How to Take a Great Selfie

December 5, 2014

Whether ‘Thelma and Louise’ or Taylor Swift started it, this is a selfie world. While there are some tasteless uses of it such as funeral selfies and such, there is a fashionable and classic way to have fun with this eternal trend.

Although I would definitely not recommend using one as a professional profile picture, selfies can be fun. When done well they can be flattering and add a personal touch to a business persona. After all, despite it being a tech world, we still look for connection to others.

That being said, there are many ways that you can make a selfie that portrays the real (amazing, expressive, radiant) you and, hey, who knows, you might even start your own Kardashian-level trend.

Whatever the purpose, here are three tips to create your most fabulous selfie:

1. Choose Your Lighting Carefully

Photographer and style blogger Candice Lake recently told Allure that in a selfie, “There is nothing worse than having a huge shadow cast over your face.” Who wants to add dark circles or a heavy, austere look! So before you click that big red button on your phone, make sure the lighting is great otherwise reposition yourself before you snap the picture.

  • Does the lighting make you look radiant or tired?
  • Do you have a weird shadow behind your head or is everything light and bright?

Experiment and take a few pictures to see how they look before you settle on one you love.
If in doubt about the lighting beauty blogger Michelle Phan suggests finding a window so you have natural and open light around you and especially in front of you; this allows for your face to have a natural glow which can sometimes be lost thanks to the unnatural and universally unflattering lighting of florescent bulbs. And always avoid overhead lights unless you want to accentuate undereye circles.

Here’s a picture of me with the light overhead (look at those shadows!) and then one with the light in front…ahhh, so much better.


2. Setting It Up

If you have never taken a selfie before the first thing you need to do is turn the camera lens around so you can see what you look like as you take the picture. It’s very simple. Click on the camera icon on your phone and when it comes up, look for the picture icon of the camera with the rotating arrows (it’s often in the upper right depending on the type of phone you have). When you press it, the lens will turn around so you see yourself in the camera.

You will not be surprised to know that my #1 recommended selfie style tip is to wear a beautiful color. It reflects on your face and in your eyes and makes you look radiant—who doesn’t want that!

If you love jewelry like I do, wear a pretty, sparkly necklace or earrings. As you can see below, color is important and jewelry is the icing on the cake—adding interest and personality.


Lastly, where are you taking the picture? I sometimes take one after I get my hair colored to show my partner my new ‘do.’ I often take it in the salon bathroom so I’m very careful not to get a picture of a toilet or anything unmentionable in the background—even if it is all staying in the family!

Before you snap the picture, take a look around. Does that mustard colored wall behind you make you look sallow or is your husband making a funny face as he eats breakfast? Of course, it all depends on how far away the camera is from your face as to how much you’ll see behind you, but it is worth considering to avoid any embarrassing moments.

3. Try Multiple Poses Before Posting

I’ve been taking selfies for a while and have experimented with how to pose so I like the outcome. It seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to make it easy to take a picture you like. Even Katie Couric did a selfie how-to on her show this past year.

This will save you from having to experiment or give up because you don’t like what you see.

Important Posing Tip: For the most flattering angle, hold the camera above you at a 45-degree angle. This makes the upper part of your face more prominent and is likely to make you appear like you have a broad chin or double chins to slim your face.

Then, hold your head at a slight angle—again, it helps to add interest to the photo and keep it from broadening parts of your face.

Express! Smile, frown, laugh, pout – do something to make the picture fun, but do not do this: The only thing you want to avoid (especially if you are taking the picture straight on as opposed to from above, is pulling your chin back into your neck or you will look like you have several chins—not to mention that it makes you look stiff and stressed.


I sometimes like to keep my selfies tight for a different look and because it reduces the issue of background problems. Not to mention that it makes it easier to click the button to take the picture.

If you really want to get technical and be able to change the lightening and brighten your skin or lip color, download the Camera+ app. It costs less than a dollar. I haven’t gotten that involved – I just follow all the other tips here and it generally works out just fine, but if you are a techie and enjoy the fun of altering your image then go for it.

Mostly, though, experiment:

  • Do you like one side of your face better than the other?
  • Fluff up your hair or give it a quick brush to bring out the shine.
  • Try one with your glasses on and one with them off.
  • Take a selfie with someone else (yes, it’s still called a selfie!) to make it even more fun and take some of the pressure off.

Above all, remember to smile – a happy, beaming face looks great and joy is always contagious!

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