Stand next to some indirect lighting to get a well-lit shot. If you’re outside, stand so that the sun is at your side and not in front of you, or behind you. If you’re indoors, find a well-lit window and stand next to it so you’re face is nearly parallel to the glass. If the light is shining directly on your face, it’s going to wash your features out. If you stand with the light at your back, your face is going to look too dark.
Natural lighting is generally better than artificial lighting, which can distort your skin tone and require a longer shutter speed. Still, you can pull off a great selfie if it’s dark out and all you’ve got is artificial lighting. It just may take a few extra attempts.
If it is dark out, artificial lighting is your only option and that’s okay. Just try to position yourself so there’s some light illuminating your face from the side.
If you’re in a restaurant or at school, just work with what you’ve got. You can still take a great selfie even if your lighting conditions aren’t ideal.
Throw on some colorful clothes if you’re home to make the selfie pop. If you’re just lounging at home, flip through your wardrobe and choose what you want to wear. All-black clothing is going to make you look a little flat, so opt for something with a dash of color to stand out a little in your photo.
The one exception here is the white T-shirt. A crisp, clean, white T-shirt is a great option if you’re just trying to play it cool.
A patterned shirt or solid-colored polo is always a safe bet if you aren’t sure what to wear.
If you’re taking a selfie to showcase that snazzy black suit or dark Halloween costume, don’t worry about adding any color.
Check a mirror or camera to make sure your hair and look are on point. Either head to the nearest mirror, or pull the camera on your phone up and inspect the way you look. If your hair is looking a little rough, grab a comb or run your fingers through your hair. You don’t need to break out the mouse or hair gel if that isn’t the vibe you’re going for, but just make sure that you’re looking presentable.
Take one last glance at your clothes. This is a good opportunity to catch any old mustard stains before you start snapping photos.
If you’re at home and your facial hair could use some cleaning up, take a few minutes to shave before you take the photo.
Stand in front of a mirror to show off your outfit. Don’t be scared of the infamous mirror selfie. It’s a common choice for sure, and you may have some apprehensions about the phone being in your shot, but it’s always a solid choice if you’re well-dressed. Hold the camera up just below your chin and slightly to the side so there’s a full view of your face if you’re going this route.
While it may work if you’re at a fancy restaurant or something, try to avoid the notorious bathroom selfie. It just isn’t going to send a cool message if there’s a shower curtain or toilet in the background. It’s totally okay if it isn’t obviously a bathroom, though.
It may be a good idea to throw your free hand in your pocket so you don’t look like you’re standing there bored in front of the mirror.
Turn at a slight angle and stand up straight for a closeup shot. Hold the camera up while you adjust the angle to see how it looks. Stand up straight to present confidence and avoid looking hunched over. Shift at a slight angle so you aren’t facing directly into the camera. This will give your face a little depth and keep you from looking like you’re taking a photo at the DMV.
If your hair is styled, turn to the side that your hair is parted to give yourself the best look.
If you’re sitting down and you can’t get up because you’re at an event or something, scoot to the front of your seat and straighten your spine as best as you can.
Tuck your head down a little to avoid that double-chin illusion. Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and gasped in horror at a double-chin that you normally don’t have? This is typically a lighting mistake combined with a bad head angle. Shift your head down 1 in (2.5 cm) or so to avoid snapping a shot where your neck looks bigger than it actually is.
Jutting your chin forward a little bit may help with this as well. Just make sure you don’t move your head so far forward that it looks unnatural.
Hold the camera up at, or near eye-level for a flattering angle. You can hold the camera slightly above your head to dramatically minimize any double-chin illusions. It’s also okay to hold it a little below eye-level too so long as you keep that chin down. Generally speaking, holding the camera slightly up will result in a better selfie than holding the camera down. Eye-level is a perfectly solid choice, though.
The trick here is to not go overboard with the angle of the camera. If you’re holding it way over your head, the selfie may look a little odd. The reverse is also true. If you hold the camera down around your waist, you aren’t going to capture a flattering shot.
Experiment with different angles to create different moods in the photo. Remember, there's no right or wrong—it's all a matter of preference.
Position yourself so that the background isn’t super messy. Once you’ve got the angle down, inspect the camera to see what’s visible in the background. It won’t be a good look if you’ve got a messy desk and unmade bed behind you. Angle the camera and turn as needed so that the background looks clean, crisp, and well-maintained.
An exposed brick wall or fancy piece of art can make a classy backdrop for a good selfie.
Lying in bed for your selfie is a good option if you’re flirting with someone or taking a super laid-back shot, but it often isn’t the best place for a selfie if you want a flattering angle.
Show off a little with the background if you’re out and about. If you’re out on the town or travelling, orient yourself so that something interesting is standing out in the background. Try to divide the frame so that you occupy roughly half of the image and the background is easily visible and readable. This is the best way to show off all the fun you’re having on your beach vacation or brag about the great seats at the concert.
It may help to lean back a little and hold the phone at a slight angle to make your selfie a little more dynamic while you’re doing this.
Look away from the camera for a subtle, thoughtful look. For a slightly more mysterious vibe, look slightly away from the camera. You can look up for a bit of a hopeful or playful feeling, or look down to play up those brooding bad-boy vibes. Include a wry smile or raise an eyebrow if you want to look a little provocative.
Don’t turn your head too much if you’re looking away. You don’t want to take a selfie of your cheek!
Stare into the camera for a confident or flirty vibe. Keep in mind that your screen is under the camera lens, so it’s going to look like you’re staring down a little if you look at the screen. Look at the lens directly for a more intimate selfie. Not only is this a great choice if you want to exude confidence, but it’s a great way to send a playful selfie to your crush.
Staring into the camera makes the viewer feel like you’re looking directly at them. A lot of men are shy when it comes to selfies, so this is a great way to demonstrate your independence and confidence.
Smile or raise an eyebrow to show off your charm and positive energy. A lot guys aren’t comfortable smiling for a photo, but it’s a really great way to let people know you’re fun and personable. Keep your lips closed for a smoother look, or open your lips a bit to show your teeth. Raise an eyebrow slightly if you want to look a little inquisitive or playful.
As far as your facial expression goes, you don’t have to smile or raise an eyebrow if you don’t want to. Just make sure you do something to show a little personality and emotion. If you just stare with a blank face, it’s going to look pretty bland and uninteresting.
Unless you’re doing something ironic, stay away from the “duck-face” look where you purse your lips together.
Squint a little, or smirk a bit for a more mysterious look. If you’re going for an edgier vibe, squint and tuck your eyebrows down a bit. In addition (or alternatively) you can raise one edge of your lips up to give off some mischievous energy. This is a great option if you’re sending a late-night selfie to that special someone, or you’re trying to send the message that you’re up to no good.
Don’t overdo it with the squinting and furrowed brows. You don’t want to look melodramatic or like you’re trying to keep the sun out of your eyes.
Throw up a peace sign or wave to spread positive energy. If it feels like you just aren’t doing anything interesting in your selfie or you want to show the viewer some love, do something with your hands! Raise a peace sign up, throw a hand in the air like you’re waving, or give a thumbs up. This is a really easy way to put a little positivity into your shot.
Additional options include some playful finger guns, the “power to the people” fist, or the classic punk rock pinky and index finger sign.
Go for a ridiculous or goofy look to demonstrate your playfulness. Who said selfies have to be serious? Feel free to let that freak flag fly. Open your mouth and stick your tongue out, or gnash your teeth and hold a fist up like you’re jokingly getting ready for a fight. Cross your eyes and purse your lips, or draw a curly moustache on your finger and hold it under your nose. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun and doing something goofy if that’s the mood you’re in!
You may think you look dumb, or silly, but it really takes a lot of guts to take an intentionally goofy photo. You’re only going to come off as confident and comfortable with who you are.
Take multiple shots to improve the odds you get a great photo. Once everything is perfect, it’s time to take the selfie! Snap a bunch of photos to increase the chances that you capture the perfect look. Take at least 5-10 photos so that you don’t need to worry If you move the camera or blink in the middle of a few shots.
If you find it awkward to press the shutter button while holding the phone, go into your settings and remap the shutter button to a volume button. This will make it much easier to take the shot.
Review your work and take additional selfies in a fresh style if you’d like. You don’t need to stick with one expression, angle, or look if you aren’t happy with your selfies. After you take a few photos, review your work. If your selfies don’t look good to you, mix it up and change your expression or angle. Don’t rush it and try a few different styles out to give yourself as many options as possible.
Don’t be too self-critical. People are often surprised when they review their selfies because it doesn’t look “right,” but it’s easy to be too hard on yourself.
Use a filter and correct the color to improve the overall composition. Before you ship that selfie off, take a few minutes to add any final touches. Pull up your phone’s editing software or Instagram and scroll through the filters to see if there’s one that looks good. Adjust the brightness if your selfie is too dark or light, and turn the contrast up or down to adjust the shadows as needed. Once you’re happy with it, send it to your friend or upload it to social media.
When it comes to the filters, don’t overdo it. It’s better to use a subtle filter that’s barely noticeable than to oversaturate your image with too much texture.
It’s totally okay to upload a selfie without adjusting or editing if you’re happy with the way it looks.
Snapseed, VSCO, Facetune, Pixlr, and AirBrush are popular photo-editing apps you can download.