According to Oxford, a selfie is a “photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media”. According to your camera, it’s a constant reminder that we may never look as good as our mirrors.
But did you know the recipe for the perfect selfie isn’t really photogenic genes, but rather just a combination of perspective and science? Here are a few pointers to help you bring out that non-existent jawline, conceal those chins, and bring out your very best in your next selfie! 😍
According to a study conducted by Prof. Boris Paskhover of Rutgers New Jersey medical school, a selfie taken 12 inches away from the face enlarges the nasal base by approximately 30% as compared to one taken at a 5 feet distance. 👃
Though this might tempt you to purchase a selfie stick, it isn’t necessary. Instead, simply stretch your arm away and ensuring ample distance between your face and the camera the next time you want a sweet click!
According to the paper, ‘Taking the perfect selfie: Investigating the impact of perspective on the perception of higher cognitive variables’ by Tobias M. Schneider, the viewer of the selfie is seen to be impacted significantly by the perspective of the photo. Selfies with right cheek emphasis could come off as more sympathetic and attractive than the left cheek. 😮
Furthermore, the lowering of the camera also tends to add bodyweight. This could be due to the crystal clear shot of your double chin (you know it’s there). Similarly, high shot selfies can increase perceived attraction when it comes to your height/weight illusion.
But take care- high shot selfies can add a vulnerable and empathetic touch to your selfies, while long-distance low shots can make you look more dominant and confident. 😎 It is up to you to decide which attribute of yours you want to showcase.
3. Follow the light
Lighting is the perfect selfie magnet. No one likes to have to strain their eyes to figure out where you are in a pitch-black photo.
The article, ‘How to achieve perfect selfie lighting at home’ by Brittney Morgan, speaks volumes of how the right lighting can elevate your selfie. Keep the light source parallel and towards your face. Natural lighting is preferred because it is soft and diffused. ☀️ If there isn’t enough natural light to help you achieve this look, use a selfie light or dimmed indoor lighting at a distance to achieve the same look!
4. Background and content
Keep your selfie background interesting. Every element of your selfie helps your viewer create a story. If you’re taking an indoor selfie, make sure the chair with all the unfolded laundry is out of the way; In other words, keep the background clean. If you’re outside, try to use the surrounding greenery or attractions to your advantage.
Super important note: While selfies at an extreme height may look cool, it is not NEARLY worth risking your life for!!! Using props, scenic backgrounds and funky lighting can go a long way- you do not need to climb a 30+ storey building to spice up your Instagram. 🙅
5. Expressions, eyes, and lips
According to the 2015 paper ‘How to take a good selfie’ by Mahdi. M. Kalayeh, expressions such as frowning, mouth open, tongue out, and duck face attracts a lot more negative responses than positive. Try natural smiles and open eyes for your next click. 😁 Not good at pulling off a natural smile? Think of a special/funny memory to help you out! Never fake a smile- it is more visible than you realize. Pro tip: If you’re aiming for a more sensual selfie, clench your jaw, part your lips just a little, and lazy-gaze into the camera.
6. Head pose
A static head may look good in some selfies, but not always. A slightly tilted head looks friendly and welcoming. In the study, ‘Head pose recommendation for taking good selfies’ by Yi and Mei, experienced photographers were asked to rate different head posed selfies. The agreement percentage was found more in vertical tilting than horizontal.
Since most selfies are compact and restricted to include only the face, make the best of what you’ve got. Try different angles for your head pose and find the one that stands out. 🤳
7. Hand placement
We tend to become extra conscious and awkward with our hands when it comes to taking pictures. You can take creative selfies with your hands by gently laying your fingers near your lips or framing your face with both your hands for an effeminate touch. 👐
If you’re someone who has a flaunt-worthy jawline, hold your hand close to your jaw to bring emphasis to it.
8. Play with your hair
If you’re having a good hair day, why lose a chance to flaunt it? 👧 You can cover parts of your face with hair if there are particular features you want to emphasize or leave a playful loose strand to make your selfie more intriguing. You can even run your hand through your hair or hold onto your bangs if you are having difficulty with the hand placement.
9. Get creative
Selfies provide a window into who you are as a person. It is an easy way of displaying your qualities. Do not limit your selfies to simply what’s ‘trending’ or most common throughout your feed. Play around with your camera, colors, backgrounds, shadows, and different props to try creative combinations, and you’ll be surprised by how much you can portray through a selfie! 😍
People enjoy taking selfies because it’s fun! Is it a teeny-tiny bit narcissistic? Maybe, but so what? 🤷 Selfies aren’t just about showing off that good life on social media but can also be about loving and learning more about yourself; Knowing your good and bad features on-camera can help you accept yourself in more ways than one. 😘 Happy clicking!
Written and Researched by Angela Merlin