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How to Take Great Selfies

From someone who photographs like they’ve never seen a camera before

By Rosie Ford Published 10 months ago Updated 5 months ago 4 min read
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Have you been feeling down about yourself lately? Maybe you’ve been wondering why everyone else looks so stunningly gorgeous in their Instagram posts and feel ugly in every photo you take. I used to feel the same way. Then I discovered their secret.

First of all, you’re not ugly. Everybody has good angles and bad angles, and something as simple as lighting can make you look like a completely different person. While I got all dolled up for the cover photo, most of the time, I look something like this (minus the baby quail I had to rescue from a window well):

All hail bird queen!

So if you’re wondering whether anyone actually looks like those too-good-to-be human influencers you see online, the truth is that no, no one does. Even the people who look like that don’t look like that. But no one is posting their less-than-flattering photos online. Well, some people are.

Immediately regretting asking for blunt bangs. I didn’t ask her to fix it because there was no way it could get better.

What’s more is that many influencers use filters so heavy they’re unrecognizable in the final result. They’re slimming themselves down, airbrushing their pores (we’re not even allowed to have skin now), giving themselves cheekbones, basically creating whole new people. If that sounds like it would be bad for their body image, and the general public’s, you’d be right.

According to a Psychology Today article by Tara Well, PhD, researchers from the City University of London found that 90% of young women use or have used a filter at some point in their lives. Chances are, most of your peers are using filters. Even I’m guilty of using one from time to time. So I’ll say it again: YOU ARE NOT UGLY. Don’t compare yourself to people who don’t exist!

All the selfies on my Instagram page at present are filter-less. Here’s how I take good photos with just makeup (which is kind of a filter on its own if you think about it. Why do women feel so much pressure to further change their appearance? Oh, right, it’s because the beauty industry is evil and predatory and . . . anyway).

STEP 1: Figure out what makes you feel confident.

Do you like a nice cat eye? Go for it, queen! How about plaid? Maybe a vintage dress or suspenders? Find what speaks to you. My style has evolved drastically over the years. When I was thirteen I favored a Karen haircut and blue eyeshadow. Now I admire the femme fatales of the 1930s and 1940s, though I’d never want to live in that time period. Thank goodness for modern medicine and basic human rights!

STEP 2: Find some good lighting.

Most of my selfies are taken in front of the same window because of the soft, natural lighting. Yes, I do take selfies elsewhere. Do I post them? No. Sometimes. If they’re funny. In front off my window I’m in total control and I’ve had a lot of practice, so I know how to get the results I want.

STEP 3: Figure out what you want to accentuate.

Even though blue-eyed people be like 👁️👄👁️, I usually try to draw attention to my eyes. They are probably my favorite part of my face. I usually focus mostly on my eye makeup because that’s where I want people to look.

Blinding myself for aesthetic purposes.

STEP FOUR: Figure out your angles.

Marilyn Monroe looks like a goddess with her chin tilted upward. I look like I’m trying to show you my (rather unimpressive) brain through my nose. That doesn’t make me ugly; that just makes me awkward from a certain angle.

STEP FIVE: Don’t take pictures.

What?! That’s right. Don’t take pictures. Use your selfie camera to take a video so you can set up the shot on the fly, as well as try a range of different poses and take screenshots of the ones you like. This is the most important tip on this list. It’s simple probability; the more frames you have to work with, the more likely it is that you’ll walk away with one you think is absolutely fabulous. I usually record around seven minutes of video whenever I take a selfie. I definitely don’t get it right on the first try.

I hope some of this advice was useful to you. If not, I hope it at least showed you that we only post the best sides of ourselves on Instagram.

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About the Creator

Rosie Ford

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