If you think snapping a selfie is just pointing your iPhone at your mug and pressing the camera button, you’re doing it wrong. A great selfie, as deadly as it might get, is a modern work of art. And like all great works of art, a great selfie is one that is carefully planned out, contains artistic elements, and refined for beauty.
So whether you’re just learning the ropes or a self-styled selfie-sensei, here are a few tips that’ll make your iPhone selfies a cut above the rest!
Tip #1: Get your Best Side
If there’s anything anyone can learn from Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it’s that #anglematters. For perspective, the side you’re going to use for a selfie is the side that you’re going to be stuck with for the rest of your social media life—assuming you post it. Meaning you might want to be stuck with your best one. You might be beautiful on the inside, but that won’t necessarily reflect on a selfie. It’s only natural to use the side that you think best represents who you are (or the one you think is more attractive). So don’t listen to them haters. Just do it.
Tip #2: Make it Unconventional
You’re taking a selfie, not a photo for your driver’s license. It’s key to remember that while a good selfie makes a statement, a great selfie makes an interesting statement. It will help your selfie to stand out against literally the hundreds upon hundreds of other selfies on your feed if you make it a point to keep things fresh and make it unconventional. And there’s more than one way to do that. Adjust your camera’s angle; find an Instagrammable spot. Get creative and tell an interesting story with what you’re holding, who you’re with, or where you’re standing. And make sure to keep it au naturale.
Tip #3: Flash those Pearly Whites
Again, you’re taking a selfie, not a mugshot. You want your photo to look interesting, but it’s objectively better to look at selfies that are all-smile than ones that are all-grouch. Unless you’re going for something dark or grungy, smiling should be a standard component of your selfies. Flash ‘em choppers occasionally, or, at the very least, do something that’ll make you look cheerful.
Tip #4: Find an Interesting Background
One way to make your selfie interesting is to find a background that already is. A cool-looking park bench on the background is better to have than a bland, gray wall. Depending on what kind of story you want to tell, look for backgrounds that would complement your message. Statues and natural scenery make for fantastic backgrounds. Throngs of people gathered together in the backdrop also infuse your photo with the appearance of life and energy.
Tip #5: Make Sure There’s Enough Light
Photography 101: all cameras need some kind of light source to function. Forget selfies; you can’t take any kind of photo if you don’t have enough light. What’s more, your iPhone’s camera sensors are designed to perform best in well-lit areas. Best to take your selfies in a bright room or outdoors with lots of natural light.
Tip #6: Stick with your Back-Facing Camera
Smartphones – your iPhone included – traditionally use lower-res sensors for their front-facing cams. Now no one can rightly call any selfie great if it looks like it’s been shot with a potato. What’s more, if you ARE taking a selfie in low light, iPhones use their screens as a faux front-facing flash and don’t really have a dedicated LED light, so you’re likely to end up with a very imbalanced photo that’s either too bright or too dim. To guarantee the quality of your take, stick with your iPhone’s iSight Camera.
Tip #7: Use Both Hands
You’ve probably seen folks go for the one-handed selfie, and that’s perfectly okay—if you’re actually shooting a B-grade found-footage film. As any iPhone user can attest, shaky hands can ruin even the most perfect selfie. So unless you own an iPhone model with anti-shake like the iPhone 7, use both hands and keep your arms close to your body.
Tip #8: Try Square Mode
Like everybody else, you’re probably taking selfies that you can post on social media. If so, make your life easier and use Square Mode when snapping your pic. As the name suggests, it shoots square-shaped photos (as oppose to the regular, rectangular ones), removing one step off of your editing process.
Tip #9: Catch the Perfect Moment via Burst Mode
Sometimes, capturing the perfect moment can be difficult, especially if you take it one shot at a time. If you have an iPhone 5s or higher, turn on Burst Mode to take consecutive shots of your selfie moment and pick the best one. This even allows you to take your selfie mid-movement without the usual blur. On iPhone 6 or higher, your camera app will suggest a photo you’ll probably like best from the batch. But don’t do this in low light, since your camera is likely to use a slower shutter speed, effectively rendering this feature null.
Tip #10: Turn HDR On
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is an iPhone feature that enables you to take photos with accurate amounts of exposure, even in high contrast settings. Since it automatically corrects for brightness, it makes your iPhone suited for outdoors, even landscape photography. This feature is especially helpful if you’re using natural scenery like this as your selfie backdrop.
Tip #11: Take Remote Selfies
Sometimes, when your artistic sense kicks in or if you’re taking a “group selfie,” you might feel that it’s better to snap your pic remotely to get a better field of view. There are several ways you can do that. You can use the timer on your camera app, and it’ll give you a few seconds to strike your pose. Or you can use a Bluetooth camera remote, which gives you a bit more liberty in timing and arranging your shot. OR you can use a gesture control app, like Cam Me, which takes your picture when you make a gesture like you’re snapping a pic – which, by the way, is way cooler than the other two options.
Tip #12: Apply a Filter
You’re probably already doing this, but adding a filter to your selfie can enhance its quality and get rid of some noise in your background. Picking the right filter can also serve to emphasize certain elements of your photo, like the theme and certain physical objects within your shot that you want accented. Snapseed is an awesome iOS app that allows you to add cool filters to your selfies, as well as perform a bevy of other photo processing tasks. It has intuitive features so even those new to the selfie game can edit photos with ease.
BONUS TIP: Make a Selfie Time-Lapse
Hyperlapse is an iOS-exclusive app by Instagram that allows users to take time-lapse selfies on the FaceTime cameras of their iPhones, like this. So go somewhere interesting and snap your own #selfielapse using this awesome app!
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