The popularity of social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter has made taking selfies and sharing life an all-people activity. Some say the first thing a young person might do after a car accident is not to call for help, but to take a selfie and post it on all their social media accounts. It’s a bit of a joke, but also partly reflects our current addiction on selfies and social media.
Countless people are photographing their daily lives, but not everyone is good at it. Scrolling through social media, some people take selfies that make you admire their appearance, body and lifestyle, while others may take selfies that fall far short of their true self. What about you?
In fact, there must be some rules or skills for almost everything. After careful observation, you will find many well-received selfies on Instagram have a certain pattern. If you are not satisfied with the selfies & photos you took for now, and want to show your real charm and make a better impression on your followers, you might as well try these basic techniques available for reference.
1. Choose a Proper Scene
The first thing you need to do, whether you’re mainly photographing people or scenery, is to choose a good scene. Avoid messy places, unless you want to do it intentionally and have enough photographic skills.
The easiest and most infallible-looking option is a well decorated and well-lit coffee shop, bookstore, restaurant, or a beautiful natural location such as beach, forest, botanical garden, etc. This allows you to take great pictures without having to think too much.
If you can’t find a scene that looks great on its own, choosing a clean background is the easiest way to make your photos look better. The background can be black, white, grey, large grid, blue and pink, etc., elements such as mirror, marble, pure color wall are also commonly used.
The shooting subject should be separated from the background with obvious color area. If you cannot find a scene with a large area of blank space due to the limitation of the location, you can also try to only shoot parts, like your eyes, half face, mouth, hands, feet, etc.
2. Choose a Good Angle for Photograph
Different angles allow you to take pictures with different styles. Besides, people’s faces look different from different angles. So, be sure to try a few more angles to find the feel you want. Thus the pictures you take can maximize your strengths.
Selfies are not as formal as ID photos. They don’t have to be taken from the front, instead, they can be taken from a 30-40 degree angle for better results. Also, because most people in everyday life are right-handed, it’s easier to make a good impression if you show your right side of your face.
3. Nice Facial Expression
Your facial expression can determine whether you look awkward in a photo, so you need to learn how to manage your facial expression. However, you don’t have to make a specific expression too deliberately since you’re not acting. If you don’t want to look boring, you can smile, laugh, wink, slightly open mouth, etc. as long as it convey your true (but more beautiful) state.
In general, being looked directly can be a little intimidating, so you can stagger your gaze away from the front and don’t stare at the camera. Looking to the top left or top right a little bit can enhance the sense of affinity, appear clever and lively; looking down a little gives a sense of serenity and refinement; looking too far down gives a negative and gloomy impression. But in the end, it depends on the mood that the photo is trying to convey.
4. Natural Gesture
Many people don’t know how to pose for selfies, which can lead to stiffness in the photo. In fact, young people nowadays tend to take selfies in a more natural and authentic style. That is to say, you don’t have to pose in a dramatic way, just use different angles and use your hands, hair, etc. to add a little more movement, which will make you look less rigid and boring.
There are some of the commonly used selfie poses:
- Look sideways at the camera
- Use your hair to cover your face
- Shoot only parts of the body
- Play with your hair naturally
- Photograph yourself in the mirror
- Hold some cute little things next to your face (ice cream, nicknack, coffee, etc.)
- Make use of foreground objects (curtains, hands, tree branches, etc., give full play to your imagination)
- Lying down, looking relaxed and casual (but don’t really relax completely and don’t look sloppy)
And there are some movements you can try while others photographing you:
- Tilt your head to the side (it’s best to take a snapshot, as if your hair is moving)
- Turn around and look at the camera (using hand movements to increase the dynamic feeling)
- Fiddle with your hair (you can put one hand on the back of your head and cover your face with your hair with the other hand)
- Holding things in your hands, such as drinks, food, bags, etc.
- Turn sideways (it’s also a nice point to flick your hair)
- Back view (feel like you just turned around, blur the picture a little to add movement)
Of course, there are many other natural and beautiful poses that you can try slowly during the photo shoot to find your most comfortable state.
5. Make Good Use of Light and Shadow
When using a flash, your face will be shaded, and the nose and forehead will look more prominent. If you don’t have a unique understanding of light and have related experience, it’s better to turn off the flash and go outside in a bright light to take selfies and photos.
If you have to take photos indoors, please note the light source is single, therefore your face is more likely to produce shadows. So it is better to take photos in front of the light source, and you should also avoid choosing a background that is too bright or too dark.
In addition this, good light and shadow effects can also be the highlight of a photo. You can try to use curtains, leaves and other props to create clever light and shadow effects. For example, if you shoot on the floating window, the window will form a natural light and shadow atmosphere, making even the plain book pages more lively.
6. Arrange Small Objects Consciously
Sometimes when the photo elements are too monotonous, you can use some small items to add highlight. But if there are multiple items with different shape, sizes, colors, the picture will easily become messy, and you need to consciously arrange them from an aesthetic point of view.
Generally speaking, there are two main ways to arrange objects:
Neat type: try to choose the similar shape of the object. Oblique, parallel arrangement are both OK. If objects are the subject of the photo, you can shoot from above and it will look great.
Casual type: consciously use small objects, pay attention to the density and color matching (like complementary colors or similar colors). Small items such as jewelry, makeup, and perfume can look great in a good color scheme.
7. Interact with Cute Pets
In general, there are very few people who don’t like cute little animals. If you have a pet at home, or meet some outside, you can try taking a picture with them.
Cute animals can enrich the photo and cover your face in front of you, making you look cute and thin, and also highlights your gentleness and kindness. Of course, all of this should be based on keeping yourself safe and not harming animals.
8. Use Props
Cameras make people look fatter and have bigger faces. For people who doesn’t have a toned figure and a delicate face, taking a close-up photo can reveal more flaws, even when taking a selfie.
In fact, you can use some objects to subtly hide unsatisfying parts. For example, hats and sunglasses both work well to cover and embellish your face. You can also show your true self to your friends on social media by putting on your favorite jewelry, pulling out your favorite gadgets, or items related to your hobbies.
Purely decorative props such as flowers, leaves, etc., can also add color to your photos, and at the same time help you covering up the imperfect parts, setting off your advantages, such as beautiful eyes, delicate skin, etc.
If you want to make your photos look more cute, you can also make use of good looking food, phone cases, etc.
9. Appropriate cropping and color mixing
Natural styles are in fashion now, so it’s OK to take photos with the original camera of your mobile phone, like iPhone’s front-facing lens. But simple cropping, color mixing, and so on can also be a great addition to your photo, so don’t reject the whole retouching picture thing.
For an imperfect photograph, if you have an eye for beauty, you may be able to crop the best part of it and make a good new one. And a slight change to the tone of the original image can also highlight the atmosphere of the whole photo, showing the style you expected.
In general, this can be done in terms of brightness, highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpening, saturation, and color temperature, etc. However, the specific value and effect are different from one picture to another. To do it better, you should look and shoot more to find your own style.
If you find it troublesome to adjust the value, you can also try some Camera apps, such as VSCO, Camera +, and Instagram itself to apply the preset filter directly. But when choosing a filter, you should also compare according to the theme and tone of the photo to find the one that best fits your style.