photographed with our face angled toward the camera rather than straight on as we don’t notice asymmetry then.  But which side is your best side, and do you angle that side toward the camera?
If you remember my last point, whatever is closest to the camera looks bigger?  Well this comes into play when deciding which side to put toward the camera, particularly if one of your eyes is more open or bigger than the other.  If you put your larger eye toward the camera, the smaller eye will look even smaller, so in fact if you want to look more symmetrical, you angle your smaller side to the camera as this will make it look larger.

how to avoid double chins in photos and selfies5. How to avoid the double chin
Most of us, when a camera comes near us, in a defensive move, pull our head backwards and chin in toward our chest, which of course doubles our double chins.   Remember to push your chin out a little when having your photo taken to stretch your neck and eliminate extra chinage.

Also, take the photo from above not below (or at least your head height) as this will further minimize double chins.  Never let anyone take your photo from below if you’re concerned about your chins!

how to touch your face in a photo or selfie

6. Face Touching Tip

If you plan on touching your face, such as leaning on one hand, or framing your face with your hands, the trick is to barely touch your face.  Don’t actually lean your face onto your hand or you will distort your face, instead pretend to, just have the lightest contact so that you don’t move your facial skin.

Following on from my post How to Take a Good Selfie Photo – The technology you need, now I’m going to share with you my top tips for finding a flattering pose for that photo!

You may remember from this post on how to pose for photos I went through a few of these tips. But as a reminder here, taking a good photo is all about creating gaps and angles. It’s important to remember what is closest to the camera looks larger – and the camera lens can really magnify, so even a subtle shift of weight or changing of an angle can make a huge difference.

How-to-look-slimmer-in-photos and selfies

Now don’t forget to try different poses and have some fun. You may be surprised to discover what works for you.

So those angles, they also work when you’re taking a close up – think about angling your head! Remember that most people when a camera is thrust in their face automatically pull in their chin (it’s a defense mechanism) but what does this do? Create nasty double chins! So instead, I want you to lift your head up then imagine you are looking over a fence that’s just a little taller than how you stand naturally, sticking your neck out a touch as you go. Now, no more double chins!

how-to-pose-for-photos or selfiesIf you’re like me and suffer from the affliction of “resting bitch face” (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked in my life to “cheer up it’s not so bad!” as I’m minding my own business lost in thought walking down the street) I know that for me, smiling in photos is the way to go. In fact, I don’t just smile a bit, I try and grin and often even force out a laugh. Do you know why? Well it makes my smiles look genuine and from the eyes as well as the mouth!

Have you ever noticed that celebrities are often photographed on many red carpets in the same pose? Well it’s because they’ve spent time trying out poses in the mirror and taking photos and they know what works for them. Give it a go, take a few selfies and discover your no fail moves to a flattering photo!

More tips on how to take a good selfie

Taking a selfie – the technology

2 thoughts on “Taking Better Selfies

  1. ‘Resting Bitch Face’! LOL Love it, know it well. A smile is indeed the best accessory
    Great article. I was impressed that the author discards 4 out of 5. My score is much higher. I can take over a hundred, blessed be the inventor of digital photography, and be left with ten.
    If I might make an observation based on something I have noticed in phone selfies. Often the models hold their phones out in front of them, to help with the framing as well as checking the pose. This, foreshortening, effect makes the hands look much larger.

  2. Wow ! This is fabulous material. I have not known how to take better selfies. This changes everything. I am going to have so much fun trying all this out !

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