How to Take a Good Selfie: Tips for Set-up

Riley & Pepere

So we’ve already established that sometimes a selfie is just necessary, right? If you haven’t already read last week’s post, go check it out!¬†But it’s no fun at all, if the photo comes out lousy.

Here are my favorite tips and tricks to get yourself ready for a great selfie!

Check out the background

Running selfieBefore I turned off onto our driveway after my run, there were lots of places where I could have taken this shot, but there were also lots of other distracting things that I didn’t want to capture- other houses, mailboxes, street signs, pot holes and broken pavement. I opted for the dirt driveway. Why? It’s neutral in color. You can see the puddles in the background which add a little interest without being overly distracting and its a good reminder that I can run in the rain and still be ok with it when I get home. It sets the scene without getting in the way.

Where is the light?

The first thing to look out for is shadows. You don’t want harsh, unflattering¬†shadows on your face. Try to avoid taking a shot on a bright, sunny day (opt for open shade, not an area right under a tree with dappled shade as that will cause pockets of light and dark which is equally frustrating). Look at what you see on your screen and unless the background is your main objective, start taking very tiny steps in a circle until you re-position yourself into better light.

SunglassesThis shot was taken on a very sunny day (hence the purchase of some new sunglasses). It took a little maneuvering to get a shot where the sunglasses didn’t cast shadows down on my face. But those 10 seconds of positioning will yield a much better image.

Sunlight in WinterSometimes in doing this, the sun will stream through in just right way and give you a really cool effect! Play around with it. Yes, this obscures half my face but I love it! Sunshine in wintertime is hard to come by! This is a rare gem I chose to celebrate.

Capture more than just your face: adjust your angle to tell more of the story

Shoes, Shawl BeerOn our trip to Portland I was enjoying the first fits of Spring and the opportunity to wear my new Sperry’s while still being wrapped in the warmth of my Tan House Brook shawl. Dan and I were on a brewery tour and as I looked down I was so happy with the scene, I realized this was something I wanted to capture. While the smile on my face was certainly there, this tells more of my story that day. New shoes, jeans + tee with my shawl and great beer. This is still ME just from another angle.

WalkingI’ve enjoyed posting about my runs on Instagram [What an awesome, motivated group we have there! Thank you!] and the point of these photos isn’t to share my face. It’s to share the story of me- in motion, in action, making progress. It’s my legs doing the real work. They deserve to be in the shot. Yes, that means you need to get creative with the angle, but it can definitely work.

Jen on the train

In this shot, I positioned myself at the very edge of the photo so you can see the length of the train car (and all those gloriously empty seats beside me). Your eye leads down from my face to my arm, over to my bag and down the row of seats. I’ve used this selfie to bring you into my world, into my commute home, my daily routine. Yes, I’m a part of that, but again, that’s not the whole story. The point is to capture me AND my natural environment.

Remember this when you’re wanting to share your selfies on Social Media. While your friends certainly want to see you- they probably also want to see where you are, what you’re doing, why you’re so excited to be there. Share those details when you can.

Ask a friend to play along

Jen + kidsLet’s face it, selfies are a lot more fun with other people! It can be a little tougher to get everyone in the shot, so move the phone or camera around until you can see everyone and don’t be afraid to squeeze in close. The good thing about selfies is that everyone can see if they’re in the shot- even the little ones. Tell them to make sure they can see their face and you should be good!

Jen + Riley

Go Ahead– Be Silly

Happy AnniversaryWhen Dan and I went away for our anniversary I wanted some shots of us together, but again, no personal photographer. He’s not especially fond of having his picture taken and he’s definitely not into selfies, so I just made light of it. We were in a reasonably upscale restaurant, at the bar waiting for a table. I whipped out the phone and said something like “let’s do this really quick” as if we were trying to get away with something! The ridiculousness of the whole thing had us giggling in no time. I took about 10 shots to get it right, but I love how well this captures the fun we had that night!

Crop to get what you wantDad & JenDad and I went to the Jason Aldean concert last summer. We had SO. MUCH. FUN! But there was no else there to capture the night for us, so it was up to me and the power of the selfie. I’m a righty and pressing the shutter with my left hand is often clumsy so you’ve got a bit more of my arm in the shot than is ideal.

Simple solution: Crop it down. Depending on what you’re using it for, a square crop is even more ideal and there was nothing of interest in that bottom portion of the photo, so all I removed was excess arm.

Dad Jen Crop Square

That’s better!

Still to come: how to make the most out of your phone when taking selfies and how to choose a flattering angle!

Until then, just get out there and practice! Remember, you can always delete the ones that don’t come out well. I do it all the time!

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