How To: A Foolproof Guide to Getting a Good Selfie

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I’ve been parading my undeniable beauty on the internet since I got my first camera and Xanga was still a thing. Once parental controls were lifted from my computer and wifi was invented, Myspace took over the tweenage interweb, and the “selfie” became an integral part of my coming-of-age tale. As you can see from the small preview above, I take a damn good selfie (and the pink-haired photo on the top left was taken before the word “selfie” was created.) Here is my gift to you: a tutorial on how to make yourself look flawless for a photo, with some #realtalk life advice in between.

Materials: 

  • A camera / cell phone camera / computer webcam
  • A face, or part of one
  • An internet connection / 3G
  • A simple photo editing tool. (not required)

Step 1: Practice your faces. I realize that this isn’t a class photo, but even a selfie needs some muscle memory. I, personally, have a “signature” face that I make in most of my selfies. This ensures that each picture is cohesive and successful. (You’ll also be better prepared for group photos with friends, and people will claim you as “photogenic”. Just say “thank you”, they don’t need to know your secret.)

Step 2: Make a bold stylistic choice. Not sure that you’re the plumpest pumpkin in the patch? Selfies aren’t only about how attractive you are, buttercup, so there is no need to worry! They can be also about how potentially cool you are, and cool transcends stereotypical beauty. Some of my trademark “cool” traits have been my hair and my winged eyeliner, matched with a shade of bright lipstick. If you’re not creative with make up, experiment with your clothing. Think about what part of your clothing is showing, and style accordingly. (i.e. an impressive collar on your shirt, a necklace that really stands out, or wear fancy nail art and get your hand in the photo!)

Step 3: Take some photos. By “some”, I mean “tons”. Fear not, the delete button is always nearby and you’re in control of this photoshoot. What FEELS like a good picture when you press the “capture” button, might not LOOK like a good picture once you preview it. If this is your first few times attempting a perfect selfie, allow for some trial and error. Don’t get discouraged! After a dozen or two tries, you’re bound to like at least one!

Step 3, 1/2 (optional): Upload your photos to a computer and edit as you please. I prefer to see my potential Facebook default photos on my computer because it’s a larger screen. My opinion of how ultra-totally-fabulous I look might change once the picture is three times the size. I, also, like to do some color adjustment. I like my eyes to pop, my skin to glow and the grass in the background to look greener. BE CAREFUL: Don’t over edit. Keep it simple and maybe add a tiny bit of contrast and two or three clicks of warm shades. Refrain from using the blur tool. This is a selfie, not a depiction of how you look in your dreams. The more accurate your beautiful picture is of how you look in person, the more successful the selfie will be.

Step 4: Pick your photo and add a caption. (This step assumes that your selfie was meant to be shown to the world.) Captions can be equally as important as the picture itself. I usually go for something sassy, because that’s what I am. I’m sassy. By this rule, egotistical works for me, too. Use one or two sentences to create a punchline that reflects some of your personality to go with your wonderful face. Once you’ve got something you like, your photo is ready for the internet or to be sent out as a picture message to your current crush.

**Other helpful tips**

Use a good camera. The more pixels, the better. Instagram’ing a selfie right from your phone is convenient, but if you want a professional default for your Facebook / OKCupid / Tumblr / Vampire Freaks / etc., you should commit to getting a real camera. Using a timer to take a photo is not only super convenient and allows for more poses. Plus, there’s something about higher quality photos that makes even the biggest bitch face look totally badass.

“The Selfie” is about self-love.  Let’s face it: you won’t appreciate any “like” on your selfie, if you don’t like it yourself. This means you might have to get gussied up just for your photo and you MIGHT take 50 before you capture “the one”. No one has to know that you didn’t take more than the one photo that you uploaded, so don’t feel weird about posing in front of a camera lens for more than 20 minutes. Don’t hesitate to be turned on by yourself. You’re hot. You’re bangable. Say things like “Wow… how did I get so perfect?” before each “click” of the camera. Trust me. It works.

Put your pump-up music on. It’ll get you in the mood to be confident and fierce. You want to date your camera and this is how you get the lens to come up with you. Yeah, that’s it. Sing some Queen Beyonce in between each timer. Just like that.

Don’t take any of this too seriously. Even professional bloggers need a laid back attitude when taking their photos. Sometimes the best photos are the ones with no smile, a wrinkle in your shirt and a little bit of sweat on your upper lip. If you like it, go for it! Plus, after a few good selfies, your confidence will, most likely, skyrocket. That’s gonna keep you posting selfies for life.

Used this tutorial and really love your new selfie? Post it in a comment here or on our Facebook to be featured in one of our posts.

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