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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How to take an amazing selfie

       Let's be real it's 2019, and we still see people who can't take a decent photo of themselves. Time and time again we browse our social media accounts and we see bad angles, poor lighting, or just awkward photos of people. I am personally annoyed by these bad photos on the dating app platforms, you're trying to make a good impression and instead, people are distracted by the terrible picture and from that will most likely swipe left.

     In this post, I will show you how to take not only a good photo but, also how to edit your photo. For years I have perfected taking self-portraits of myself and editing them in a way that you would never guess that I did them all myself. Here are some of my favorite photos that I've shot of myself and edited myself.

        These were all shot in 10-second intervals on my Sony Cybershot on a tripod... in other words, if I can shoot these incredible pictures in 10 seconds, then you can take a good selfie in the matter of minutes with these tips and tricks. With the advancements in cellphone cameras, you don't even need a crazy DSLR camera anymore to achieve impeccable photos.

Let's start off with what not to do and some real-life examples of just bad photos. If you're going to take a selfie and post it to social media or a dating app then own the photo and be confident.

           Covering your face with your phone doesn't show confidence and blocks out the lighting. Know your angles, sometimes a simple head-on shot is a winner.
You should be the focus of the photo not the background. The background simply illuminates your presence in the picture, it shouldn't be the other way around.
If the hat was tilted a little more upward and the sun covered his face then the photo would have been a lot better. We would be able to see his features more clearly.
Make sure the lighting is in front of you and not above you directly. If the background is noisy don't be scared to just take a photo on a blank wall, that way you remain the focus of the photo.

***Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to these photos. I don't know these people personally and they were found on the World Wide Web.

       Now that we covered what not to do, let's cover the basics. You should have good lighting in your photo. We should be able to see your face clearly without awkward shadows. I'm not saying go out and buy a ring light, but you should position yourself either in front of a light or allow sunlight or whatever light source to illuminate your face. Don't worry if the light washes out your skin tone, that's what editing is for and I'll show you how to do that. You also don't want the light to be behind you either, again this creates shadows and we want to see all of you! In my experience of shooting my own photos, and doing photography for other people it's best to have too much light than not enough light in a photo because when applying filters and editing you have an easier time manipulating the lighting to how you want it. You can even filter in how much light you want in your picture on your iPhone before you take the picture.

    By holding the screen and scrolling your finger up and down you can filter how much light you want in your photo. This also focuses on camera more on you by placing yourself in the box like so.

        As you can gauge from my self-portrait pictures, a background can add value to your photos tremendously. You should decide on whether you want a simple background like a solid-colored wall, or a textured background like rocks or trees, or even a landscape background. For the pictures above, I wanted them to be dramatic and wanted them to feel like they were taken for a magazine so I mimicked my backgrounds to mirror that image. For let's say a Tinder or dating app profile picture, you could wear a colorful outfit and snap a picture in front of a white wall. The colors would contrast nicely and adding in a candid laugh makes the picture feel less posed and more natural. So you should think of a general theme for the photo, whether you want it to be simple or a little more complex.
   I wanted to add depth to the picture so I incorporated the buildings in the background with the road. The background adds to the photo, yet I'm still the focus, that's how a good selfie stands out over a mediocre one.

       This next part of the photo is critical. To avoid looking awkward, or "too vogue" work on your poses and make them look natural. Want a cute smiling photo? Then my tip to you is to literally laugh out loud... sounds stupid I know BUT you will honestly get the best results for a natural unposed smiling/laughing photo. For iPhone users, you can hold down the shutter button to take burst photos to get the perfect candid pic. Burst mode is amazing for walking or action shots that you want to look more natural instead of posed. If you don't have an iPhone or want to try a different method you can shoot a video and screenshot the stills that you like as well. Either method expands on the notion of getting a candid natural photo without a superposed vibe. The pics smiling/laughing pics below were taken using the "laugh out loud" method... and you would think a friend told a funny joke and you snapped the perfect picture in that exact moment...

   For the selfie I took for this post, you better believe I was fake laughing to get that candid natural smile.

    For camera pictures, invest in a cheap tripod and utilize the self-timer function. You'll probably have to take like 20-30 pictures just to get a few really good ones but it's well worth it. You can also get a tripod for your phone. iPhones have a self-timer that you can use in the same way as a camera. The self-timer technique is great because it's not like anyone can tell you took it yourself.  

For smiling/laughing pics  -  Burst mode or take a video and screenshot

Walking/motion pictures   -  Burst mode or take a video and screenshot

Take advantage of the golden hour in the evening for bright lighting, also overcast days provide bright lighting that is excellent for photos.

If the self-timer function isn't your thing you can plug your headphones into your iPhone, open up your camera and use the volume switches to take photos, this way you can take a fuller picture and you can snap as many as you want without having to reset the self-timer.

Another inexpensive tool that does wonders is a Bluetooth photo clicker. They're $6 on Amazon and you use it to sync to your phone. It works similar to the headphone jack method, you open your camera and press the clicker which takes your photos automatically after pairing the clicker through your phone's Bluetooth. This is an excellent way to take self-portrait shots from a full body view and capture the background. The clicker is small enough to conceal in the palm of your hand out of view from the photo itself. Shutter Button Via Amazon
    Editing is such a fundamental step of photography whether it be a selfie or a fashion editorial. I will show you two ways that most people use to edit their photos that isn't complicated like photoshop.  In recent years, Apple has really advanced its iPhone editing tools and it is pretty spot on. Using the unedited picture I took, in the beginning, let me walk you through the steps of using the iPhone editing functions to get the most out of your selfie.

      I wanted the picture to look a bit more vibrant without looking too filtered. Auto can be a good starting out tool for editing, but I would still brush up on the exposure, brilliance, and highlights.
 Shadows and the black point feature add more depth into the picture and makes the photo more defined. A little saturation and vibrance add some more color without being too overbearing.

  The end result is that I don't look as washed out and the added color makes the picture pop more. Less than 3 minutes of editing on the iPhone and the picture looks more lively and not overexposed.

   Another really popular application that I've used for years for my own photos and for my clients whose photos I've taken is VSCO. It is a free download with the option to purchase more filter packs. Taking the same photo, let me show you how to properly edit your selfie to get the best results.

     So for this edit, I chose a filter that wasn't too warped, which made the blue sweater look good and added some color to my pale complexion. The hint of the blue filter sits well for the entire photo, and I like how the vignette allows a slighter focus on the subject without it looking too edited. 

     It is a little duller in color than the iPhone edited picture, but it creates a slightly different vibe. It is still a better photo than the original, again, took less than 3 minutes to edit.

If you're serious about your pictures and what a consistent theme to work off of then I recommend getting a preset and using Adobe Lightroom. I bought mine off Etsy for $4 and it has changed my content and Instagram theme for the best. I highly recommend it and you simply just apply the preset to the photo and it pretty much does all the work for you, it's well worth it in my opinion if you're looking for a constant look and theme to your pictures. Check out Esty's preset selection here.

    I hope this post helps your selfie game and gives you the tips and tricks to take confident effortless pictures. If you liked the content in this post please repost and tag my social media handles. If you haven't already please subscribe at the top so you can get notified about all my new posts! Also, comment below and tell me what you want me to cover next... Till next time

- CorofCor

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