When Oxford Dictionaries named “selfie” as the 2013 word of the year, it’s unlikely that people realized the cultural phenomenon that was to come. Within a few years, June 21 was declared National Selfie Day, and research showed that millennials would take more than 25,000 selfies in their lifetime.
Of course, not every selfie is created equally. Regardless of how simple they may seem, these photographs require skill to achieve perfection. Utilize these tips to make this year’s National Selfie Day a productive one.
1. Get the Basics Down
It’s important to get the basics of selfies down before delving into filters, lighting, and other aspects of the perfect pic. You typically want to look up at the camera when taking these photos, and raising your eyebrows when doing so can make your eyes appear larger.
Also, extending your head away from your neck will make your neck look longer and give the appearance of a sharper jawline. Finally, hold your phone or camera out to the side instead of in front of you. This usually provides a much more flattering angle.
2. Put on a Smile (Or Don’t)
When you’re trying to show off your radiant smile for National Selfie Day, you need to make sure that it’s natural and real. Think of something that makes you exceedingly happy before snapping your pic. Forced smiles are typically apparent, and they can ruin an otherwise perfect image.
Of course, it’s okay to go for a more serious selfie. In these instances, use your eyes to convey emotion. Whatever the case, keep your mouth relaxed and exhale when taking the pic. This will keep your smile — or lack thereof — from looking tense.
3. Slowly Spin for Perfection
A selfie is a moment in time. This means no one will ever know that you spun around like a top prior to taking the photo. Fortunately, this seemingly silly maneuver can result in a huge quality improvement. Slowly turning while holding up your phone will allow you to identify the best lighting for your selfie. Avoid using harsh light — such as direct sunlight — as it can cast shadows over your face.
4. Take Plenty of Photos
Kylie Jenner once admitted to taking over 500 selfies just to get the “perfect” picture. You don’t necessarily need to go to this extent, but snapping several images is the best way to ensure a memorable National Selfie Day. Try changing your angles slightly and tilting your head in different directions. These small alterations can result in huge changes in overall quality. Pick out the best of the group and run with it.
5. Don’t Over-Edit
We’ve all seen people edit their selfies to the point that they’re barely recognizable. It’s okay to make the image look flattering, but you should never overdo it. If using a filter, there’s often no need to use it at maximum capacity. Doing so has even been shown to cause potential health issues (seriously).
If editing an image, either through your phone or with Apple Photos, just focus on the glaringly obvious areas (e.g. lines around eyes). National Selfie Day only comes once a year, so make yourself look your best while staying within the realm of reality.
Make National Selfie Day Perfect
Whether it’s updating our dating apps, showing followers that we’re having a blast, or simply wanting a new Facebook image to spice things up, taking the perfect selfie can go a long way. Different types of photography require different approaches, and while these tips might not suffice for landscape images, they’re essential for your modern self-portrait. Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll have a picture perfect National Selfie Day.