National Selfie Day
7 ways to take a better selfie by Rachel aka Gossip Girl (& Mrs Jon Bradley Photography)
I’m not usually one for National This & That Days but it seems that 21st June is National Selfie Day. Yes, that’s today and it almost passed me by. I’ve no idea how. I’m an avid Instagrammer (@gossipgirltalks) and work on all of the social media here at Jon Bradley Photography. So I couldn’t let the day pass without a blog post on the nightmare that is the selfie.
Search #selfie on Instagram and you get 255,850,826 searches. Clearly the trend for the selfie isn’t dying down. So here are 7 ways to take a better selfie. Because really, we could all do with some tips of how to make them look slightly less dodgy (see below to prove my point).
We can’t talk selfies without mentioning the Queen Of The Selfie, Kim Kardashian. Earlier last year in a light-hearted video for T-Mobile KK revealed how to take the perfect selfie. Lighting is key. So it would seem is a massive dose of patience. She can take upwards of 300 images before she gets the perfect selfie. I mean, as much as I admire her persistence, 300+ images to get the perfect selfie? Believe me Kim, this isn’t always possible when you’re a ‘civilian’. (Great photo of KK, taken by Jon Bradley!),
Pouting may look great on screen but it sure as hell doesn’t go down well when you’re in the school playground. The sun’s out, your hair’s behaving itself (a very rare day in my world) and you get a sudden urge to get a shot of yourself looking half decent in your new demin shirt. That reputation you’re trying to cultivate on Instagram. Destroyed in a flash. No one wants to watch as you perfect your pose in public. (Actually we do, it’s hilarious to watch someone doing their best Blue Steel pose, selfie-style).
But seriously, selfies need to be quick and fuss-free. You need to look great at the touch of a button.
So we’ll skip Kim’s advice, go for something a little more practical, all be it a bit tongue in cheek!
#1 Tongue in cheek
This isn’t an actual piece of advice. This would look terrible as a selfie. Trust me.
#2 The Close Crop
This eliminates distracting backgrounds and removes your arm holding the camera that you just can’t get out of the frame.
The solution is to crop. Get a wider shot in camera and crop later. This will keep your features in proportion and you can spend time editing your selfie in private, rather than doing it in camera (and in public).
I get creative when it comes to cropping and like to chop big parts of my head off, usually my eyes. This isn’t an actual rule and has no creative value, other than removing my dog-tired eyes from the frame when I don’t have sunglasses to hand.
#3 The Rule of Thirds
As someone who works with photographers and processes photographs daily, I know all about the rule of thirds. I’m clearly not a photographer but I know that it’s an actual thing.
Don’t position yourself in the centre of the frame (unless you’re shooting The Double Arm Shot, see #5). A selfie isn’t a passport photo so put yourself off centre. Try to keep your eye line to the top third of the screen and off to one side.
Stand in the light. It might be dark and grey most of the time in the UK but when you step into the light suddenly everything becomes a little bit Californian. If that’s too harsh at least have the light to the side of you. Shooting next to a window, with the light streaming in is a winning shot. It blows everything out, is flattering and puts an natural “Orange County’ filter on your selfie. At least that’s what I kid myself into thinking.
#5 The Double Arm Shot
I’m left handed and have an iPhone 6 plus. I just can’t seem to position myself right and get the shot. I’m terribly clumsy and the phone is just too bloody big. I now have a bouncy cover so that when I drop my phone, which is often, it doesn’t break.
The DAS is great as you can grab the camera with both hands, get the shot you want and press the shutter button with whichever hand you fancy whilst keeping a firm grip on your phone. Your arms also frame the selfie which can look great (again, this is what I tell myself but what the hell).
#5 Rope in a child
Dexterity isn’t my strong point (see #5) but with a teen to hand, I just get him to do it. Where Kim is the Queen of the Selfie, my son is in the running for King. In fact, next time you see a teen shooting a selfie, observe. The face, the pout, the frown. They all have a look and they’re bloody good at it.
When it comes to the family selfie, my son is great at getting that jaunty angle and the winning shot, all rolled into one. The chances are you have your own selfie stylist living under your roof and you don’t even know it. (Note the ‘selfie frown’ from my selfie-stylist son in pretty much all of the shots below).
#7 The Footsie.
If in doubt ditch your face and opt for your feet instead. A social media shot that’s hard to beat, the Footsie will never let you down and it’s one I use often (check out my feed for proof). No worries about squinting, crows-feet or pimples. They’re the perfect distance away for a portrait and whilst I’d love to shoot mine against envy-inducing backdrops this just isn’t going to happen. At the tube station (#mindthegap), whilst out on a run (#gymtreads) or on a mosaic floor at my local Cote Brasserie (#ihavethisthingwithfloors), they’re so easy to do and you could have a bag over your head but your followers would be none the wiser.
Perfect a few of the following and make them your signature style. Smile, take a selfie and don’t forget to share. Stick your selfie on Facebook and Instagram. Afterall, what’s the point of getting the perfect shot if no one’s going to see it.
PS – Pop over to say Hi on Instagram. It’d be great to be connected.