It was in 2013 when the folks at Oxford English Dictionary finally caved and declared ‘selfie’ as the word of the year – even though self portraits had been around for more than a decade by then. Unlike most other trends though, this one has not diminished with time; if anything, selfies are now an inseparable part of our lives. Be it grand Indian wedding selfies, T20 stadium selfies, or #iwokeuplikethis selfies, there’s no social or personal event these days we don’t commemorate with a picture of ourselves. And let’s face it – with phone cameras getting far more proficient in the art, the competition is fierce and standards high.
So, if you’re wondering why your latest Goa snap didn’t gather the likes you hoped, perhaps it’s time to refine your selfie skills with these five simple tips. And no, they don’t involve overpriced phones or expensive props.
1. Seek the light
It goes without saying that lighting is THE most important element in a picture. Photographers (and past experience) will tell you that sunset and sunrise offer the best light for selfies- bright, flattering, but never harsh. For the same reason, natural daylight or warm yellow lamps work far well indoors than tube lights, especially if you’re going for a #nomakeupselfie.
However, what if your selfie opportunity arises during a low-lit concert or by the beach at night? The trick here is to face whatever little source of light you can find. In dire situations, ask a friend to shine the torch light from their phone onto your face. Luckily, newer smartphones like the Lava Z10 allow you to take winning selfies even in the lowest of lights, thanks to its Spotlight Flash feature.
Pro-tip: Place a piece of white paper under your face to brighten up your eyes and face.
2. Angle it right
This is a lesson to learn from all the models and actors on your timeline – your camera angle can instantly transform your picture. Selfie queen Kim Kardashian, for example, favours a pose where she holds the camera way above her head with one hand, while also tilting her head at an angle. This is a time-tested trick to capture your ‘best side’, instead of a flat, frontal shot. In addition, selfie experts also recommend the “chin down, camera up” trick, to visibly lift inches off your face and highlight the cheekbones. For movie-star glamour, you can even fan yourself lightly from afar to create movement in your hair.
Pro-tip: A friendly reminder here that low angles are an absolute no-no—unless you are trying to be ironic.
3. Frame to win
It may be a selfie, but who said it can’t tell a story, too? The best selfies use elements from the background to add context and aesthetic details. After all, there’s no point in posting a selfie from Koh Samui if your background is a large, grey blur. The trick is to offset your face and capture the best elements from your setting – be it a gorgeous sunset or a string of twinkling fairy lights at a wedding. Additionally, it helps to remember a few other tricks from photography class as well, such as the rule of thirds – which directs that your subject (in this case, your face) be positioned roughly one-third to the left or right, rather than the centre.
Pro-tip: Watch out for photobombers or the errant lamp-post sticking out from behind your head like a staff.
4. More than a pretty face
Nowhere is it deemed that a selfie must only contain your mugshot – you can very well invite other parts of you to the party. From the full-length mirror selfie showing off your latest outfit and the widely popular foot selfie (preferably against a stunning ocean view), to post-manicure nailfies and flirty back selfies – there’s plenty to flaunt beyond your face. Plus, you can optimize the features of your phone’s rear camera in such cases. For instance, with its Big Pixel Sensor, the Lava Z10’s 8MP rear camera offers richer and brighter photos against a range of indoor and outdoor backdrops.
Pro-tip: By choosing interesting patterns, textures, and backdrops, you can sometimes tell a far more interesting story with your foot than your face. Don’t forget to tag #fromwhereistand for these!
5. Take it to the edit table
“If you don’t like something on your body, you just crop it,” Kardashian had once explained on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, succinctly stating a golden selfie rule. Crop out those unwanted wisps of hair or an unflattering sign-post, while also experimenting with frame dimensions and sizes. A close-cropped square frame is excellent for when you’re showing off a new nose-pin, but a wider angle can better highlight the glamour of your New York holiday.
Finally, a word on post-processing. With a world of filters and photo-editing apps at our disposal, it’s easy to go a bit crazy with the effects. However, indiscriminate use of filters can rob your picture of subtle contrasts and background details. Instead, tweak individual elements, such as the exposure, colour balance, or contrasts till you get the result you want. Many smartphones, such as the Lava Z10, offer beauty modes with options for face slimming, skin smoothening, or eye widening, which enhance specific features without affecting the whole image.
Pro-tip: Think of a selfie as your personal canvas and make use of the host of photo-editing apps out there to improve your photos even further.
The Lava Z10 is the latest entry-level Android-based smartphone launched in India. It comes with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter, equipped with a Spotlight Flash feature for fabulous selfies under any kind of light.
Find out more.
(This content was created by HT Brand Studio and not the editorial team)