The art of taking selfies. It is how we can see ourselves and how others see us in this social media age. The built-in camera in our handy smartphones have enabled us to freely take selfies, and of other people and memories we wish to keep. Some people feel that this is a sign of how our society has become increasingly narcissistic and self-indulgent while others choose it as their form of self expression. However, it is also because with self-facing cameras on your smartphone, you now get to choose how you look in your photos before taking them and gone are the days where you had to trust a stranger with your camera to take that ‘perfect’ shot.
Needless to say, selfies are here to stay. Yet, taking a good selfie can be a bit of an art. So, we’ve decided to lay out some tips for you so that you look and feel your best when you take your #selfie.
Know the ‘magic’ angle and position
Some people unknowingly stick to an almost symmetrical photo with their face right in the middle of it. That just looks like a passport photo. Instead, try positioning yourself to one-third of the picture. This helps give personality to your selfie. Also, try to position your phone just above your chest, in line with your shoulder, arms stretched and aim the lens at you. This will make your selfie look less generic since you are likely to capture a small area of background.
selfie credit: Kristi Randel
Always keep the phone steady until it is focused
This might seem like a really trivial action but you will be surprised at how often people rush to take selfies, only to have a blurred image. It pays to do it right the first time and make that smile count! You’ll remember how happy you are to capture that joyful moment over recalling a worn-out smile.
Use both hands to hold your smartphone so you can have more control. One to press the shutter release button and the other to keep the phone steady.
Choose your filters before taking the selfie
Noir, sepia, process…smartphones nowadays come with this function and it is always a great idea to consider the occasion and match it to the filter.
For example, if you’re taking a selfie with a quiet background with a fair amount of greenery, choose the effect that saturates the colours to give it a vibrant energy. If you’re taking a selfie in an urban setting, one sure option is to do it in monochrome (black & white).
Keeping the melancholic feel in a urban setting
Monochrome makes for a good filter if you have a simple subject and theme for your selfie
Get your lighting right
All smartphone cameras are now smart enough to sense the lighting of your shot. All you got to do is to tap on the side of the face so you can achieve a well-balanced exposure for your selfies. People often tap exactly at the center of the face and the phone’s camera occasionally mixes up the exposure, giving too much priority on the face and ignoring the background. This ends up with a glowing face floating in a darkened background.
Always position yourself against any light.
This ensures your face is well lit and looks flattering and there will not be any lens flare in your selfie. If you’re going for a sunset/sunrise selfie, always check that the exposure for your selfie is well-adjusted. Smartphone cameras nowadays are able to adapt to settings like these.
Here is a good example of balanced lighting for a sunrise selfie. The face and body features are well contrasted and visible against the sunrise and picturesque background.
selfie credit: tallgirltravel
That said, everyone has a different look so always play around with lighting and your camera angle so you can identify what works best with you.
Know your smartphone camera potential
As a rule, older smartphones will definitely have lower potential for amazing selfies so be understanding on the quality if you do not have the latest smartphone. Smartphones nowadays are progressing faster each with Huawei releasing the P10 series just last month. The picture quality is pretty sharp and vibrant, and looks equally good after transferring it to my iPhone 5S. There are other key features that work amazingly well together with the image quality.
The supercharge function, studio-like editing and portrait enhancement feature makes it great as a phone for selfies and locking in your memories on your outings.
In terms of photo-taking features, the P10 series is currently in the lead followed by the iPhone 7 series. We’ve taken some comparison photos taken by both iPhone 7 and Huawei P10 below.
iPhone 7 (left) Huawei P10 (right)
The iPhone 7 does not handle lighting well and have problems with differentiating the person with the background. The key drawback of the P10 is when you use it against a colourful background as seen in the first photo. Normally it would work out if you tried out the filter tip for selfies with green backgrounds with other smartphones. P10 on the other hand has already done the work for you.
Do something interesting or have an interesting pose
Pose with props, sit on a yatch, smile, look silly or grin like today is the best day you’ve had. Make your selfies memorable because that’s what they’re supposed to be!
selfie credit: Kristi Randel
Find image editing applications that will help boost the quality of your selfie
I used to be unaware of all the apps available to help improve your smartphone-taken selfies and my selfies were looking rather dull; snapshot without frames, lack of background effects, layout flexibility. After being introduced to other image editing applications like Layout and Squaready, my images were beginning to meet the ‘standards’ of social media. Other relevant apps are various snapshot timers that gives you time to get into position after pressing the shutter button. A few popular apps for editing selfies is Perfect 365 (free) and Facetune 2 (with monthly subscription) and of course, if you like to have motion selfies, you can never go without Boomerang.